April 8, 2020

Get creative to stay connected with family and friends

In this time of social distancing, these simple tips — including staying in touch with loved ones — can help boost your mood and lift everyone’s spirits.

Video chat is great way to stay in touch with people you care about when you can't be together.

Maintaining social connections is one of the most important things you can do to support your own mental health as well as the mental health of others, especially during this challenging time.

While keeping our social distance is crucial to protect ourselves and others during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are many creative ways to stay connected to friends and family and practice self-care.

“There’s a lot of ambiguity for all of us about what life is going to look like going forward. The 2 big changes are that we’ve lost our routines and we’ve lost our social connections,” said Cosette Taillac, a licensed clinical social worker and Kaiser Permanente’s national strategic leader for mental health and wellness. “Our shared challenge is to stay connected, and even strengthen our social bonds, while experiencing physical distance and separation.”

Taillac recommends several ways to stay positive and stay in touch, even when actual touch isn’t an option. 

infographic: Makingn the best of our social distancing reality

Social isolation and loneliness are linked to higher risks for a variety of physical and mental conditions, including high blood pressure, heart disease, a weakened immune system, anxiety, and depression. The good news is that when you engage in meaningful, productive activities with others, it has a positive effect — it tends to boost your mood, give you a sense of purpose, and improve your health.

Taillac stressed that caring for yourself in challenging times is important for building your resilience and strengthening relationships with others. If you are a Kaiser Permanente member, you can register for free to myStrength, an app with an array of emotional wellness programs and tools.