For many, the holiday season may look quite different this year. Whether it is a change in the number of guests, or maybe choosing not to travel, it is still incredibly important to stay connected to loved ones.
Staying connected refers to the strong sense of belonging one feels when surrounded by close friends and family.
How social relationships affect our health
This sense of belonging has been shown to improve one’s health through its impact on the immune system which increases longevity and our ability to regulate neuroendocrine, metabolic, and cardiovascular processes as well as hormone regulation.(1)
For example, social connection decreases the body’s secretion of the cortisol hormone, also known as the stress hormone. Too much cortisol can cause issues such as weight gain, high blood pressure, and changes in muscle strength, mood, and skin.(2)
Although, there are times when the business of preparing to host family and friends (or the interactions with family and friends themselves) may add extra stress to the holiday season. It is important to remember that quality relationships and surrounding yourself with people who care about you, has been shown to improve one’s health and lower disease risk.
Here are a couple of ideas to help you stay connected while social distancing. (3)
- Use virtual platforms such as Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, etc.
- Call family and friends
- Watch movies or other events together. For example, Netflix Party allows its users to watch the same program from different locations
- Reach out to loved ones on social media or other platforms
- Play online games together
- Create a group chat
Reaching out to loved ones goes a long way
It’s helpful to recognize that we don’t always know what others are going through.
Feeling down at holiday time is common in the best of years, let alone in 2020. Everyone benefits from staying connected and engaged with loved-ones in whatever way works for you, your friends, and your family. Reaching out to others even if it’s to say “I miss you!” or “Let’s connect!” can make all the difference in someone’s day.
Valley Schools wishes everyone a connected and healthy holiday season! For more information on the importance of human connection, visit myvalleyschools.org.
1 – Christina O. Holliday (2005) The Human Connection, The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 79:1, 21-23, DOI: 10.3200/TCHS.79.1.21-23
2 – “Social Connection Definition: What Is Social Connection.” Greater Good, greatergood.berkeley.edu/topic/social_connection/definition.
3 – Temple Health. “5 Tips for Staying Connected While Social Distancing.” Temple Health, www.templehealth.org/about/blog/5-tips-staying-connected-while-social-distancing.