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A woman and her two children video chat with loved ones via tablet.. A woman and her two children video chat with loved ones via tablet..

Strengthening social connections while maintaining physical distance

As the situation around the coronavirus continues to evolve, we’re living life differently and learning as we go. Stress levels were high before the pandemic, but now they’ve skyrocketed. We all need support. So while we physically distance ourselves to help stop the spread of COVID-19, finding new ways to stay socially connected is more important than ever.

Making conversations count

Thanks to technology, communicating from a distance is easy. But truly connecting can be tough. Here are some ideas that can help make virtual conversations a little easier:

  • Create a safe space. Whether on video chat, phone, or text, try to create an environment where everyone feels like it’s OK to open up. Use reassuring language and make it clear that you’re ready and willing to listen.
  • Be vulnerable. Talk about how you’re feeling up front. If you’re honest about your own struggles, you can help encourage others to open up about theirs.
  • Check in often. Ups and downs are normal, so check in with family, friends, and co-workers frequently. Routine can be comforting, so set regular times to talk.
  • Stay present. Focus on connecting and being present. If you’re on video chat, make eye contact and avoid doing other tasks. You’ll then be able to really listen — and show you care.
  • Be ready to act. If you’re concerned, speak up. Asking someone if they’re considering hurting themselves doesn’t increase the likelihood that they’ll do it. In fact, it could save their life. And if you think someone is in danger, call 911. Learn more about how to start conversations about mental health and emotional wellness at findyourwords.org.

Words are especially important right now

We might not have answers, but we can learn how to talk things through and offer each other support.

Conversation starters

Finding the words to express what you’re experiencing can be hard. But offering support and asking for help are essential. Everyone is looking for ways to say, “I can’t be there with you, but I’m here for you. And I’m listening.” Here are some questions you can ask to help get a meaningful conversation started:

  • “How can I support you today?”
  • “What are you looking forward to today?”
  • “Tell me what’s worrying you.”

You can strengthen a social connection right now

Pick a family member, friend, co-worker, or neighbor, and reach out. You can ask how they are, or simply say “I’m here for you.” We’re all going through this together, and your words could make all the difference.

Learn more about how to take care of your mental health

Choose from a broad range of self-care tools designed to support a healthy state of mind.

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