Social Distancing Online and Off

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Leaders and health officials from around the world have told us we must self-isolate. Most of the United States has issued orders for people to stay home and distance themselves from others to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Many of us are understandably struggling with this new social distancing reality.  As many people struggle with this its important to remember that this is only a physical social distancing. We live at the height of the information age and we are able to connect with anyone around the world in an instant.

            Social relationships and social interactions are important to our mental health during this trying time. We need to use technology to our advantage here to stay in touch with friends and family as this quarantine goes on. We are only limited by our imagination in this respect. I have a close friend who is having virtual family game nights with his family members across the globe. Others are having Netflix watch parties to enjoy a movie with friends and family while still social distancing.

            Social Media is enjoying a boom in this difficult time as people are spending more time at home. This is not necessarily a good thing, however. According to a study from UNLV social media usage can often make people feel less socially included. While we are not socially interacting with people many will start to feel isolated and lonely. Social media ironically often perpetuates feelings like that. Many people will see what others are doing on Facebook, Instagram, and twitter and feel even more isolated. Social media is not always an accurate representation of someone’s life, and it can lead to people feeling even more isolated. So, try to find other ways to connect with friends and family. Try face time and direct communication to reach out to loved ones. Having a conversation with someone everyday can go a long way to not feeling so isolated in this trying time.

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