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5 Ways to Maintain Human Connection During Social Distancing
Nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are still holding onto our pods and keeping our distance from neighbors, friends, and family. While the initial threat has been largely abated, problems with breakthrough infections and new variants are rejuvenating the need for masks and social distancing.
This unwanted separation from those around us negatively affects our social lives and, for many, our sense of well-being. After all, we’re social creatures, and forcing ourselves to avoid other people feels unnatural and creates several unique challenges.
However, just because we’re trying to avoid large gatherings and limit our exposure to people outside of our pods doesn’t mean we have to lose our sense of human connection. There are many ways to keep this connection alive while still respecting our or other people’s social distancing requirements. You simply need to be creative and avail yourself of all the communication mediums you have at your discretion.
This article will focus on five of the most accessible ways to maintain human connection during social distancing. Try these or any others you can think of. It’s essential not to let yourself lose touch with the important people in your life. You owe it to yourself to stay connected.
WHY IS HUMAN CONNECTION IMPORTANT?
We’re a cooperative species. Throughout history, we’ve built cultures around shared experiences, communal labor, and a strong sense of community. We look out for each other, pooling our strengths and resources for the common good. It’s a survival strategy that’s done very well for us over the millennia, allowing human civilization to reach heights undreamed by other species.
However, this drive to cooperate, seek help, and create trusting relationships dominates our consciousness. When we lose touch with the human connections around us, we often fall into loneliness, isolation, and depression. We can feel abandoned and powerless, unable to carry out effectively without the constant reassurance from our close relationships. We crave a sense of belonging and the support of those around us, and without it, we lose an essential part of the human experience.
In short, we’re all trapped inside our skulls, and it’s the connections we build with other people that help us to reach out to the world outside ourselves and find purpose and meaning. We need other people in our lives, or we go mad.
FIVE WAYS TO MAINTAIN HUMAN CONNECTION DURING SOCIAL DISTANCING
Just because you want to keep your distance doesn’t mean you can’t connect meaningfully with other people. Here are a few simple methods for staying in contact with the people in your life.
Send a Handwritten Letter
There are plenty of modern technological solutions to the problem of isolation, but one of the best has been around for thousands of years — the humble handwritten letter.
Humans have used letters to stay in contact with each other since long before the advent of the telegraph, telephone, and every other modern communication method. The technology is simple — ink on paper, either hand-delivered or sent through the mail — but the result is anything but. Handwritten letters are distinctive expressions between two people. The sender’s handwriting is unique to them; thus, sending a letter is very much like sending a piece of yourself.
This is due to the tangible nature of a handwritten card. The sender spends time selecting their thoughts and setting them in ink while the receiver touches the same paper, running their fingers and eyes over the words that bridge the distance between them. When you can’t be there in person, send a warm handwritten note in your place.
The only downside to handwritten cards is the time they take to prepare. Simply Noted solves that problem by automating the entire process. All you have to do is pick a card design and enter your card text and recipient addresses, and our state-of-the-art handwriting machines will pen convincing handwritten, hand-addressed cards and drop them in the mail. It’s that easy!
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Make a Video Call
Modern video conferencing technology makes it easy to have a face-to-face conversation even when you’re thousands of miles apart. Anyone with a smartphone can use its built-in apps — like Facetime on an iPhone or the standard phone app on Android — to make quick, easy video calls. Social media apps like Facebook also support video calls. For larger gatherings, you can use a solution like Zoom to include as many people as you like. Instead of getting together to celebrate someone’s birthday you could set up a video call with everyone on your list and let them share in all of the wonderful birthday memories.
Spend More Time With Your Pod
During the height of the pandemic, most people established a core group that they trusted and only spent time with them. For many, this group included the family members or friends that they lived with and other select trusted individuals. These are people you’ve deemed safe to be around so…spend time with them!
Make a concerted effort to do things together that maybe you wouldn’t have done otherwise. Schedule a regular game night. Pop some popcorn and watch a movie together. Go for a stroll after dinner. What you do is less important than doing something together.
Take Advantage of the Outdoor Spaces in Your Neighborhood
Science has shown that socializing outdoors is significantly safer than indoors, so visit your neighbors in the great outdoors. Fences and front yards make great baffles against close contact. Having a conversation with your neighbor, you in your yard, and them in theirs creates a safe way to reach out. You might also set up some chairs in your front yard so that you can talk to neighbors at a safe distance as they walk by.
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Pick Up the Phone
Maybe you don’t have a smartphone or a computer for teleconferencing, and you aren’t close to your neighbors, but you still want to hear another human voice. Go “old school” then, and make a phone call. That old landline is still good for something. It can bridge the voices of your loved ones straight into your living room. Phone calls are an easy way to maintain human connection during social distancing, and they require nothing but a simple phone.
Whichever method you choose, do it often! Your mental health is important, and social interactions are a critical component.