Why Video Calling During COVID-19 Is Essential To Mental Health

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10 of 15

social isolation activities

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Have you been getting in your FaceTime calls? How about those Skype calls? Zoom parties? Facebook messenger group video calls? Google Duo? However you do it, call your friends using a video-enabled app. See their faces. Hear their voices. Maybe it sounds like easy advice to follow. And, I think in the first couple of weeks of the coronavirus lockdown, it was. I don’t think any of us ever imagined this would go on more than two weeks. And two weeks away from our usual lives? We can do that. Many of us take two-week vacations. We go on cruises for two weeks. Many of our college breaks lasted roughly two weeks. When we’ve gotten sick in the past with something like the flu, or had to recover from surgery, we’ve ducked out of life for two weeks. Taking a break for two weeks is something we could all handle. So, I think, during that time, we felt positive, and hopping on a video call with a friend every day felt fun and easy. Video calls were surging early on in this thing.

 

 

I think the reality is now setting in, though, that we really don’t know how long it will be until we can freely, without fear, invite a friend over for dinner or meet a friend at the movies. And the not knowing is the worst. It’s a terrible limbo to be in. It’s personally made me depressed, and when I’m depressed—as is the case for many—the hardest things to do are those that are good for me. I just get in my rut, feeling like nothing will help, and not having the energy to try anything. That goes for video calls with friends. But, every time I force myself to do it, I get the energy and the hope that I desperately needed to make it through a few more days of this terrible thing. Here are reasons to video chat with friends every day during this pandemic.

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You’ll put yourself together

Hey how long has it been since you did your hair? Or put a little makeup on? Or changed clothes? It’s okay. Same over here. Things have been getting grimy in this quarantine. The good thing about getting on a video call with friends is that it motivates you to pull yourself together, at least a little bit. And then, seeing yourself that way will actually cheer you up.

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You’ll retell your stories

You may think you haven’t done much. Compared to your usual, busy life, you probably haven’t. But when you get on a video call with a friend, and she tells you her quarantine stories—the games they’ve been playing and projects they’ve been finishing—it will jog your memory on all you’ve been up to. You’ll dig into your memory so you can also share your quarantine stories. And you’ll realize that—oh—you’ve actually gotten some stuff done!

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You can see their quarantine buddies

The friends you video call probably aren’t quarantining alone. They may be with roommates, significant others, family, best friends, or pets. And you can see all of them on the video call, too, so you instantly get twice, triple, quadruple (who knows how many people they’re quarantined with) the socialization.

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Remember everyone is staying in

It can sometimes be hard to believe that everyone across the country—or at least those being responsible—is staying indoors right now. You may have some suspicion that everyone is actually out and about having fun without you. Having these regular video calls is a good way to remind yourself that, nope, nobody else is running around out there. Everyone his hunkering down. You’re in this together.

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A “visit” to their home

We’re probably all getting a little sick of our surroundings. It’s not like we get to see much beyond our homes and the grocery store right now. That’s part of what’s nice about going to someone else’s home—it’s a change of scenery. So video call a friend and ask for a virtual tour of her home.

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You need to laugh

We all desperately need to laugh right now. Laughing lowers blood pressure. It cheers us up. It has a way of making us feel that everything will be okay. You may not be able to find reasons to laugh right now, but a good friend who knows you well can over a video call.

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A look at the light at the end

It can be hard to remember that life will return to normal. It can be hard to remember what we’re doing this all for. Talking to friends reminds you that life is worth protecting and that’s just what we’re all doing right now by staying indoors.

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You’ll be positive for them

Even if you’ve been down in the dumps and struggling to have a good outlook on things, you’ll feel a responsibility to put on a happy face for your friends. You know they need it. So you’ll make yourself sound positive. But then, your brain will play a happy trick on you, and you’ll feel positive.

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You can share tips

You and your friends can swap tips too—all kinds of tips. You can share recipe ideas on what to do with the limited ingredients in the house. You can tell them fun games you’ve made up that have kept you entertained. You can tell them which parks and trails are the quietest for walks.

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We are social creatures

Humans are social by nature. We need to socialize to feel happy and stable. Science has even found that we suffer tremendously when our social bonds are threatened, as they are right now, during this social isolation. So we actually need, on a biological level, to see our friends every day.

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It will break you out of a funk

You need to break out of that funk. You know the one you’re in. You just sleep late, eat whatever, wear the same clothes as yesterday, and don’t talk to anybody. It’s easy to get into that cycle, where you forget the world exists. But speaking to friends can give you your spark back and really remind you who you are, outside of quarantine.

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A phone call isn’t the same

It has to be a video call. There’s something about seeing your friends. So much is communicated through body language and facial expressions that isn’t communicated through the voice and words. And a video call actually makes it feel like you’re socializing. You can even just keep each other company while you do chores around the house like that—as if you’re just hanging out.

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A text isn’t the same

It certainly can’t just be a text. We can hide so much of what’s going on with us when we text. We only give away portions of our feelings and experiences. You need to hear the person’s voice and see her face. You need to feel an obligation to sit up straight, smile, and be present. It’s an important part of our mental health.

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Maybe you need to have a breakdown

Hey, honestly, I think we all will have one (if not many) emotional breakdowns during this. How could we not? This experience is unprecedented. We’re worried about a lot of things. You can smother those emotions if you don’t talk to someone. But that loving face of your friend can bring it all out—which is good.

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Think of your old social life

Just think for a moment about how your life was before this pandemic. Think of the number of people you’d see. Just going to get your morning coffee, you’d be around 30 people, easily. Then more at the office. Then at the gym. Without realizing it, you had hundreds of humans around you every day. Going from hundreds to one or two can mess with your psyche. So video chat friends.

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