Socializing used to be easy. All you had to do was lean out your window, give someone a call, stroll down the street, or go to the movie theater. And if you were looking for more intensive forms of socialization, all you had to do was go to a concert or get on an airplane. Today, it’s uncertain as to what socialization will look like going forward.
However, during the lengthy time of coronavirus social isolation, many people turned to Zoom. Even if life largely goes back to ‘normal’, many employers are taking full advantage of the ‘remote work’ experiment that many white-collar employers have engaged in over these past two months. That means that like it or not, video conferencing platforms have become the way of the future. However, if you’re not familiar with video conferencing platforms, it might be difficult to see the point. What benefits do video conferencing have? Everyone’s talking about using Zoom these days, but why? We all know about combating social isolationism at this point, and different tips and tricks work well for different people. However, it’s worthwhile to know exactly what Zoom is combating.
Everyone has experienced loneliness, but there’s a wild difference between loneliness and social isolationism (and social isolationism depression). According to multiple experts, isolationism increases the risk of health issues. “According to a meta-analysis co-authored by Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Ph.D., a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Brigham Young University, lack of social connection heightens health risks as much as smoking 15 cigarettes a day or having alcohol use disorder. She’s also found that loneliness and social isolation are twice as harmful to physical and mental health as obesity.”
When you can’t physically connect with others, it becomes an issue. And even when we’re not social distancing, this lack of social connection is already creating problems. Over a quarter of Americans live alone, and over half of Americans are unmarried. This type of data is unprecedented since recordkeeping began, which means more Americans than ever before are isolating from each other. In some communities, the number of multi-generational homes is spiking, but that’s not true everywhere. For years even before social distancing began, Americans were increasingly isolated. That leads to the health issues discussed by Holt-Lunstad.
During times of social isolationism, it’s incredibly difficult to stay connected to others. Hearing someone’s voice over the phone is one thing. And for years, that was the only way to connect without letters or similar forms of written communication. But it’s not the same as seeing someone’s face. That’s particularly true if you’re trying to connect with grandchildren. They grow up so fast, and seeing them once at Thanksgiving is no way to keep connected.
That’s why Zoom has been so important during times of social distancing. Even if you aren’t under social distancing orders, and just want to keep connected with friends or family members, it’s a great way to do it. Zoom allows you to connect face-to-face with family members, something that technology in previous eras was unable to dream of.
Zoom isn’t the perfect replacement for in-person contact (as there have been privacy concerns). But it can help mitigate the health issues that are caused by isolation. And, in times where spreading germs is incredibly easy and could be life-threatening, it helps facilitate social connection without the potential for contracting even more health issues. And, with a little creativity, Zoom can help replace some of the structure in your social life that you might be missing right now. Want to set up a cocktail night with some of your best friends? Want to schedule a chat on the weekend with your grandkids? You can set a recurring meeting invite that happens every single week. If you are looking for more information, we offer 5 Tips to Staying Safe with Zoom!
Mitigating the potential health crises that can be caused by social isolation is important. Not only will actively trying to connect provide a boost to your social life, but it will also help your mood and physical health, too.