How to stay connected with your loved ones while social distancing

Courtesy Banner Health

So, you’re now practicing social distancing. We know it’s tough, but this is crucial to slow the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). During this time, it is more important than ever to check in with your friends and family, but how can you do this from home?

“We, humans, are social beings. We need our tribe and being a part of a group is important for our physical and mental well-being. Being socially connected, though physically apart, can give us a sense of purpose and responsibility, reminds us of reasons to be grateful, and adds to our happiness,” said Yazhini Srivathsal, MD, attending psychiatrist at Banner Behavioral Health Hospital.

Keeping in Touch with Those in Hospitals or Other Facilities


Because COVID-19 is easy to spread, hospitals across the country are shifting to one visitor per person, per day, to keep your loved ones and healthcare workers safe. Many hospitals, nursing homes and long-term care facilities are even restricting visitors completely.

You may think that sending flowers, cards or a care package is the best solution, but facilities may not be accepting deliveries to patients at this time. Instead, let them know you’re thinking about them with the help of technology.

Leverage easy-to-use apps like FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, Skype, WhatsApp, and many others to video chat. Video chatting is no longer just one to one. Many of these apps allow for multiple users at a time, filling up the screen with familiar faces and creating memories with all your loved ones.

Another way to virtually connect is by downloading multiplayer games on your smart device. There are many classic games, in app form, that allow you to compete, connect and keep your mind moving with your loved ones from miles away. Not only are you checking in with them, but you’re also having fun along the way.

For Loved Ones at Home

Let’s face it, as we continue to social distance ourselves, our days might all feel a little redundant. Luckily, we are in the age of new and emerging technology and can use our smart devices to video chat and stay connected with others from the comfort of our own homes. Here are some ideas:

Schedule a virtual dinner date. Video chat with family or friends while cooking and eating meals. Try out a new recipe, talk about your day and take some time to just be together, virtually.

Host an online movie night. Get a group of friends together and video chat while all watching the same movie. Hearing and seeing everyone’s reactions will make it feel like they are sitting right next to you.

Host an online book club. With some extra time on your hands, you can finally start that book club you’ve been wanting to join. Invite your friends and family to read with you and use video chatting to discuss the book together.

Schedule an online workout. You don’t need a trip to the gym to workout with your friends. Work out together virtually and increase your endorphins, making you feel better and reducing stress.

Staying Connected with Loved Ones Is Important

Just because you’re social distancing, doesn’t mean you have to be lonely or put a pause on relationships. Get creative with how you “socialize” and use technology to connect with loved ones during this time.

“At the end of the day, we can see that our relationships and the bond we all share will outlast our differences. You don’t have to feel alone when we have to physically be alone,” Said Dr. Srivathsal. “Reach out to your loved ones and remember that we are all in this together. If you need professional help, please reach out to a Banner Health behavioral health professional who is available over telemedicine to help you.”

For information about COVID-19, visit

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