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  • Writer's pictureSkye White

Staying Connected During COVID-19

Humans are social creatures. Regardless of whether you identify as an introvert or extrovert, social connections are imperative to our mental, emotional, and overall health. As we continue to navigate the COVID 19 pandemic, maintaining connections with our friends, family, loved ones, and community remains a challenging, yet attainable goal.




What happens to our brains and bodies when we’re isolated?

According to the National Institute on Aging, chronic loneliness and isolation have been linked not only to many physical health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and a weakened immune system, but also to mental and cognitive health issues such as anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, and Alzheimer’s disease.* As the COVID 19 pandemic continues, it is important to remember that we all need human connection and that it is okay to reach out for support. We should be normalizing the need for human connection more than ever in this time.

Ways to Stay Connected

We are fortunate in that we have technology readily available to keep us connected. There are multiple free platforms in which to video chat with loved ones including but not limited to Skype, Zoom, Facebook Messenger, and Google Hangouts (all are available on the web as well as on Apple and Android devices). There are also apps such as Houseparty that have built in games to play while video chatting and the Netflix Party app that syncs a movie across multiple devices, allowing you and others to watch a movie together, while staying in your own homes.

If technology and setting up these apps seem daunting, there’s always the option of making a simple phone call to loved ones, or even writing letters. Socially distanced walks or picnics at your local parks are also safe ways to interact in person.

Destigmatize Loneliness

Often, for a variety of reasons, we don’t ask for help when we need it. During the pandemic, we should be recognizing that we’re all in need of interactions with those outside of our household, particularly those who live alone. Human connection is a basic human need and there should be no shame in reaching out.

Now is a good time to start thinking about your community as well. Even if you feel that you’ve reached a good balance with maintaining your connections to loved ones, it may be worth reaching out to someone you haven’t heard from in a while. Think about people in your community that you haven’t spoken with since the pandemic began. A simple phone call, email, or text to say hello may just make someone’s day.

As the COVID 19 pandemic continues and we continue adapting to our new normal, keep in mind that human connection is an emotional and biological need. Let’s work together to destigmatize loneliness and make it part of our new normal to support each other in staying connected.

Reach out to resources that are here to help

If you are struggling with isolation, anxiety, depression, or another mental health issue and need immediate professional or trained support, there are helplines available. The King County Crisis Line operates 24/7 and can be reached at 1–866–427–4747. The Washington State Warm Line is staffed by volunteers with lived experience and can be reached Mondays through Fridays 5pm-9pm and Weekends 12:30pm-9pm at 1–877–500–9276.

Seeking counseling for ongoing support is another valid option. Many therapists are offering therapy via video calls during the pandemic. Telehealth is a safe, effective way to access ongoing mental health support and is covered by most insurance companies.


*“Social isolation, loneliness in older people pose health risks.” National Institute on Aging, 23 April 2019, https://www.nia.nih.gov/news/social-isolation-loneliness-older-people-pose-health-risks

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