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Phone calls are a simple way to stay connected.

How to maintain your relationships during a pandemic

With stay-at-home orders in place, it can be difficult to keep a decent social life.

GREENSBURG, Pa.— Quarantine is in full effect and with it comes the task of social distancing.

According to a March 30 study by the CDC, people should maintain a distance of at least six feet from others and stay out of crowded places to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

However, complete and total social isolation isn’t healthy or recommended, according to mental health professionals such as Amy Sullivan.

“We should be creating ways to stay connected or inventing something interesting or fun right now to be creative,” says Sullivan, health psychologist, in a March 24 Cleveland Clinic article.

Here are some creative ways for you to stay connected to friends and family during this quarantine.

One of the most simple ways to maintain social relationships from a distance is with a text or phone call.

“I feel like I’ve sent more messages to my friends during this quarantine than all of last semester,” wrote Sara Steeves, a freshman and animation major at JU in a text message exchange.

If simply shooting a text or picking up the phone isn’t enough, try Group FaceTime, Skype, or Zoom to see your friends and family’s faces. FaceTime is available to any group in which members have iPhones, while Skype and Zoom are available on either iOS or android.

Currently, Zoom is under scrutiny after several security concerns have been raised and a class action lawsuit was filed, according to an April 2 Vox article. Despite this, it has become a popular app for videoconferencing for both educational and professional uses.

Another way to stay connected is by streaming shows and movies together. With Netflix Party, a Google Chrome extension, you can simultaneously watch movies and shows with friends and family.

“I love that we can all still binge watch our shows together instead of watching it alone and feeling guilty about watching ahead,” said Alina Ramirez, a sophomore and marine science major at JU via an email exchange. “The feeling of togetherness makes me feel better about what’s going on in the world.”

If the isolation from being in quarantine is too much then maybe it’s time for a good laugh. Tell some friends to download the app Evil Apples vs. Humanity, a virtual adult card game inspired by Cards Against Humanity. Connect with at least three of your friends by messaging the game code to start the game.

“That game had me dying, it was so much fun,” wrote Caitlin Morales, a freshman and musical theatre major at JU via a text message exchange. “It definitely helped take my mind off of stress from school and being cooped up inside my house.”

Another app that helps people connect with each other is Houseparty. You can video chat with friends and family and play games at the same time. Playing games with friends and family even while miles apart can create an enjoyable moment during a serious time.

While these suggestions are only a supplement to in-person socialization, they can help prevent social isolation.

“Humans are social creatures by nature, so use the tools you have to see a loved one’s face, to share stories, to let them know you’re thinking of them,” said Michael Craig Miller, assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School in a March 25 Harvard Health Publishing article. “It’s corny, but share the love you have for another person. Odds are, you’ll both feel better.”

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