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Social Distancing and Emotional Balance

Updated: May 8, 2023

By: Kimberly Harrison, Ph.D Right now we all have the gift of time. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, our busy world has pressed “pause." But staying emotionally healthy and connected to others during times of social distancing requires dusting off some old-fashioned skills.

Back in “the olden days” families were snowed in or otherwise separated from society for months at a time. What did they do? In short, they leveraged an abundance of time to strengthen their relationships, read, write, play music and create. They did not spend all day watching the news and/or staying online. We can all learn from this to develop simple things to maximize the down-time we are all faced with. Here’s a simple plan:

1. Have everyone in the family make a daily schedule based on balanced use of time.

Categories to make sure to include are: Physical Activity, Intellectual Activity (reading, master class, etc), Creative Activities/Hobbies, Conversations with Others (not game-based), Organization/Project. Here are some specific suggestions:

  • This is a great time to work on a hobby or creative project that you normally don’t have time for. Perhaps you can work on a handmade holiday gift or birthday gift for a friend or loved one that you normally would not have time to make. Have their picture out while working on it, and spend some extra time reflecting on how important they are to you. This creates a deep sense of emotional connectedness.

  • Create competitions for the best closet-cleaning or bookshelf reorganization. Share your competition with other families through FaceTime or video.

  • Have a “topic of the day” conversation with friends and family that is not COVID-19 related.

  • Factor in things like electronics and social media after you plan for everything else.

2. Start working the plan and be consistent with following your schedule.

With a little planning, we can be more deeply connected than ever before.



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