How to Weather Social Isolation

Social distancing has become the new normal, with one-third of Americans now under stay-at-home orders due to the coronavirus pandemic, but experts say that level of isolation can be hard on your health.

"We don't know for sure what the long-term health outcomes of widespread forced social isolation will be, but given what we know about the effects of social isolation and stress on physical and mental health, there is reason to be concerned," said Tess Thompson, a research assistant professor at Washington University in St. Louis.

The author of a recent study on social isolation and health, Thompson offered some coping tips.

Maintain social connection as much as possible during this time through technology and social media. There are various ways to connect online with friends, and some gym coaches and music teachers are offering online sessions.

Thompson said there's some evidence that active social media use -- such as sharing content or commenting on social media posts -- may be better for mental health than passive social media use, such as scrolling through newsfeeds.

If you're housebound with others, do fun activities together instead of all retreating behind separate electronic screens. Play board games, read books aloud, play music together, go for walks, eat dinner together or cuddle your pets, Thompson suggested in a university news release.

If you're separated from older loved ones, be sure to connect with them through whatever medium they prefer. Have children write letters to grandparents or chat with them online or over the phone. Email or text older love ones updates and let them know they can contact you if they're lonely or need anything.

Get outside. Most stay-at-home advisories allow for you to go for walks in parks or in your neighborhood. You can still smile and say "hi" to people while maintaining a safe distance. If you run into your neighbors, ask if they need anything.

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Tuesday:

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Wednesday:

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Thursday:

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Friday:

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Saturday:

Sick visits by on-call physician

Sunday:

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Meet Our Staff

  • Meredith Saillant,
    MD
    Pediatrician

    Dr. Saillant completed undergraduate and graduate degrees at Brown University and  The University of Michigan, respectively, before graduating from Wayne State University School of Medicine in 2000.  She completed her pediatric residency in 2003 training at Children's Hospital Boston and Boston Medical Center through the Boston Combined Residency Program in Pediatrics.  She founded the town-wide middle school baseline concussion screening program in conjunction with the Town of Brookline in 2012 and has served as a consultant to the Pediatric Physicians Organization at Children's Hospital on their concussion treatment protocol. She is on the board of the Massachusetts Concussion Management Coalition. She joined the practice in 2003.

  • Rebecca Horne,
    MD
    Pediatrician

    Dr. Horne graduated from Brown University and received her MD from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.  Before going to medical school, she spent a year in Eritrea working in HIV/AIDS awareness and a year working at Planned Parenthood's public outreach department.  Dr. Horne completed her pediatric residency in the Boston Combined Residency Program at Boston Children's Hospital and Boston Medical Center.  She spent several years at Boston Children's Hospital providing care for patients in the Young Parents Program.  She joined the practice in 2010.

  • Julie Dollinger, MD
    Pediatrician

    Dr. Dollinger graduated from Princeton University and Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and also holds a Master's degree in pharmacology from New York University.  She completed her pediatric training at Boston Children's Hospital, and has practiced general pediatrics in the greater Boston area for over 20 years.  Dr. Dollinger's areas of interests include developmental-behavioral pediatrics, adolescent medicine, natural/holistic medicine, and adoption. Dr. Dollinger has worked in the Indian Health Service in Chinle, AZ and Wolf Point, MT; she has travelled on medical missions to Cuba and Dneprepotrovsk, Ukraine.  Locally, she is a longtime member of the Maimonides Society (the medical philanthropic arm of Boston Combined Jewish Philanthropies) and has been medical consultant to several area preschools and private schools.  She also serves as Director of the Community Pediatrics Program at Boston Childrens Hospital.She joined the practice in 2017

  • Shana Zandman, MD
    Pediatrician

    Dr. Zandman graduated from Cornell University where she studied Human Biology and Development.  She received her MD from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in Manhattan and completed her pediatric residency at the Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center.  Dr. Zandman completed one year as Chief Resident at Floating Hospital and then worked for two years in a busy pediatric private practice in Barrington, Rhode Island prior to joining the practice in 2014.  She enjoys spending time with her husband and two young girls, cooking and international travel.