With the outbreak of COVID-19, the whole world changed rapidly and drastically, which can invoke feelings of fear as well as uncertainty. A particularly crucial yet psychologically difficult element associated with COVID-19 is the worldwide efforts of socially distancing to limit the spread of the virus. As human beings, we have a fundamental need and drive for interpersonal connections and relationships. During social distancing, it can be common to feel loneliness and disconnection from others. However, with modern technology, we can build and nurture new and existing relationships that have evidence-based findings to improve our mental health and overall wellbeing. Healthy relationships are linked to reduced production of stress hormones such as cortisol, a greater sense of purpose, and healthy coping behaviours.
During times like this, it is crucial to utilize the psychological benefits of social relationships by:
- Scheduling times to connect via FaceTime, Skype, or virtual platforms. This activity can serve as a wonderful substitution for face to face interaction.
- Sharing our thoughts, feelings, concerns, and experiences with friends and family. Doing so allows us to feel heard, understood, and increasingly connected to others.
- Create time for individual hobbies and self-care; however, include scheduled time for family activities such as game nights or think of some creative ideas on date nights you can create with your partner at home.
- Reconnecting with friends or relatives that we haven’t had much time or opportunity to connect with as frequently in the past.
- Keeping in touch with colleagues or employees during these uncertain times and offering support.
Clinicians at CFIR are offering confidential, secure video therapy or teletherapy therapy, which can help support you with maintaining social relationships during COVID-19 as well as working through feelings of loneliness, loss, or uncertainty, amongst others.
Edgar Prudcoi, B.A. is a therapist at the Centre for Interpersonal Relationships (CFIR) in Toronto and is near completion of his Masters degree in Clinical Psychology at the Adler Graduate Professional School. He supports individual adults and couples to deal with difficulties related to emotion (e.g., depression, anxiety, anger), the effects of trauma, loss and grief, conflict resolution, and relationship functioning.