Idaho, Iowa, and North Dakota

How to Stay Connected (and Socially Distanced) During COVID-19

April 4, 2020

Social distancing is a big topic right now, so that everyone can stay safe from the coronavirus.  We know why social distancing is necessary, we have so many loved ones who are vulnerable to this virus, but when we’re staying home it’s so easy to start to feel lonely and alone.  

Something that is really important to remember right now is that social distancing doesn’t mean being disconnected.

When it comes to friends, family, and essentially every relationship that we have, it’s not how close we are that determines the quality of that relationship. It’s how connected we feel. So it’s completely possible to maintain your relationships and feel that same level of connection, while maintaining your physical distance.  

If you feel like you’re not sure how to do that, here are some ideas.

  1. Stay in electronic communication. This may seem obvious, but sometimes when we get wrapped up in our own stuff we forget staying in contact. Text, email, call, hell, write physical letters if you have to. Share with people what’s going on in your life and hear what’s going on with them.
  2. Video call. I decided to make this its own section, because video calls give us more context than other methods of communication. When we text, we only get to send and receive the actual words. With phone calls, we can hear the tone of voice. But with video calls, we can also see the other person’s face. The more aspects of communication we have, the easier it is to feel connected. There are tons of ways to do this too, from Facetime, Skype, and Zoom, so you can find a way that works for you and your loved ones.
  3. Talk about how you feel. I know that this can be really hard because it makes us feel vulnerable. But it’s that vulnerability that builds closeness. If we have a conversation with a friend where all we talk about is the weather, then that conversation won’t help us build and maintain that feeling of connection. However, having a conversation where we open up and talk about how hard it is to be so far away is going to help us feel closer to the people around us. I know it can be hard to open up, and everyone has different limits to how open they can be. But the more you talk about your emotions and how you feel to the people you’re talking to, the more likely you’ll feel connected to them.
  4. Listen to other people. Just like with what I mentioned before, the more we talk about our emotions, the more we feel connected. This means that other people in your life may open up to you, and if you take care to listen when they do, the closer you’ll feel. It’s so common in our everyday conversations to wait for our turn to talk and not actually listen to what’s being said. Listening takes energy and effort. But if you put in that effort, you’ll help strengthen your connections with people.
  5. Plan fun events to do together. Just because we’re all practicing social distancing doesn’t mean that we can’t do things together. We can still do virtual dating. Or use tools like Kast to watch videos together. Or even play games together online. There are a ton of apps and websites out there that are helping people stay connected, depending on your interests.

Social distancing can be hard. But if you find yourself focusing on all the things you can’t do, then it’ll be easy to feel disconnected, lost, and alone. What I’m saying is that if you focus on all the things you can still do with the people you care about, it’ll be easy to find ways to stay connected and feel hopeful.

Meet the author

Danielle Wayne

Danielle is an anxiety therapist. She specializes in helping busy millennials manage their anxiety so they can perform at their best. Danielle has been featured on Apartment Therapy, SparkPeople, Lifewire, and Now Art World. When Danielle isn't helping her clients, she's playing video games or spending time with her partner and step children.

Learn more about Danielle

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