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by Maddie Lukens, MA

It’s wild how much changed in the world seemingly overnight. I’m sure you are sitting on the other side of the screen thinking: “Yeah, I know, it’s unbelievable.”

Every decision being made by our local and national leadership continues to impact us in different ways. If we’re honest, these decisions – although they protect us – may leave us feeling discouraged. This is a tough time for everyone – most of us haven’t been able to put “I lived through a pandemic” on our resumes – we are all new at this. Make sure to offer up extra doses of grace to yourself, your family, friends, and neighbors, as we are all trying to figure out how to navigate these murky and uncharted waters of social distancing.

While our government and authorities are enforcing social distancing measures for at least another month, this might mean the ways we have been living and existing in our social circles are going to continue being the way they are, for now.

One of the most important things to maintain during this time is your mental and emotional health. Much of our well-being is dependent on interactions with others; we are social beings, made to interact with other people.

I’ve put together a list of 10 ideas/resources that might help you maintain your connections during this time of distancing. I hope this serves to keep you from feeling isolated, and also to provide you with some potential comedic relief along the way. Most of these options are no-low cost, I hope you give some a try!

10 Ways to Connect During Social Distancing

  1. Skype, zoom, facetime, facebook messenger, whatsapp, snapchat your way through your contact list – exchanging the traditional phone call for a video call instead! Many of these apps also have some fun filters for you and your loved ones to try throughout your conversation – mix it up a little – it may lead to some pretty fun memories.
  2. Jackbox.tv group games. If you haven’t heard of Jackbox – it’s a fun subscription service that allows you to play new and creative group games from the comfort of your home. All you do is go to Jackbox.tv and type in the group code – makes for loads of fun & hours of games together.
  3. Issue a “dance challenge” to a few of your closest friends – again using video, record yourself dancing for 30-60 seconds to a favorite song. You’ll be getting your body moving, shaking out some of that cooped-up-in-you-house energy & you’ll be guaranteed to make your loved ones laugh!
  4. Pass along a favorite new recipe you’ve discovered or pull out one of your old baking recipe book, to get some ideas flowing. Once you’ve decided what you want to make – email or text it to a few friends & ask them to send you one in return.
  5. If you’re reading this, you might be a bit more tech savvy than your older neighbor. Not only are elderly individuals more at risk during this time, but they might also be individuals who are likely to suffer from loneliness because they don’t use technology in the same way you or I might. A simple thing to do would be to make sure you carve out time to call your elderly relatives or friends to check in on them. If you have your elderly neighbor’s phone number, go ahead and give them a ring, I’m sure they’d appreciate it!
  6. SNAIL MAIL! I personally don’t think snail mail should ever go out of style – after all, who doesn’t love getting cards or fun packages?! If you have the means, think about sending out some snail mail. Here are some ideas of what to include or write about:
    1. Send a party in a card – think confetti, fun writing, maybe a picture or drawing.
    2. Send a happy birthday card to someone who might be celebrating by themselves this year.
    3. Just say hi! Maybe ask the recipient to write back, sharing one of their favorite memories they’ve had with you.
    4. Care package to a healthcare worker – maybe include their favorite candy/snack, a face mask, tea/coffee, favorite personal items (i.e. chapstick, cologne), candle, etc.
  7. This is a great time to learn something new or read a new book. Ask your friends what they are learning or reading during this time.
  8. Learn a new language. There are dozens of excellent resources out there: here are a few options. Once you’ve mastered a few sentences, offer to teach one of your friends or family members what you’ve learned. Another great resource for learning a language is Bussu; it’s an internationally collaborative site where natives of the language can offer live feedback as you learn a language through discussion.
  9. Missing your girlfriends? Why not set up a virtual at-home mani/pedi date?! Facetime with some of your gals and paint your nails together, with a drink of choice, and catch up!
  10. Start a household gratitude list – place it in a communal space and get everyone involved.

Start Online Counseling in Pennsylvania

Social distancing may have you feeling more anxious or depressed than normal. If you are having a hard time getting through the day, please contact us. Our therapists at Lime Tree Counseling provide all our services online and we are experts in anxiety counseling, trauma therapy & marriage counseling. Please send us a message today to get started. Don’t wait another day; your mental wellness is a priority! We want to help you live life as you were made to live!