5 Ways to Stay Connected to Loved Ones Despite Physical Distance

[Image description: Illustration of people spread 6 feet apart and wearing masks.]

As the weather gets colder and the days shorter, it might feel more and more difficult to meet up with friends and family. While you may not be able to see people in person as much as you did in the spring, summer and fall months, you don’t have to lose those connections. Remember, physical distancing does not have to mean social distancing — you can still see your loved ones this winter!

Here are a few ways to maintain your most cherished relationships while staying safe and healthy:

  1. Video chatWhether you are watching a movie, having a game night or simply catching up, using the video feature on your phone can be a great way to stay connected. Even though it’s not the same as visiting in person, you will still be able to catch up, share fun experiences and stay in each other’s lives.
  2. Go for a walkWe have an understandable tendency to avoid walking outside when it’s cold or snowy. However, it could be worth investing in a pair of warm, secure boots for walking with your loved ones this year. Not only will you get exercise, you’ll also foster your relationships.  
  3. Get back to the basics. Do you love to draw? Paint? Write? Any of these activities can be shared with friends and family through traditional snail mail. This kind of gesture is not only unexpected and creative, but it also reminds others that you are thinking of them. Plus, it’s one more activity you can add to your list this winter!
  4. Schedule weekly checkins so you know you’ll be able to catch up no matter what else is going on. These days it can feel especially easy to get bogged down by current events, work and other aspects of life that have changed dramatically. This makes it difficult to remember to take a break to simply visit with a friend or family member. If you have a scheduled time when you either call or video chat with someone, you won’t have to think about it or plan — socializing will automatically be part of your routine.
  5. Find support online if you are having trouble making and/or keeping connections with your loved ones. Whether or not you know why you are struggling, a therapist can listen and provide guidance about next steps.

These are some suggestions, but there are so many more! Get creative and discuss with your friends and family what you can do to stay connected. No matter what, you can continue to remind yourself that this pandemic will pass, and you will be able to socialize in person and return to your normal activities together.

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