Even if by this point you’re not under quarantine or being asked to shelter in place, hopefully you’re practicing social distancing (seriously, cancel those brunch plans). While it’s definitely the right thing to do for everyone’s health, separating yourself from others for the time being can have serious effects on your mood. Not only does it disrupt the work and social routines that we’re used to, it deprives us of the physical connections that are so important to our well-being.
There’s no question that connection is absolutely essential to mental health. Our relationships help us feel understood, supported, and loved. It’s even been reported that social connections can improve the function of our immune systems (which we are definitely trying to look out for these days). And for those who struggle with mental health issues like anxiety and depression, having those relationships is even more crucial.
In lieu of dinners, drinks, coffee dates, movie nights, and all-too-important hugs, what can you do right now to keep that important sense of connectedness and preserve your mental health? Here’s our tips for not feeling so isolated, even in isolation.
Facetime Friends + Family
Sure, talking on the phone is great, but seeing the faces of your friends and family is even more comforting in the chaos. This is the perfect time to check in with them via Facetime. You can even keep your social schedule going, remotely. Facetime a friend and do face masks together while you catch up on the day’s events. If you usually have a family dinner on Sunday nights, see if your parents can set up Skype so you can still get that time together. Or try hosting a viewing party where your friends all watch a show on Netflix together (side note: how wild is Love Is Blind?) and talk about it in the group chat.
Try An App
Instead of spending all day reading the news or switching between social media apps, you can use your phone as a mental health resource. Services like Talkspace or BetterHelp can get you connected with someone to talk to, and apps like Calm or Headspace can help you practice anxiety-reducing techniques.
Build Community, Virtually
Even though we’re separated, this is a great time to work on building community. We are all in the same boat, after all. Search out group activities you can do remotely, like taking an online course. And stay tuned for theSKIN’s new virtual social hour, featuring curated and unique experiences with experts throughout the country, covering everything from meditation to wine tastings. These activities, tutorials, and talks focus on coming together as a community online to expand your wellness education, practice self-care, and connect from the comfort of your own home.
“Connection is absolutely essential to mental health.”
Switch To Phone Sessions
Social distancing doesn’t mean you have to give up the mental health resources that have worked for you. If you see a therapist or other mental health professional, ask if they are available for phone or Skype sessions. This way you can stay safe, supported, and accountable, without an office visit.
Get With A Group
Those who attend in-person 12-step meetings for support may be particularly freaked out about their recovery at this time. Luckily, many groups are moving online and offering meetings via Zoom or by phone. You may not be able to go face to face with your group, but attending meetings online can help keep you on the right track in your recovery.
Sometimes being of service to others is just the thing you need to feel better, and it certainly helps remind you that you’re not alone. Offer to drop off supplies at your friend’s house (while waving to them from a distance) or simply send a text letting them know you’re there to talk. They’ll appreciate it, and you’ll feel connected. It’s a win-win.