Connections from a Distance

March 25, 2020

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a challenge for everyone. However, we can do our part to assist medical professionals (who are working hard to fight COVID-19 for everyone) and at-risk populations by staying at home and practicing social distancing

While this may seem daunting, this is a good time to be mindful of the tensions in our bodies and minds. We should try to reflect and be present in a rare moment in which the world is forcing us to slow down. Though we may be physically distant from friends and family, we can still maintain social connection.

Tips for staying connected while practicing social distancing:

New media technology can be a useful tool to combat loneliness, keep your spirit up and to stay connected with friends and family 

  1. Foster connections in the household
    It is difficult to be confined to our homes all day. Our daily routines have completely halted, including our social plans. Of course, it is easy to think about what we are missing out on. On the other hand, we can turn our energy to connect with those experiencing social distancing with us, whether it’s your family members or roommates.

  2. Check-in and talk to one friend every day
    We can minimize emotional isolation by maintaining our social circles virtually. This is the best time to call up that friend that you haven’t checked on in a while and tell them how much you appreciate them.

  3. Participate in an online community
    Participating in online communities to build support networks and solidarity can be a good way to connect with people online. By doing community outreach via Facebook groups, virtual workout sessions (through Youtube, Fitness/yoga Instagram accounts), study groups, and online forums for meals, you can practice social distancing while having an adjusted daily routine.

  4. Entertainment through digital media
    As we practice social distancing, there is no better time to appreciate artwork, music, and other forms of digital entertainment available to us.

    • Podcasts are a great way to keep your mind occupied while doing some light cleaning in your living space. This is also an opportunity to explore Netflix and other online tv-series and movies.

    • Google Chrome has an extension called Netflix Party that allows people to watch and sync Netflix shows. Kast, is another co-video watching platform, good for hosting watch parties or for screen sharing with friends and family.

  5. Hosting virtual food get-togethers
    Food is a way to bring friends and family together. FaceTime, Zoom and other online video chatting applications can bridge our distance beyond meetings and classes. At this time, we can use them to cook and eat together.

  6. Children’s corner
    Virtual playdates can be a good way for your children to have online ‘hangouts’ with their friends. Alternatively, you could have digital bedtime stories. Considering that a parent, legal guardian, or relative is around, digital play dates and stories could ease the stress of balancing work and childcare.

Useful resources:

  • BC COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool
    If you’re developing symptoms, please use this tool developed by BC Ministry of Health

    • Non-medical information about COVID-19 is available 7:30am-8pm, 7 days a week at 1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319).

    • Also see the BC Centres for Disease Control’s Common Questions thread. 

  • COVID-19 Coming Together (Vancouver) is a Facebook group where Vancouverites are coming together as a local community network to help one another out with general information, and connect people for grocery shopping needs. This is of course, not the only support group coming together in solidarity this trying time in Vancouver, there are many virtual communities coming together on Facebook and other social media platforms.

  • Master thread for food options
    If you do not have access to a kitchen, or can’t do grocery shopping,  you can still help local businesses that are providing delivery services while maintaining excellent hygiene practices.

In a time of uncertainty, we as a community can come together by practicing social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. As you try to stay occupied and maintain normalcy using these tips, we hope that our communities are taking health precautions seriously. As a young group of researchers at the SFU Centre for Comparative Muslim Studies, we are urging you to stay home. We are not less susceptible to being infected by the virus. A report from the United State’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated that young people are still likely to be hospitalized due to the viral infection. Even then, we should care for others around us. So, don’t forget to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, and wash them as frequently as possible (here’s the science behind it)! Lastly, avoid touching your face, eye, nose, and ears! Your actions are crucial to prevent the spread of the virus. We are all in this together. 

Please stay tuned for more blog posts!



Arthur Liao, CCMS Research Assistant


Yara Younis, CCMS Research Assistant