Keeping your distance from family and friends during the COVID-19 pandemic can make you feel lonely and sad, but did you know it can also affect your physical health? Research has shown that social isolation is associated with a higher risk of anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, heart disease and a host of other health problems.
Whether you are in isolation because you have COVID-19, quarantined because you might have been exposed to someone who was infected, or practicing social distancing to protect yourself and others, it’s important to find creative ways to stay in touch.
Texting, emailing and taking part in video chats are common ways to connect with other people. Here are some other ways you might not have considered:
- Find out whether your town or neighborhood has a Facebook page, website or forum (such as Nextdoor or Front Porch) where you can ask questions, exchange information and offer suggestions.
- Take part in your local Bear Hunt, a scavenger hunt for children inspired by the book We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. All you have to do is place a stuffed bear, monkey, rabbit or other animal in your window to be spotted by families walking by. If you’re on social media, use the hashtag #bearhunt to post your photos on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
- Make a sign for your window or put up spring decorations of birds and flowers for others to enjoy.
- Some people chalk messages of love, thanks and encouragement on sidewalks around their neighborhoods.
- Rediscover the joy of letter-writing. Long after email messages and texts have been deleted, an old-fashioned paper letter or card will remind friends and loved ones that you care. Some websites can even match you to a pen pal in another country. (Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization advise that there is no evidence that COVID-19 is transmitted by mail.)
- Visit with your neighbors outside while keeping at least six feet away. Some neighborhoods organize dance parties (here’s one a San Jose mom organized for families with little ones) or musical performances (here are some in Italy). Or get out the lawn chairs, your own snacks and drinks, and just relax outside, chatting with each other from your own yards.
The COVID-19 situation is evolving rapidly. To read the latest information on Roswell Park’s response and find additional resources, visit our Coronavirus (COVID-19) web page.Learn More