MountainStar Health - March 23, 2020
by Jessica Poe

Humans are social beings. We're designed to build meaningful relationships, and we crave emotional bonding. So, how do we stay connected during COVID-19's social distancing rules and quarantines?

Activities to do during social isolation

Isolation doesn’t have to be isolating. We may need to get creative with our connections, but think of what we have going for us: cutting-edge technology, established communities of trust and individual inspiration. We can do this!

Here’s a list of ideas for cultivating connections from a distance:

  • Keep the clubs rocking—As in book clubs, craft clubs, cooking clubs, etc. by hosting them online.
  • “Hidey-ho, neighbor!”—Remember the sitcom Home Improvement? Tim Taylor and his neighbor, Wilson, had frequent, deep conversations without ever leaving their own fenced backyards. Consider your neighborhood setup and brainstorm possible six-foot-away social schemes. Could cul-de-sac kickball work? How about a block party picnic where everyone dines in their front yards?
  • Secret service—We feel good when we serve others, and we can continue serving from afar. For example, find roadside trash and pick it up, mow a neighbor’s lawn, write a thank-you note, order a family a dinner delivery, donate to a nonprofit organization or remove invasive plant species in a wildlife area.
  • Grab a page-turner—Books invite us to get close to diverse characters and travel to far away, magical places. Reading these books aloud as a family can add an extra element of togetherness to this otherwise solitary activity.
  • Connect with your faith—Connecting with our beliefs can boost many facets of our well-being. In fact, research links spirituality with emotional coping, happiness and physical health benefits.
  • Bond with “mother nature”—Open the windows to let in fresh air and the sound of birds, go on a walk in the mountains, disconnect with technology and rekindle a relationship with the Earth. Spending time in the great outdoors is proven to increase learning and creativity, self-esteem and resilience against stressful situations.
  • Fun and games—Host a game night video conference with friends. Try racing through a scavenger hunt in your own homes, playing charades or learning more about your pals by playing ice-breaker games.
  • Make the call—For those who don’t use technology often, and for those who may not live with others, a phone call can mean a lot. Reach out and strike up conversations and meaningful discussions. Take the opportunity to glean wisdom from others, or ask about difficult times in their past and what helped them get through it.
  • Spend time with the people in your home—Although technology such as video chats can certainly support connections, let’s be careful not to isolate ourselves further than necessary by living in separate online worlds. As parents work online, kids attend classes online, and video games and social media outlets grab our attention, let’s consciously connect face-to-face with the people in our homes.

With a variety of ways to connect from afar, we can remember “alone” doesn’t have to mean “lonely.” We can do our part in this pandemic by staying socially distant while remaining emotionally close, in our relationships—both are important and impactful to our well-being.

Jessica Poe is a full-time homeschooler of three children and a part-time healthcare writer. She also authored the book, “Everyday MOMents.”

Social isolation and mental health

When activities aren't enough-mental health resources are available

Home activities and digital connection during the COVID-19 crisis aren’t always enough. If you need someone to talk to or are concerned about someone else’s well-being, we can help. Find out about our behavioral health services by contacting: