By Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, March 25, 2020 (HealthDay News) – Social distancing has become the new normal, with a third of Americans now under orders to stay home due to the coronavirus pandemic, but experts say the level isolation can be difficult on your health
“We don’t know for sure what the long-term health outcomes of generalized forced social isolation will be, but given what we know about the effects of social isolation and stress on physical and mental health, there are reasons to be concerned.” said Tess Thompson, an assistant research professor at the University of Washington in St. Louis.
The author of a recent study on social isolation and health, Thompson offered some coping advice.
Maintain social connection as much as possible during this time through technology and social media. There are several ways to connect online with friends, and some gym coaches and music teachers offer online sessions.
Thompson said there is some evidence that active use of social media, such as sharing content or commenting on social media posts, may be better for mental health than passive use of social media, such as scrolling through the news.
If you’re confined at home with others, do fun activities together instead of retreating behind separate electronic screens. Play board games, read books aloud, play music together, go for a walk, dine together, or hug your pets, Thompson suggested in a university news release.
If you are separated from your older loved ones, be sure to connect with them through the medium of your choice. Have children write letters to grandparents or chat with them online or over the phone. Email or text with updates from previous loved ones and let them know they can contact you if they are alone or need something.
Get outside. Most housewife ads allow you to go for a walk in the parks or neighborhood. You can still smile and say “hello” to people while keeping a safe distance. If you meet your neighbors, ask them if they need anything.