Expert Pitch
University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV)

Social Spacing: Tips On Deepening Connections & Staying Safe, Sane Amid Coronavirus

UNLV psychology professor Stephen D. Benning offers tips on staying safe and sane during the coronavirus pandemic.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article was written by UNLV psychology professor Stephen D. Benning. He is director of the Psychophysiology of Emotion and Personality laboratory (PEPlab) at UNLV, where he researches topics including basic emotional processes.

 

UNLV -- As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads, people have been asked to stay out of public spaces and reduce interpersonal contact to limit the transmission of the virus. This process has the unfortunate name of “social distancing,“ which has connotations of removing oneself socially and emotionally as well as physically from the public sphere. Before modern communication technologies existed, those might have been unfortunate side effects of such a containment strategy. However, with all the methods available to us to stay connected across large gaps between us, I propose we call this effort social spacing.

Social spacing

In this way, we emphasize that it’s the physical space between people we seek to minimize, not the interpersonal bonds we share. Social spacing entails a simple geographic removal from other people. It also invites people to become creative in using technological means to bridge the space between us.

How to stay far away, so close

When using technology to stay connected, prioritize keeping deeper, meaningful connections with people. Use Skype or other video messaging to see as well as hear from people important to you. Talk to people on the phone to maintain a vocal connection. Use your favorite social media site’s individual messenger to keep a dialog going with someone. Have individual or group texts for select audiences of messages.

In these deep, close, personalized connections, it’s OK to share your anxieties and fears. Validating that other people are concerned or even scared can help them feel like they are grounded in reality. However, beyond simple validation, use these deep connections to plan out what to do, to take concrete actions to live the lives you want. To the extent possible, share hobbies or other pursuits together if you’re shut off from work or other personal strivings for success.

  • Move book clubs from living rooms or coffee shops to speaker phone calls or group Zoom sessions.
  • Find online or app versions of bridgeboard gamesroleplaying adventures, or other fun things you might do together in person – or find new things to do online.
  • Set an appointment with some friends to watch a show or movie on TV or streaming media. You can then have a group chat afterward to share your reactions. Then again, maybe you all would enjoy keeping the line open as you’re watching to comment along in real time!
  • Curate playlists on Spotify or other music sites to share with your friends to express your current mood or provide some uplift to each other.
  • Make a creative group so that you write novelspaint pictures, or pursue other artistic endeavors.
  • Learn skills through shared courseware from Khan AcademyLinkedIn Learning, or other sources.

These kinds of personalized connections can be prioritized over broad social media posts. In that way, you have more of an influence over your audience – and you can ask for a deeper kind of support than a feed or timeline might provide. If you use social media, use language laden with nouns and verbs to minimize emotional contagion. Share information from trusted, reputable sources as close to the relevant data as possible. 

When too many connections and too frequent news become too much

You might find that the firehose of information overwhelms you at times. If you find yourself getting more anxious when you watch the news or browse social media, that’s a good sign that you’d benefit from a break. As a first step, you might disable notifications on your phone from news or social media apps so that you can control when you search for information rather than having it pushed to you. Other possibilities include:

  • Employing the muting options on Twitter, snooze posts or posters on Facebook, or filter words on Instagram.
  • Using a timer, an app, or a browser extension to limit the time you can spend on specific social media sites.
  • Turning off all your devices for a few hours to really unplug for a while.

Through these methods, you can give yourself space to recharge and stay connected even as you’re socially spaced. 




Filters close

Showing results

110 of 4575
Newswise:Video Embedded pregnant-women-should-consider-taking-the-covid-19-vaccine
VIDEO
Released: 18-Jan-2021 7:50 AM EST
Pregnant women should consider taking the COVID-19 vaccine.
University of Washington School of Medicine

f pregnant individuals catch COVID they will generally get sicker than non-pregnant individuals. They also more commonly end up on ECMO [heart-lung support], in the ICU or on ventilators.

Newswise: Have allergies? Worried about COVID-19 vaccine? Don’t be.
Released: 18-Jan-2021 7:40 AM EST
Have allergies? Worried about COVID-19 vaccine? Don’t be.
UW Medicine

Even people who have experienced severe allergic reactions to food, latex, pets, pollen, or bee stings should get the coronavirus vaccine, UW Medicine allergy and infectious disease experts say.

Released: 15-Jan-2021 5:40 PM EST
Research Links Social Isolation to COVID-19 Protocol Resistance
Humboldt State University

As health officials continue to implore the public to wear masks and practice social distancing, recent research by Humboldt State University Psychology Professor Amber Gaffney provides key insights into connections between social isolation, conspiratorial thinking, and resistance to COVID-19 protocols.

Newswise: Rapid blood test identifies COVID-19 patients at high risk of severe disease
Released: 15-Jan-2021 5:35 PM EST
Rapid blood test identifies COVID-19 patients at high risk of severe disease
Washington University in St. Louis

Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have shown that a relatively simple and rapid blood test can predict which patients with COVID-19 are at highest risk of severe complications or death. The blood test measures levels of mitochondrial DNA, which normally resides inside the energy factories of cells. Mitochondrial DNA spilling out of cells and into the bloodstream is a sign that a particular type of violent cell death is taking place in the body.

Released: 15-Jan-2021 2:55 PM EST
COVID-19 deaths really are different. But best practices for ICU care should still apply, studies suggest.
Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan

COVID-19 deaths are indeed different from other lung failure deaths, according to two recent studies, with 56% of COVID-19 patients dying primarily from the lung damage caused by the virus, compared with 22% of those whose lungs fail due to other causes. But, the researchers conclude, the kind of care needed to help sustain people through the worst cases of all forms of lung failure is highly similar, and just needs to be fine-tuned.

Released: 15-Jan-2021 2:50 PM EST
45% of adults over 65 lack online medical accounts that could help them sign up for COVID-19 vaccinations
Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan

As the vaccination of older adults against COVID-19 begins across the country, new poll data suggests that many of them don’t yet have access to the “patient portal” online systems that could make it much easier for them to schedule a vaccination appointment. In all, 45% of adults aged 65 to 80 had not set up an account with their health provider’s portal system.

Released: 15-Jan-2021 1:30 PM EST
New England Journal of Medicine publishes COVID-19 treatment trial results
University of Texas at San Antonio

A clinical trial involving COVID-19 patients hospitalized at UT Health San Antonio and University Health, among roughly 100 sites globally, found that a combination of the drugs baricitinib and remdesivir reduced time to recovery, according to results published Dec. 11 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Released: 15-Jan-2021 12:40 PM EST
DNA test can quickly identify pneumonia in patients with severe COVID-19, aiding faster treatment
University of Cambridge

Researchers have developed a DNA test to quickly identify secondary infections in COVID-19 patients, who have double the risk of developing pneumonia while on ventilation than non-COVID-19 patients.

Released: 15-Jan-2021 12:30 PM EST
Fight CRC To Present Research Findings on The Impact of COVID-19 on the Colorectal Cancer Community at 2021 GI ASCO
Fight Colorectal Cancer

Fight Colorectal Cancer presents abstract at Gastrointestinal Cancer Symposium highlighting the need to address the barriers and opportunities for care within the colorectal cancer community during the COVID-19 pandemic


Showing results

110 of 4575

close
1.19743