COVID-19: How to engage in healthy social connection while socially distancing

By Regence
March 31, 2020
Dr. Jim Polo_Q13

Set boundaries, seeks out meaningful conversations, and be an encouragement for loved ones.

Building healthy social connections is more important than ever right now, says Regence BlueShield’s Behavioral Health Medical Director Dr. Jim Polo, as we physically distance ourselves to help flatten the curve of COVID-19.

Recently, Dr. Polo appeared on Q13 FOX and spoke about the importance of finding ways to connect socially, while avoiding unhealthy social connections, which can lead to anxiety, depression, loneliness and fear.

Here are his tips for maintaining healthy social connection as we distance ourselves from others:

Set boundaries with social media

“Use your social media to actually interact with other people,” says Dr. Polo. “If you’re spending a lot of time on the internet or on social media websites just reading about what is going on or what other people are doing, then you’re not really connecting to other people.”

Seek out meaningful conversations

When we’re engaging in meaningful conversation, rather than small talk, we see an overall boost in our happiness. Dr. Polo recommends scheduling a weekly Skype or video chat with family or friends, or starting a group text to stay connected while physically distanced.

Be an encouragement to others

Dr. Polo encourages everyone to be a positive force and source of encouragement for people in your life. “Think about how you can help others feel better. Think about how you can encourage and inspire them. This will help them and it will help you too.”

Watch Dr. Polo’s segment on Q13 FOX and read more COVID-19 perspectives from Regence’s Medical Directors.