Why Virtual Connection Is Our Savior Right Now For Our Mental Health

Every morning, I join my co-workers on a video conference call to discuss the day’s tasks in my makeshift work-from-home office. Last week, I talked to my sister and niece via Facetime since our plans for reuniting over the weekend were altered. The other night, I took a virtual yoga class online, continuing to do so several more times after that. And phone calls with my mother have become a daily routine while we isolate in our homes in two different states.

Virtually connecting with one another has become our new normal during a time where social distancing is the only solution to end the spread of the global pandemic that has plagued the nation. People have turned to social media, phone calls, and Zoom sessions to keep the connection alive while hiding out in their homes, isolated from the rest of the world. While it’s not the most preferred form of communication, it’s saving our lives and possibly our sanity.

You would think we would be used to a world where technology is our number one resource, considering we spend most outings attached to our screens anyway. A trip to the mall or to a restaurant is never done without our cell phones in hand, while many offices these days have done away with paper files, making everything digitally available. For years, we have actively used food delivery services, online shopping and mobile deposits to fulfill our needs, that person to person contact seemed unnecessary. We could be out at a bar with friends while still having multiple conversations with others through text messages and social media. Dating apps made it easier than ever to meet someone that shared your interests and values without ever having to awkwardly make the first move in person. So, at a time where online communication must be our primary form of contact, it’s a blessing that we have all these resources to somehow help our minds adapt.

Humans need human interaction, especially during times of crisis inducing heightened anxiety levels, loneliness, and fear of the uncertainty that lies ahead. While the best solution to “flatten the curve” as Government officials keeps saying, is keeping our distance from one another and turning our homes into offices/gyms/entertainment centers, it is important to maintain some sort of connection with others no matter the social parameters.

If coffee dates with your girlfriend on Tuesday mornings is a part of your usual routine, make yourself a cup and catch up over the phone while she does the same. If you’re missing your Friday night happy hours with your coworkers, set up a “virtual happy hour” on Zoom where you can share a glass of wine or cocktails together from afar. If yoga on Saturday mornings is the only opportunity you get to connect with your gym girls, schedule a class online that you can all participate in together. Most things that we do can be retooled to fit this temporary social distancing lifestyle that we are all living, even though they won’t feel the same.

It’s imperative that we continue our connections for we don’t know how long this order will last. What’s comforting is knowing that we are all going through the same thing. We are all (hopefully) social distancing and filling our days with Netflix binges, reading, writing, baking, cleaning and doing absolutely anything to pass the time away. There will be an end to this. And when that happens, we won’t want to ever hear the words “social distancing” again.

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