Staying Socially Connected When Social Distancing

Taking a Moment: Mindful ways to cope during the COVID-19 pandemic

Aron Steward, PhD

Today, I'm going to tell you about how to stay socially connected when you're socially distancing. We have been so accustomed to using touch and proximity in order to be connected to others. This is a real adjustment for some of us to be farther away from people and to not be at their houses and missing gatherings like barbecuing and other things that we used to do.

So what I want you to think about is putting words to your attachment with people. Start saying how you feel about other people so that they know, and you can know how you feel about them through words.

We never had to do that before, because we showed attachment by touching somebody or hugging somebody or being near them or going to see them. We can't do that right now because we have to keep ourselves safe and flatten the curve to help with COVID-19.

Some of the short and simple phrases you should consider saying to people you care about more often are:

  • I love you.
  • I care about you.
  • I miss you.
  • I feel really connected to you.
  • I need you.
  • I'm glad to be on your team.

All of those things can help you feel connected to someone, even when you can’t be together in person.

The second piece of this tip is to spend the time connecting with yourself. One way to help fill us up when we can’t connect with friends and family is to connect with ourselves and get to know ourselves.

Get real with who you are, what you want and what you need. This can be a time when you really build a strong relationship with yourself, which will be as gratifying as if you build a relationship with other people.

To recap the tip of the day: put words to your feelings for other people and get to know yourself. Thanks for spending time with me. Thanks for everything you're doing. I'm so proud to be a CVPH employee. Have a great rest of the shift and a great rest of the day. I'll see you next time.

Robert Althoff, MD and Aron Steward , PhD from CVPH Psychiatry offer tips and information about coping during this time of crisis.