Long (Social) Distance: Tips for Staying Connected With Loved Ones During the Pandemic

Photo Courtesy: supersizer/E+/Getty Images

Since the coronavirus pandemic began worsening in March of 2020, millions of Americans started heeding the advice of medical experts — and the mandates of local and state officials — and have been practicing social distancing in order to mitigate the spread of the virus. And now, with renewed efforts from state and local governments to encourage sheltering in place during the most wonderful time of the year, it’s becoming clearer that our holiday celebrations will be anything but typical — a common theme for 2020, and one that’s also leaving many of us wondering how to navigate winter festivities without our loved ones physically present. But taking steps to stay safe this season — particularly by forgoing in-person gatherings to slow COVID-19’s spread — doesn’t mean you have to toss your social calendar or avoid seeing friends and family altogether.

Now, as pandemic shutdowns trudge on and temperatures drop, we'll be spending more time than ever indoors — and that's a good thing for keeping ourselves healthy. But this relative isolation also highlights just how important it is to stay connected to loved ones who may find it difficult to deal with loneliness and reduced daylight hours as the world figures out long-term plans for managing COVID-19. From board game nights to virtual happy hours, these creative ways to stay in touch with your loved ones during the pandemic — and the typically social holiday season — will help you (and them) feel energized and not so alone while getting your fix for some wintertime cheer.