Resource Kit

Overcoming Loneliness in a Time of Social Distancing

BU Logo
BetterUp Studios

7 min

Woman Looking in Mailbox
This resource kit was hand-selected by researchers at BetterUp to help our members live their lives with clarity, purpose, and passion during challenging times.

Humans are social creatures. And in challenging times like the COVID-19 crisis, it’s more important than ever that we come together to support each other. But disruptions to our social fabric - such as social distancing and remote work - have resulted in an unusual degree of physical separation and a high potential for elevated feelings of loneliness.

The situation demands initiative and creativity to find solutions that help us feel connected outside of our own households, while also staying safe. Already, we’ve seen a proliferation of social video conference calls, community online events, and livestream workout classes.

Being connected to others improves our sense of well-being and happiness, buffers us against stress, and dampens our body’s negative response of inflammation. Research shows that there are a wide range of things we can each do to feel more connected, happy, healthy and productive during this time.

Together, we can build stronger bonds, support each other, and create joyful moments. In this resource kit, you will learn how to:

  • Evaluate what kind of interactions are most valuable to your well-being
  • Overcome obstacles such as feelings of anxiety or lack of physical presence
  • Help others through generosity and creative problem solving
  • Ask for help when you’re feeling overwhelmed

You’ll also walk away having created a personal action plan to feel connected and lean into your relationships.

Here are 3 goals that we recommend to build your sense of connection:


Step 1: Learn the benefits of social connection

Do you often feel close or connected to others? These resources and activities will help you understand the importance of social connection, including the benefits to our mental and physical health, and our work performance.

In this work, try reminding yourself: “I am feeling and healing.”


Step 2: Practice methods to overcome feelings of isolation

Let’s be honest: Pandemics are not ideal for building and maintaining social connections. These resources and activities will help you overcome some of the challenges you may be encountering. By focusing on your values, building empathy, providing support to others, asking for help, and setting aside time for relationship building, you can build stronger bonds, even when physically apart.

Reduce feelings of social anxiety
- How to combat insecurity and your inner critic: (3 min)
- How to overcome the initial awkwardness of connection and build rewarding relationships: (4 min)
- Manage stress by identifying what is most important to you: (3 min)
- Five reasons why asking for help can strengthen your relationships: (4 min)

Improve your relationships through empathy
- Learn how to create genuine connections with anyone: (6 min)
- Build stronger bonds with people, and decrease stress in the process: (6 min)
- Learn the difference between empathy and sympathy for others: (3 min)
- How to build your capacity for empathy and go beyond “nice”: (37 min)

Look outwards and pay attention to others’ needs
- Learn how helping others enables you to boost your well-being: (5 min)
- Get inspired by learning creative ways to be of service others: (15 min)

Avoid miscommunication
- Learn how miscommunication happens and how to minimize frustration: (4 min)
- Manage and reduce miscommunication resulting from virtual communication: (6 min)
- Learn communication techniques to keep your remote team connected and aligned: (24 min)

Create opportunities to connect
- How to stay connected while social distancing: (18 min)
- Working from home and staying connected: (4 min)


Step 3: Create a personalized connection plan for COVID-19

Are you ready to hone your skills? These activities will help create a roadmap to build strong and more authentic bonds during these stressful times.

BetterUp Studios
BetterUp Studios creates and curates research-backed content, activities, and tools to help people everywhere pursue their lives with greater clarity, purpose, and passion.

Recommended Resources

Card image cap

The Guide to Optimism

In this BetterUp guide, discover the benefits of an optimistic mindset and how to increase your own positivity.

10 min

Card image cap

The Guide to Energy

It is important to remember to fill up your personal energy tank. In this guide, learn how how to maximize your energy so you can avoid burnout and improve your relationships.

3 min