The holidays are here whether you like it or not. So, you better get used to it.
They will look a lot different for most. Gatherings with family and friends will be put on hold this year, as some projections indicate daily rates of COVID-19 infections may double by early December.
And while you may think the lack of connection may wear away at emotional health, its effects can go much further. Loneliness and isolation can play a sizeable role in physical health too.
To keep yourself healthy this year, consider the importance of reaching out to friends and family on social platforms like Zoom. Holiday drinks and dinner, dancing, and more can all keep you connected virtually to shed light on the season and bolster well-being.
A 2010 analysis published on PLOS Medicine found that loneliness and poor social relationships were as much of a mortality risk factor as smoking and a more significant risk factor than obesity.
Other studies have found happy marriages were better predictors of long-term physical health than cholesterol levels.
Of course, these new conditions may be putting a bit of a strain on that happy marriage. It’s not often you find a couple that signed up for a 24/7 arrangement.
If the pandemic has caused a strain on your relationship, you have some options. The first is to create space—and remember that if your partner asks for some, it doesn’t mean there is something wrong. People just need space. Consider going out for a drive, walk, or doing something independently that awards you both some much needed time.
Being proactive is essential to reaping the health benefits of a physical connection. Taking some time to call a friend or family member can benefit both of you. Further, booking virtual holiday get-togethers can give you something to look forward to.
All of your relationships and holiday plans may look different this year, but there is no need to abandon them. Fostering these connections can help benefit your heart and overall physical well-being.