A Dozen Ways to Stay Connected While Distant

By Jerri Locke

Director of Healthy Aging

Methodist Health System

It’s a fact — social distancing lessens your risk of catching COVID-19.

But some of us define social distancing as social isolation. “Physical distance” is more accurate. Even at a distance, we can be social.

Samuel Cullison, MD, vice president of Graduate Medical Education at Methodist Health System, explains that humans are social creatures; our connection to others helps us survive and thrive, so we need to avoid social isolation. The Rev. Elias Lopez, DMin, director of pastoral services at Methodist, says that physical distancing is a call to care for yourself and others. That means reaching out, touching base, and praying for each other.

Reach out without touching

If caring for ourselves means connecting with others, then we need new ways to do this while we’re physically distant. Here are a dozen ideas:

  1. Use your phone. Using the phone used to mean hearing someone’s voice. Now we use phones to look up information, and we communicate through text message and email. It’s time to rediscover the joy of phone calls. For older adults, phone calls might be the only contact they have.
  2. Take a walk. Rediscover the joy of walking. It’s a great way to see your neighbors along with your neighborhood. Don’t like walking alone? Contact animal services. They love for people to walk their dogs. Or do like I did and adopt one!
  3. Sit a spell. If you don’t feel like walking, sit on the front porch for a while. You might connect with a neighbor or two who are out walking.
  4. Use snail mail. Send a letter or card to someone. Everyone likes finding something other than bills and junk in the mail. It lifts the spirits of the sender, too.
  5. Meet up online. Catch up with family and friends through a virtual meeting app. Most are free. Schedule a weekly time to visit. Have a virtual meal or virtual game night. Charades, Eye Spy, and Pictionary work great via Zoom.
  6. Think yard party. Drive-by parties are all the rage. People are hosting graduation, birthday, and anniversary parties in their front yards. Guests can drive by and celebrate.
  7. Stay bookish. Continue meeting with your book club through virtual gatherings.
  8. Plan a picnic. Bring a picnic, and meet friends at a park.
  9. Learn from elders. This is a great time to interview older adults in your family and record their memories. You might learn that secret family recipe you’ve always wanted.
  10. Feed friends. Have a garden? Share your bounty with friends and neighbors.
  11. Open a library. Open a tiny library with the books in your house, and invite others to borrow and lend.
  12. Stay well online. Join an online wellness program for meditating, yoga, breathing exercises, or simply stretching. You’ll feel better being part of a community. In fact, you’ll feel better period.

If you’re looking for an organization that is committed to helping you find balance in your life, look to Methodist Health System. Visit Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org.

© Methodist Health System

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