We all know that it’s not fun to be by yourself during this very lengthy period that we call “quarantine.” Staying cooped up inside can leave you feeling *super* lonely, which is why it’s so important to keep in touch with others and help a friend struggling with quarantine.
Social distancing is now labeled as the “new normal,” and social interaction only happens from 6 feet away, as we are all trying to protect ourselves and others. Social activities are stunted, and ordinary interactions with the outside world are interrupted. The sudden increase in isolation has taken a serious toll on our emotional health, leaving us stripped of the face-to-face connections that we crave as human beings.
“Our brains will seek out ways to compensate for social deprivation, and when those efforts are frustrated, we feel emotional distress,” explains licensed clinical psychologist Dr. Amy Boyers. “Even though we have family members or others living with us, we experience the lack of normal contact as highly uncomfortable. Our social network gives us a sense of identity. It helps us stay connected with our own existence, which is quite profound. Other people mirror our emotions back to us in response to the things we do and say, so it also provides validation that our experiences are real and make sense.”
To help combat separation anxiety and mutually make sense of the madness, be sure to show your gals some extra love from afar in the coming weeks. Here are some simple ways to boost your BFF’s spirits and stay connected no matter how far apart you are.
Tip #1: Help them understand the facts.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has an abundance of information about the virus and how it can be prevented. Reading up may be exactly what your friend needs to be instilled with a sense of solace. By doing this, you will begin to understand what the whole ruckus is about – and maybe your friends will too. After doing this, you will find there’s a middle ground and will have a solid understanding of what is currently going on in the world.
Tip #2: Mail an old-fashioned, handwritten letter.
There’s nothing more special than receiving a sleep away camp style note in your friend’s personal penmanship. Feel free to drop a photo of you two inside the envelope to emphasize *just* how much you’re missing them. By doing this, you’ll be channeling your inner 90s aesthetic. Although it’s 2020, it would be pretty cool to live in the 90s, wouldn’t it? Despite the decade, a handwritten letter will totally swoon that special friend over.
Tip #3: Link up on social media.
Thanks to our 21st century technology, staying in touch is now easier than ever. You can find ways to interact on your favorite social platform, whether through dancing a TikTok duet or exchanging memes via Instagram DM. Be sure to also leave a compliment on anything they post to spread positivity! Why not send a funny Snapchat? Send a friend a picture of your dog sleeping? Maybe post a funny meme on Twitter? Positivity makes the world go ’round.
Tip #4: Set a goal together.
Excess time indoors can leave one feeling unmotivated, so work as a duo to brainstorm an objective each week. Monday through Wednesday can be for online workouts, Thursday and Friday for trying new recipes, and Saturday and Sunday can be dedicated to reading a new book!
Whether you’re studying hard for that final exam, making a necklace for your aunt, or reading a chapter of your favorite book, it’s important to try to keep yourself (and your friend) busy during this time. But binge-watching a whole season of your favorite television show on Netflix or Disney+ works well too. At least you’re both doing something to keep occupied!
Tip #5: Listen and support.
Sometimes, your BFF may just want to rant about what’s on his/her mind to relieve anxiety. Be sure to be there on the opposite end of the phone as a listening ear, and make it clear that you understand what he/she is going through. During this difficult time, it is easy for people to bottle up their feelings and not talk about what they’re going through. Give them some time. Even though they may not open up to you right away, just be there for them when they need it the most. Now that, my friends, is true friendship.
Tip #6: Encourage them to get more sleep.
Getting shut-eye while being stressed out is difficult, but it’s crucial in order to maintain optimal mental health. Inspire your bestie to go to bed earlier by ending text or Snapchat conversations before midnight. This tip might be beneficial for you, too. Are you constantly getting tired like me after a long day? Are you in need of a nap? If the answer is yes, go take that nap. Your responsibilities will still be there at another time. Trust me, you (and your friend) will need it.
Tip #7: Set aside some face-to-face time.
Although you may not be able to see each other in person for the time being, slate a period where you can video chat with each other a few times per week. Zoom karaoke parties and dinner dates make the experience all the more fun! This will totally help you get your mind off things when you’re stressed out or upset. If you’re having a Zoom karaoke party, just focus on the lyrics and have a good time. Nothing is better than taking a few minutes out of your day to spend time with your friends and just simply catch up with one another. Really, there isn’t.
Tip #8: Schedule a food shipment.
Lots of restaurants are still open for takeout, so surprise your friend with a batch of cupcakes or bagel basket delivered to his/her doorstep. They’ll definitely appreciate you going the extra mile and may even reciprocate the love by sending you a meal of your own. Will your bank account suffer? Probably. Does the limit exist in terms of how much food you are ordering? Nope! Will you squeak happily at the sight of food? Probably. So, is it worth it? Definitely. There’s no doubt about it.
Looking for another way to stay connected to your besties (and your family) from afar? Sound off in the comments below!
Nicole Gibson is a junior at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut, where she is pursuing a bachelor of arts in journalism and theatre studies.