4 Ways to Improve Virtual Social Connection

Connecting virtually with friends and family is something I’ve been resistant to for a while now. There’s something about face-to-face that fulfills me in a way that FaceTime, texting and other ways of virtual social connection just can’t.

Enter COVID-19.

Time for all you old soul’s, like myself, to adapt to the changing times. Virtual connection may be all we have for now.

Social distancing has left a lot of us feeling isolated, disconnected and alone. The physical distance between family members living apart – near or far – is being felt in a new way. The unknown of when we will be able to see each other in person is unsettling and talking on the phone or FaceTime check ins just don’t seem like enough.

Also, I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sick and tired of the repetitive conversations that this new pandemic has brought to our lives.

Let’s get creative.

There are ways to unite on a deeper level that can fulfill our human need for connection while still practicing social distancing or being many miles apart from our loved ones.

Have a FaceTime Dinner Date Together.

Pick a recipe with your distant friend or loved one. It can be something very simple with ingredients that are easily found at home or accessible. Or pick up similar take out meals from your local restaurants. Pour yourself a glass of wine, if that’s your thing, and sit down at your dining room or kitchen table. We all know we’ve been eating way too frequently on the couch these days…

At your scheduled dinner date time, set up your device and connect. Enjoy your meal together and choose topics to discuss that are not related to the current pandemic. Even better, practice a Mindful Eating technique together by slowly chewing each bite and describing your flavors and experience to one another. Mindful Eating is a form of meditation that can help lower stress and in fact, help our body absorb more nutrients from our food!

Go For A Walk or Hike Together

Similarly to your Dinner Date, join your loved one on a hike or a walk around the park. Using your device to connect to enjoy nature together. Don’t forget to practice your mindfulness by observing and describing your surroundings to your partner. To add in some extra fun, why not turn your device’s camera around to show your partner what you’re looking at and play an old school game of “I Spy”.

*If you are going outside, make sure to keep in mind to maintain social distancing with others you may run into, avoid touching objects, and if you do, remember to avoid touching your face until you can wash your hands. Don’t forget to also sanitize your electronic device and be careful of any interaction between your device, your hands, and your face!
Play a Game Together

The beauty of technology is that is puts a ton of activities at the tip of our fingers. Download a game app to play from afar with a friend or family member. Engaging in a game together brings joy, laughter, while also nurturing feelings of closeness. Laughter during stressful periods is extremely important and a nice way to implement a balance for your nervous system to give your body’s stress response a break. Check out some of these games recommended by Famisafe.

Meditate Together

Meditation during difficult times can also help to calm the nervous system. Meditating with a loved one can bring an even deeper sense of connection and calm. Pick a daily time to meet virtually with your meditation partner. Using a free app like Insight Timer, alternate who chooses the guided meditation to share each day. At your chosen time, find a comfortable safe space, connect with each other using your device, and enjoy your meditation. Spend a few minutes connecting with your partner after you finish listening to share your experience with that specific meditation. You’d be surprised what may come up to share with one another and what deeper conversations may spark.

If you’re feeling isolated and overwhelmed, rest assured that you are not alone. We are collectively going through this pandemic together. Don’t be afraid to express your needs for increased connection to the people in your life and work together to trouble shoot how you can get your needs met in a safe way.
Need support outside your current social connections? We’re here for you. Therapy is for everyone and a perfect way to practice self-care during this time period and beyond!

NourishYourMind.com/Appointment or Call/Text (845) 547-0479

Jessica Sullivan, LCSW, NTP, CDBT
Founder & CEO
Nourish Your Mind – Integrative Mental Health

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