How to Stay Connected (& Safe) Despite COVID-19

This year indeed has been a doozy. With most of us questioning if this year has been a movie set, we didn’t receive the script to staying connected. But now, it’s more important than ever.

As we all have been forced to cancel birthday parties, delay international trips, and stay home from usually crowded leisure activities, finding the balance between maintaining our bonds and staying within pandemic safe guidelines is difficult. 

 After using all of our spare time to binge-watch Netflix and research future trip plans that lead us to U.S. car insurance for foreigners, we soon realize that being in quarantine has taken a toll on our mental health.

What Isolation Does to Us

Loneliness isn’t the first thing many of us think of when we hear about health risks or even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but loneliness isn’t alone.

Studies have shown that social isolation increases a list of health complications such as:

  • Heart failure
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Suicide
  • Stroke
  • Weakened immune system
  • Dementia

One of the most significant concerns of the COVID-19 quarantine mandate was the toll it would have on Americans mentally. With legit concerns about our nation’s mental health, no one could do much while also remaining quarantined. Individuals have been left on their own to combat these isolation symptoms.

How to Battle Negative Thoughts

The need to connect goes beyond just physical presence, and just because you don’t live alone doesn’t mean you can’t also feel isolated.

We all have a tendency to downplay our negative emotions and to delegitimize our own struggles. However, if you’re currently feeling lonely in a relationship when with family or at work if you’re essential, your emotions are entirely valid.

Feeling depressed or anxious because of isolation begins with how you think about yourself. Regardless of your home environment, a few ways to arm yourself against your own negative thoughts are to complete at least two or three self-loving and affirmation tasks every day.

You can consider this as staying connected with yourself. Expressing self-love is one of the most important things we all can do before and after the mandated quarantines and lockdowns, yet most of us don’t know where to start.

Here is a list of ways you can stay connected with yourself and take the first step against the adverse effects of isolation:

  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Complimenting yourself out loud
  • Exercising
  • Doing arts and crafts
  • Writing a journal or stories
  • Playing with a pet
  • Singing
  • Going outside
  • Asking your family and friends why they love you (Sometimes we simply need to hear it)
  • Helping someone else (Putting together COVID care packages or volunteering).

Don’t See it as Stuck Inside

If you’re feeling cooped up, there are things you can do while being in the house that can help you escape the confines of your space.

You may not be able to touch physically, but the internet provides a world of wonders right in the palm of your hands. For getting out without leaving the house, try checking out a few of these sites.

View the World Online

One thing I miss is traveling and going to art shows. Luckily, many museums and galleries are available to view online with 360-degree view features. If reading books isn’t your cup of tea, this very well could be something interesting to view between Netflix binges. 

Here is a list of museums available for viewing online:

  • Albertina
  • Benaki Museum
  • The Museum of Modern Art
  • The Vatican Museums
  • The British Museum
  • The Broad Museum
  • The Dali Theatre-Museum
  • High Museum of Art
  • Hermitage Museum
  • National Gallery of Art
  • Van Gogh Museum

Organizations that also offer virtual tours:

  • NASA
  • Art Institute of Chicago
  • Frick Collection
  • Museum of Broken Relationships
  • National Gallery
  • The National Museum of theUnited States Air Force
  • The Google Art Project

Keeping your mind stimulated and finding new points of interest can combat feelings of loneliness. When our bodies and minds become stagnant, we are more acceptable to stay in a heightened state of those dark emotions and prolong their effects.

Reach Out to Others

Hearing the voices of friends and family can instantly brighten our moods. Thanks to modern technology, you can still spend quality time with distant friends and family. 

Using FaceTime, Google Duo, and social media platforms will keep you updated and connected with your network and community. Besides choosing a show to enjoy together, try out some other more interactive quarantine safe activities and apps.

  • Zoom – Almost a year into the pandemic, they have indeed kept us connected and working together even from afar. Play around with backgrounds and get the needed face to face time.
  • Omegle – You get matched with random strangers to talk to. There are video and text-to-chat options available.
  • Houseparty – A more interactive way to FaceTime with friends. The app has game options and fun filters that make talking with friends just like hanging out in person.
  • Clubhouse – Being away from school and live events are leaving many of us craving mental stimulation. Clubhouse is an app where you can chime in on various conversation topics.

For playing games with your loved ones, try out some of these apps and websites:

  • Monopoly
  • Mario Kart
  • Call of Duty
  • Words With Friends
  • Word Wars
  • Game Penguin (IOS)

For all of the singles, don’t think the COVID pandemic has halted your love life. Dating will never be easy, but to connect with potential love interests, you should consider making profiles on:

  • SweatPea 
  • Tinder
  • Hinder
  • Bumble
  • Grindr

Talking and seeing other people we know or strangers gives a sense of belongingness we only gain by interacting socially. Physical presence gives us a great deal of warmth and comfort to our psyche, and without those chances, we need to make extra strides to connect.

You Are Not Alone

If only staying connected was as easy as connecting to Wi-Fi. It’s strange how even though many of us are going through similar problems, worries, and emotions, we all tend to feel the harmful effects of isolation. COVID-19 is only one easy aspect to identify, but the catalyst that is the pandemic only highlights ways we are all the same.

We are worried about our health, our loved ones, our finances, and our collective future. Starting 2021 off right isn’t about standing idly by while awaiting a vaccine. To connect to ourselves and those around us on a deeper level.

The substantial weight that the year 2020 has put on all of us is a heavy load, but with everyone lending a hand in reaching out, that load becomes lighter and more manageable. Use these tools to connect through these unprecedented times for however long it will last.

Danielle Beck-Hunter writes and researches for the car insurance site, Danielle received a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Nevada Las Vegas.