Humans are inherently social creatures. The COVID-19 pandemic has reduced in-person socialization, which for some has negatively impacted their physical and mental well-being. Many are developing new, innovative ways of staying connected through the duration of extended stays at home.
“Positive social interaction may stimulate the release of stress-reducing hormones and decreases the feelings of depression,” said Petra Zdenkova, PsyD, a primary care psychologist at Samaritan Family Medicine – Geary Street in Albany. “It also improves cognitive function and boosts the immune system to help you ward off illness and live longer. Also, isolating yourself can lead to bad habits such as overeating, smoking or substance abuse, which can shorten your life expectancy.”
The following can be helpful ways to engage with others using modern technology:
- Use an online video chat platform to connect with friends and family. Host a virtual party or holiday celebration. Play a game, cook or do an art project together through the computer.
- Join an online club such as a book, running, music, knitting, writing or spiritual club. There are online groups for every interest and finding those with similar hobbies and skill sets can help you feel part of something.
- Take an online class. If you have been thinking about going back to school, getting a certificate or just learning something new, now is a good time to explore those ambitions.
- Join an online workout to keep those endorphins going. You can find several videos on the SamFit Facebook page to help keep you active at home.
While connecting virtually has its limits, seeing and interacting with others, even by computer screen, can make a positive difference.
Looking for a mental or behavioral health specialist? Call Samaritan’s Find-a-Doctor Line for help finding a provider at 800-863-5241.