Social Distancing Without Feeling Isolated

Social distancing really is testing relationships all around us. Work and family lines are blurry and many of us are trying to find solace in adjusting to the new normal. Just because we’re practicing social distancing doesn’t mean that we have to be isolated – we’re social people! Check out our infographic for more tips and tricks on how to deal with this unprecedented coronavirus epidemic.

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How To Practice Social Distancing Without Feeling Isolated

Before COVID-19, 52% of American adults said they felt alone, at least some of the time — Does social distancing mean Americans will feel even more lonely?

The Loneliness Epidemic

  • Americans Are Lonely
    • Around half of American adults feel lonely some or all of the time
      • 61% say those around them don’t share their interests and ideas
      • 58% think no one really knows them
      • 52% feel left out
      • 49% say they don’t have friends
    • Everyone feels lonely, but younger generations feel it more
      • 2019 Loneliness Score By Generation*
        • Gen Z: 49.9
        • Millennials: 47.7
        • Gen X: 47
        • Boomers: 43.2
  • Why So Lonely? Remote Work May Be To Blame
  • In 2019, 10% of Americans worked remotely
  • Remote workers are more likely to report feeling lonely
    • 53% feel isolated — compared to 47% of in-person workers
    • 63% lack friendships — compared to 46% of in-person workers 

Workers in K-12 education are some of the least likely to experience loneliness — But with school closing and moving online, that may be about to change

Social Isolation Harms Physical Health

  • Social distancing has proven to effectively slow the spread of diseases
    • On March 16, 2020, The White House and CDC recommended all Americans practice social distancing
      • Maintain at least 6 feet between yourself and other people
      • Avoid public transportation 
      • Cancel nonessential travel
      • Work from home if possible
      • Skip large social gatherings
    • “Every single reduction in the number of contacts you have per day — with relatives, with friends, co-workers, in school — will have a significant impact on the ability of the virus to spread in the population” — Gerardo Chowell, Chair of Population Health Sciences at Georgia State University
  • While social distancing is essential to public health in the current crisis — social isolation has its own effects on health and wellbeing
    • Social isolation may lead to increased risk for
      • High blood pressure
      • Heart disease
      • Obesity
      • Depression
      • Cognitive decline
      • Alzheimer’s

Social interaction is essential to human health — Don’t let physical distancing leave you feeling alone

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Physical Distancing Doesn’t Have To Bring Social Isolation

  • How To Fight Loneliness: Find Balance
    • Americans reported less loneliness when they got just the right amount (not too much or too little) of
      • Physical Activity
      • Sleep
      • Social Interaction
    • Get outdoors: Social distancing doesn’t mean you have to stay inside — Go for a  hike, do some yard work, or walk the dog to get some fresh air and exercise
  • Set a routine: Keeping to a morning routine — even when working from home — may reduce mental fatigue and help you feel happier and healthier
  • Stay in touch: Make plans to check-in regularly and plan virtual hangouts with friends and family
  • Tech To Stay Connected
    • Watch A Movie: Netflix Party
      • Syncs streaming so you can watch with friends
      • Adds a sidebar for integrated group chats
      • Works in the Chrome browser on any device
  • Call Or Chat: Messenger Kids
    • Lets children video chat and message with friends and family
    • Parents can control contacts and access messages
    • Adult family members can chat through their Facebook account

“A phone call with a voice is better than text, and a video chat is better than a telephone call” — Dr. Jonathan Kanter, Director of the Center For Science Of Social Connection at the University of Washington

  • Plan A Game Night: Many popular games are available to play with friends over the internet, including…
  • Video Games: Fortnite, Minecraft, Mario Kart Tour
  • Board Games: Yahtzee, Monopoly,  Chess
    • Card Games: Cards Against Humanity
  • Make A Digital “Water Cooler”
    • Create a webcam “break room” for employees to interact
    • Plan an online gaming tournament during lunch hour
    • Set aside social time during conference calls and meetings

Don’t expect perfection — No one should have to apologize for kids, pets, or internet speed

We’re all in this together – Even if we’re at least 6 feet apart

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