Staying Connected to a Support Network in the Era of Social Distancing

Maintaining strong connections with the supportive people in your life can be hard in “normal” times, but in the era of social distancing, it has been much harder. Still, it is possible to keep up meaningful relationships even when we are six feet away from each other—and often much farther than that.

Here are some ways to stay in touch with the people who mean the most to you, as well as some tips on how to expand your support network.

Host Virtual Get Togethers

You might be experiencing Zoom-fatigue when it comes to work meetings, but the platform does take on a much different feel when you log on with friends instead of coworkers. Connect with a group of family members or friends, and make it a point to catch up on a regular basis. Put up a fun virtual background and settle for some good conversations and a few laughs.

If you’re not feeling chatty, you can still enjoy time with friends online. Host a watch party where you gather online to watch a movie or TV show and share commentary instead of having a lengthy conversation.

Stat a Phone Text Chain

If you’re fortunate enough to have many people in your life with whom you want to stay in touch, don’t feel that you have to commit to spending hours each week with them on the phone or Zoom. A simple text chain can be enough to keep some of your favorites top of mind until you can gather together, whether virtually or in person. Keep it lighthearted—GIFs and emojis welcome!—so that you can share a chuckle or two with each other on a regular basis.

Write a Letter

Take your communication out of the digital age and get out the paper and pen. It’s totally worth a stamp to send someone a note or card and make their day—and it feels pretty good to receive one in return, too. Want to take it a step further? Check in with a local nursing home, where residents would love to receive some mail and start an old-school pen-pal relationship.

Say Hello to the Neighbors

We’ve all been forced to keep to ourselves during the pandemic. But it’s important for yourself and your community to reach out to neighbors. You might still only feel comfortable waving from a distance, but do it anyway. Even if everyone’s mask is covering up a smile, you can still experience those warm and fuzzy feelings by making a friendly—albeit distant—connection.

Find Support on Social Media

Social media sometimes gets a bad rep often because of the mean-spirited comments that run rampant on various platforms. But there are plenty of online communities where participants have nothing but good things to say in support of each other. These groups of like-minded people band together to discuss shared hobbies, fitness goals, and other mutual interests. Find and join a few, then start posting, connecting, and cheering each other on. You’ll see how social media’s powers can be harnessed for good after all.

Take an Online Class

This is a great way for you up-level your skills and find community with others. From foreign language to fitness, there is a way to learn and improve it online. And just as you made connections with your fellow students when you were in an actual classroom, you’ll be surprised at the new friends you’ll make inside the virtual one.

Join a Virtual Book Club

One good thing about the quarantine is that many people took the extra time on their hands as an opportunity to read more. Many a virtual book club sprang up as a result. If you love reading, consider joining one. They are rather easy to find online—many libraries and bookstores host them—and they run the gamut as far as literary tastes go. Find one that suits your reading preferences and join in on the discussion.

Remaining apart from each other doesn’t have to be as trying of a time when you find new ways to stay connected. Find what works for you and your interests and keep your relationships—both old and new ones—going strong.

If you’d like to know more about our own support network for your recovery, contact our trained admissions counselors at 866-349-1770.

Photo by Kayle Kaupanger on Unsplash