The spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) has prompted the cancellation of events and closures of businesses and gyms, movie theaters and libraries. As of March 18, states across the country have banned gatherings ranging anywhere from 10 to 100 people, and the CDC has advised that events over 50 be postponed.
Many people are practicing social distancing by staying at home, and with the closure of many public places, there’s not much else people can do. However, the isolation and loneliness caused by self-quarantining and social distancing can quickly become overwhelming. And while it might not seem like it, loneliness and isolation can have profound effects on your physical and mental health.
“In light of the pandemic, there are ways that we can increase that sense of connection or reduce feelings of loneliness in ways that we may be able to do safely at a distance,” said Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Brigham Young University. “One of the things that research has shown is that social support is incredibly helpful in times of stress.”
To help reduce the loneliness you might feel during this time, here are several free online events and tips to help you stay connected:
Virtual Zoo and National Park Visits
Fitness & Mindfulness
Movies and TV
If you’re in crisis or need immediate help, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255. You can also chat on site here.