Isolation is tough. Even the word, “isolation,” in and of itself, seems threatening. But today with the COVID-19 crisis we all must isolate. In fact, Pennsylvania’s Governor Tom Wolf and Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine just mandated that all 67 of his counties be under a Stay-at-Home order.
But according to Dr. Robert Morrow, Chief Medical Director of Water Gap Wellness, long periods of isolation can negatively impact your physical, mental and social health.
So how do we stay socially active during physical isolation? Here are a few ways to connect with your loved ones or friendship circles during COVID-19 isolation periods.
Host a virtual dinner on Facetime with a loved one
Try hosting a virtual dinner with a loved one to stay socially connected. Come up with a theme for the evening then set the scene at each of your own homes. Maybe the theme is Mexican, or Chinese, Italian, Indian. Or maybe you want to do a movie theme – Star Wars, a Disney Movie or some other classic. Set a time for your dinner then each of you get to work. Set the room, prepare the meal and dress in the theme. Then light a candle, get out your good dishes, call on Alexa for music matching your theme, prop up your phone and place your Facetime call. Show each other around the table, show off your outfits and brag about your work. Soon you won’t even notice you are talking through a screen.
Talk and walk with a friend
Do you normally exercise with a friend and now find yourself skipping your workouts? Go on a walk and talk together at your different locations to stay socially connected! Schedule your time together then walk and talk with one another while you enjoy each other’s company through a phone call. Schedule your walks a few times each week so that you can look forward to the time. Soon, your conversations will be effortless, your exercise regimen checked off and your friendship will have grown deeper.
Like Facetime, Zoom meetings allow people to connect virtually. However, unlike Facetime meetings, Zoom allows groups of people to connect all at once. It’s easy to get started. Just go to www.zoom.us and follow the prompts. Once there and set up, you can host a meeting with other friends and family. Get creative and start reconnecting with old friends. Think about the type of circles you keep – or kept at one point in your life and begin to reconnect. Plan one 20 minute Zoom meeting per week. College roommates, old neighbors, current neighbors, long lost relatives, your old BUNCO group. Let’s reconnect with ZOOM and instead of isolation, you will be building and rebuilding friendships.
For more intense Mental Heath Treatment, Water Gap Wellness offers a PHP for Mental Health with Housing. Our program is created to offer clients independence and teach clients management skills to better live with their Mental Health diagnosis. Water Gap Wellness also serves individuals with Substance Use Disorder and Dual Diagnoses. For more information please call Water Gap Wellness at 1-833-949-4673 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
written by Annette Kaiser