Staying Connected While Social Distancing

Disclaimer: We want to acknowledge that for some of our community, family, friends, and home are not safe places for you right now. We are here for you and see you too. Reach out to the Student Support and Advocacy Center if you want to chat with an advocate about your situation. From this, take what is helpful and leave the rest. We encourage you to trust yourself in knowing what you need right now.

For many of us, self-care includes spending time with and being around our loved ones. Spending time with loved ones can help with managing and reducing stress and anxiety and can also be a way to recharge after a long and stressful day, week, or month. With social distancing, however, being physically around our loved ones can be difficult.
Many of us may fear that the feeling of wholeness, comfort and happiness we get when we are hanging out with our loved ones may fade. And all the uncertainty happening around us, especially not knowing how long we would have to be physically apart from our loved ones, can bring more stress, anxiety and fear. But social distancing does not mean emotional distancing and thankfully, there are a few ways that we can continue to check in and spend time with our loved ones during this time. Here are three steps that can help us connect with friends and family while social distancing.


Step 1: Choose Your Platform

The advantage of living in a technological world is that it gives us more options to connect with others. We can connect with others on social media – sending them a message, sending them inspiring quotes or positive affirmation. There are also a lot of social media platforms and other applications that let you call or video chat with your loved ones. These include Skype, Facetime, Whatsapp, Facebook, Zoom, WebEx, etc. These platforms are especially helpful when you are trying to connect with or reach out to people who live in a different country because it eliminates the financial stress caused by long-distance phone calls.
Personally, I use Facebook to connect and check-in with my family who are currently living on the other side of the world. Facebook let me create a family group chat where we often send messages, share pictures and GIFs, or just to send good vibes. But, I’m also able to call the people in that group chat when needed, which I am entirely grateful for because hearing their voices or seeing their faces really helps me cope. Facebook was especially effective because all of my family members already have a Facebook account so no additional set up was required for them. I have some family members who do not want to or do not have the time to learn an entirely new platform so Facebook was ideal.
Below is a list of the most used platforms and applications and their functions which you may find helpful when choosing the best platform for you and your loved ones.



Step 2: Choose Your Activity

Now that you’ve chosen the platform or application that works best for you and your loved ones, it’s time to choose the activity or type of hangout. While you can always simply chat or call and have a discussion, you’ll find that you can also do your favorite hobbies together, virtually. These can include having a movie night, baking, dinner parties, game nights, etc.
Last week, through Facebook messenger, I was able to plan a baking session with my mom (as I’ve mentioned before, she lives on the other side of the world). I’m not the greatest baker in the world but my mom has been collecting and writing recipes in this giant notebook for as long as I can remember. So, last week, we decided to open up a random page in her recipe collection and bake whatever was on that page – Mini Oreo Cheesecakes! After making sure we had all the ingredients at home, we opened Facebook, set up a call, and started following the recipe together. Once we were done, we made some coffee and enjoyed our mini cheesecakes together. This was a wonderful time spent with my mom and a great de-stressing session for the both of us.


What are some activities that you have or hope to do with your loved ones virtually? Here are some of other ideas that you may find helpful.




Step 3: Repeat As Needed!

When you complete a virtual hangout, plan for the next one! Repeat steps 1 and 2 for new hangout ideas. This weekend, my friends and I are planning to virtually do homework together through Zoom. Usually, every weekend, my friends and I would get together at a coffee shop for a few hours to study together but since we are all self-isolating, we decided to make our own coffees and continue the ritual, only virtually.
All in all, it is important to continue to socialize with loved ones during self-isolation, especially for those of us who rely on our loved ones for support and who want to provide support to our loved ones! Spending time with loved ones is also a great distraction, a form of healing and coping from stress, anxiety and sudden transitions. These ideas are great ways to check-in and spend time with others and can be done as often as you want.

I know that this is an incredibly challenging time with lots of changes happening each day. It is okay to feel how you feel and to take a break when you need to. Do what you need to do to feel as safe as you can to meet your basic needs. We are committed to sharing relatable content to help get you through this period of change and transition in our society. We hope that you take care and know that we are here for you!

We do not own any of the applications discussed above. Please visit each application’s website for more information on set up, privacy policy and security.

– Aina




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