Connecting with Others When Illness is on the Rise

Strengthening relationships while social distancing? Bring it on!

Woman on the couch on her phone, showing us how she is connecting with people during social distancing

When people you know are sick, you’re likely to avoid going in for a hug or stopping to chat—especially when they have symptoms like a runny nose, cough, and constant sneezing.

Sound familiar? OK, don’t panic! All is well. This is a safe zone and we’re in this together.

Knowing you have someone to rely on during challenges and isolation can be the key to finding hope and joy. But how are you supposed to foster your connections and friendships when you’ve been instructed to stay inside your home and avoid interaction or contact with other people?

Believe it or not, it’s possible. With some creativity, you can still give life to the relationships you have with your loved ones, and even establish new ones, without walking into another’s personal bubble or risking spreading or catching illnesses.

Here are some unique ideas to stay connected:

Ready, set, write

You know that feeling of excitement when you find a personalized letter or card in the pile of bills inside the mailbox? In today’s world, it’s easier to text others or like a friend’s post on social media to “connect.” But writing a note for another person creates a stronger connection, allows you time to ponder your words, and benefits your health.

Just remember to wash your hands before touching the paper. Remember: The goal is to stop the spread of germs.

Phone roulette

When you’re in the mood to connect with someone during times of social distancing, scroll through the list of contacts on your phone—a few times up and a few times down—and see what name you land on. Once you have your name, call them. If calling isn’t your thing, a friendly text works too.

Share a story about your day or simply ask how they’re doing. You might be surprised at how much your out-of-the-blue message means to your friend.

Related: Make Someone's Day with a Random Act of Kindness

Leave a kind note for the neighbors

It’s a small gesture, but it could have big rewards.

• Step 1: Cut small pieces of paper and write reasons you love a neighbor on each one. You can also write inspirational thoughts or uplifting messages. Don’t forget to wash those hands.
• Step 2: Put painter’s tape on the back of each piece of paper.
• Step 3: Quietly place the notes on the neighbor’s front door.
• Step 4: Ring their doorbell and hurry home before you’re caught.
• Step 5: Feel the love! You’ve just shown your appreciation and probably made their day.

Give back

There’s no better way to feel connected with others than through acts of service. Consider leaving a fresh meal on the front steps of a sick neighbor or help them with a bit of yard work they couldn’t finish. You can also find safe and healthy ways to donate resources or services during times of illnesses or crises.

Even if you’re doing your part by staying inside to help prevent illness, there are still ways to meaningfully connect with those around you. Connection while social distancing? Bring it on! Just remember to keep a six-foot distance.

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