What we need to flatten the curve is physical distancing. What we need for our mental health is distant socializing. Stanford psychologist Jamil Zaki explains:
We should think of this time as “physical distancing” to emphasize that we can remain socially connected even while being apart. In fact, I encourage all of us to practice “distant socializing.” Ironically, the same technologies we often blame for tearing apart our social fabric might be our best chance, now, of keeping it together. […]
FaceTime, Zoom and other tools like these are our friends right now. We know to use these tools for meetings and teaching but why stop there? In my opinion, we should also use them for much less formal interactions – digital “hanging out.” When we meet in person, we don’t expect every minute to be productive or scintillating. We kibitz, dawdle and goof off, and those “in-between moments” are vital to a sense of connection. Find ways to replicate them online.