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The Social Network

February 28, 2021 Posted in: Health & Wellness

Try to stay connected, despite the pandemic.

For many people, living through the COVID-19 pandemic means putting your social life on hold. Even if you can’t get together like before, it’s still possible — and important — to stay in touch with your friends.

“The link between social isolation and mortality appears similar in magnitude to well-known public health concerns like obesity and smoking,” said Brian Kelty, MD, a psychiatrist at CHI Saint Joseph Health – Behavioral Medicine. “While the health effects of isolating during this pandemic will take more time to understand completely, it has undoubtedly taken a toll already.”

Dr. Kelty said a lack of social contact can cause people to slip back into unhealthy habits.

“We typically lean on our social supports to help get through difficult times, but right now, we can’t do that easily,” Dr. Kelty said. “Still, any sort of communication is more beneficial than none at all, even a simple phone call.”

If you should choose to socialize in person, Dr. Kelty said to follow the guidance of public health officials, pay attention to the level of community spread in your area and consider your household’s vulnerability to the virus versus the risk of the activity.

A version of this article originally appeared in the Winter 2021 edition of Spirit of Health. For more stories like this one, subscribe to Spirit of Health magazine today.

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