Community Psychiatry’s Julian Lagoy, M.D. was featured in an article discussing ways to stay connected socially during the pandemic. 

Feeling Isolated? Here are 4 Expert Tips for Staying Socially Connected During the Pandemic

By: Lesley Chan | Lulus | September 17, 2020

We’re going on what feels like day 134,789,254 of the pandemic, and while most of us have adjusted to spending more time at home, one thing that’s harder to get used to is less social connection and interaction with others. Gone are long group trips with friends, regular dinner nights out, and even impromptu happy hours. We’re lucky that with technology, social distancing really means physical distancing, but even the best video call is not quite the same as spending time with someone in person. And zoom fatigue is real.

Staying at home is necessary to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, but after a few months of only spending time with your immediate household, pets, or plants, isolation may be taking a toll on your mind and body. You might even miss the company of that overly chatty office coworker you had always previously avoided in the hallway. “Lack of social interaction is very detrimental to our mental and physical health,” says Dr. Julian Lagoy, M.D. a psychiatrist with Community Psychiatry. “We are more at risk for depression and loneliness the more we are isolated and the longer the pandemic lasts.”

Use technology to connect with family and friends.

Dr. Lagoy recommends online meetings, phone calls, and playing games online with friends or family. He admits there are limitations to interacting only digitally, but it’s still a way to maintain social connection and a sense of social life. For example, both Jackbox Games and Houseparty allow people to play fun and weird party games while social distancing, and Netflix Party is a Chrome extension that lets you watch Netflix shows and movies with others.

“We are meant to be social creatures and the best type of social interaction is in person,” says Dr. Lagoy. “Video chat is a subpar substitute, but it is safe during this time and better than nothing. It does seem more exhausting, but I am grateful we have the technology to connect and try to remind myself of this.”

Continue to celebrate important events.

Regular life goes on, even if we’re all in our respective homes. One way to bring a sense of normalcy back is to continue to acknowledge all of life’s moments, big and little, as they come up. “We also should keep celebrating important events such as birthdays, weddings, and holidays albeit virtually. Although in many cases we cannot celebrate together in person, it is still vital to mark hallmark events and celebrate with loved ones in a safe way,” says Dr. Lagoy. Think of it as a way to find creative connections, whether it’s via a Zoom party or a drive-by celebration.

Talk to a professional if you need to.

However, if you think what you’re feeling is more than just quarantine blues, talk to someone professional. Advises Dr. Lagoy, “It is normal to feel some sadness during this time, but if you notice problems with sleep, appetite, interest, concentration or have suicidal thoughts, especially continuing for two weeks, it is something more profound than just the blues and you should definitely seek professional help.”

Click here to read the entire article on Lulus.

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