While many of us have our physical health in mind right now, we often forget that our mental health can also suffer during this pandemic. Feelings of isolation and lack of socialization can harm our emotional wellbeing, but how do we reconcile that with the risk of meeting with friends?

If meeting in person isn’t necessary for you, virtual hangouts and dates have become immensely popular. With tools like Zoom and NetflixParty, couples and friends have started up different online activities to stay engaged while staying entirely safe. Some suggestions include book clubs, movie watching parties, and shared meals.

Some people prefer to meet and interact in person. If this is the case with you and your friends, it is important to weigh some risk factors. First, consider if anyone in the group or those they live with have a higher risk, such as an autoimmune disease. Also, take into account the activities you want to plan for. Outdoors events are safer, as are gatherings with fewer people that last shorter amounts of time. Of course, everyone must wear there mask as much as possible when together.

Socially distanced walking outside with masks is a low-risk way of interacting while still getting that in-person interactivity. You can catch up while also getting active, which is a challenge for many of us right now. Another great option is getting together in a park. In these public spaces, you can either have a relaxing chat or a bring-your-own-lunch picnic.

Regardless of how you choose to socialize during the pandemic, it is essential to adopt a harm-reduction philosophy. Balancing emotional wellbeing and your physical health is very difficult right now. You and those close to you can come up with a plan to best keep up with each other in a way that allows everyone to feel both safe and comfortable.

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