Human connection is important during social distancing 

By Amber Avila

There is no doubt that these times are overwhelming as our lives are completely put on hold due to the fatal consequences of the Coronavirus spread. Cooped up in our homes, living in quarantine has become a new reality that absolutely no one saw coming.

This new and abrupt change in our lifestyle can have a huge toll on our mental health. These times that we are living in prove how important it is for us to stay in touch with our friends and loved ones. Living in a technological age, it is to our benefit that we are able to connect with our loved ones through our phones and computers with applications like Facetime and Zoom. 

Constantly staying indoors to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has interrupted social lives that would ordinarily involve contact outside the home, contact that a Zoom meeting just cannot replace. Regardless of whether one is an extrovert, introvert or ambivert, we as humans are naturally meant to be sociable and have contact with one another. Although we are stuck at home, this does not mean that we have to be alone, however. We can take advantage of the time that we have to connect with people whether they are at home or away from us. 

One reason why we especially need to keep in virtual contact with our friends during social distancing is because we as a human species are not meant to be alone for long periods of time. According to Psychology Today, one study showed that having strong social connections leads to a 50 percent increased chance of a longer life. We are social animals that are meant to bond with each other for survival. 

The stress, confusion, and worry that many of us are experiencing right now because of Covid-19 can be a lot to carry on our own. Even the smallest gestures such as a phone call or text can go a long way. 

“Humans are just really intrinsically social creatures. We are the most extreme example of a species that’s decided that collaborating with others is going to be my entire strategy,” Professor Steve Cole at the University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine said to the Washington Post.

Connecting with friends and loved ones through technology during this time can also distract us from the pandemic and motivate us to persevere through it. The virus has rapidly hindered many things in our lives. For example, milestone events for seniors such as prom and graduation have been cancelled. Many people have also lost jobs, are struggling to pay the bills, don’t have enough food to feed their families, along with other situations because of the pandemic. 

This is not a time to be selfish, but to think of what we can do for others. This does not mean only reaching out to close friends but could also look like donating to food banks or offering to make a grocery run for an elderly neighbor. 

“This is the time to leverage the technology that can connect us – using FaceTime to share moments with loved ones. Call and talk to your friends and family members on the phone. While these measures may be extreme, keep in mind that is not forever. We are at a critical inflection point in the trajectory of the Covid-19 infection and we have a window of opportunity to act now and minimize community transmission,”  Dr. Thomas Chin-Chia Tsai said in an interview with The Guardian. 

Keeping in contact during quarantine not only helps us continue working on our relationships but is also a consistent reminder that we are not going through this time alone. Although many of us are feeling alone and overwhelmed right now, most of us are feeling the same things. We should take advantage of the extra time to have truthful and real conversations with our loved ones, check up on an old friend, make sure our families are safe, and much more. 

C.S. Lewis wrote, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.’”

For seniors, our expectations were high going into the new year of 2020, expectations of a bright future. Painful and worrying times like these that we never expected remind us how important it is to not take for granted what we have. We need each other during these trying times to persevere through the road ahead. To remind one another that this will not last forever, but our connections, our relationships, and our friendships will.

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