It’s important to stay socially connected during the coronavirus pandemic and avoid isolation for the sake of our mental health, says Jennifer Wegmann, PhD, a lecturer in health and wellness studies at Binghamton University, State University of New York.

“I think one of the most important things that all of us can start applying to our lives is the concept of social connection,” said Wegmann. “If you look at research as it relates to stress and coping, one of the most important and effective coping strategies that we all have is utilizing our social network. That looks very different for us now, because we’re used to connecting when we’re face-to-face. Allowing people to connect socially, even though it looks different, is going to remain really important.”

Adversity creates an opportunity for us to get innovative, said Wegmann. For example, some people have used the Zoom video conferencing platform to create a virtual “bar,” where they could socialize with people they knew, as well as strangers, like they would if they were in person.

“This is actually a really creative idea,” said Wegmann. “If we give ourselves a little time and space and opportunity, we will see that we can come up with really creative ways to stay connected.”

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