Reducing Loneliness While Social Distancing
Morning walks with a neighbor, meeting a friend for lunch, or gathering with extended family are simple pleasures that we are all missing right now. Social relationships are important to your overall health. With social distancing now the norm due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, it’s more important than ever to look for ways to stay connected.
Even if you are not someone who often feels lonely, it’s important to maintain social connections. Friendships offer numerous mental health benefits such as increased feelings of belonging, purpose, happiness, and confidence. To reduce loneliness, there are two basic options: nurture existing relationships, or try to form new ones. Consider getting in touch with a friend or family member you haven’t spoken to in a while, or reach out to someone you’d like to get to know. To nurture an existing relationship, try making an earnest compliment or expressing gratitude to someone you care about. A little extra kindness during a stressful situation such as the coronavirus outbreak can make a big difference.
A simple phone call
Sometimes a phone call is all it takes to make you or someone you care about feel more connected. Make an effort to call friends and family members regularly. Setting a scheduled time to call can help increase frequency and provide something to look forward to.
The coronavirus has increased the use of online video conferencing to communicate and stay in touch. Facial cues and body language are important when connecting with others. Using video chat technology from providers such as Skype, FaceTime, or Zoom make it easier to see the people you care about while still social distancing. Try having a virtual dinner with someone, watch a TV show together virtually, or start a book club or other social group that meets regularly to discuss common interests over video.
Keep your spirits up
In addition to communicating regularly, these tips can help you improve your mood while staying home for lengthy stretches of time:
- Have a routine – stick to a routine to help your days feel organized and productive
- Clean regularly – keep your home clean and organized, and maintain personal hygiene
- Give yourself downtime – give yourself downtime away from the constant stream of information to recharge and to help reduce anxiety
- Reduce conflicts – make sure to de-escalate conflicts with your spouse or family members as soon as possible to help keep your home peaceful and calm
- Get fresh air – while it may be difficult to get outside at this time, if possible, try to get fresh air and sunlight to help improve your mood
- Stay positive – look for things to feel positive or grateful about to keep your spirits high
Your Preferred Extras can help. Get exclusive discounts on programs that help you stay healthy at home such as yoga, meditation, and memory fitness activities from BrainHQ. Plus, save on services that help you stay safe at home like Home Instead Senior Care, and more.
For more information
If you notice changes in your mood or are caring for someone who is having difficulty coping with stress during the pandemic, you can get help finding a behavioral health provider or work with a Tufts Health Plan Care Manager by calling Customer Relations at 1-800-701-9000 (TTY: 711).
In addition, there is no copayment for in-network telehealth/telemedicine visits with a behavioral health counselor due to the coronavirus.
Looking for more details on plan changes? Our coronavirus information page provides updated information on plan changes related to the coronavirus pandemic.