With social distancing and other protective measures in place because of COVID-19, it’s hard to know how to help our friends and loved ones. Yet in these uncertain times, it’s even more important to connect with people.

Combat veterans are more at risk for post-traumatic stress (PTS), depression and anxiety—all of which are compounded by social isolation. To help, we’ve compiled nine different ways to connect with veterans and other people in your life.

  1. Phone. It seems a little old-fashioned, but the telephone still works great to connect with others. Even if they don’t pick up, leave a message so they can listen later.
  2. Text messages. There’s no easier way to reach out to someone than with a simple text message. It doesn’t have to be long. Try something simple like, “Thinking of you and wanted to check in.” Or share a funny meme or photo that you know they’ll appreciate.
  3. Email. Another slightly old-fashioned method of communication that’s still effective is email. Share a funny story or a cheerful news story. Or, better yet, send an old photo that sparks good memories.
  4. Video chat. Facetime, Zoom, Google Hangouts – there are lots of ways to connect with a group of people in a video chat. Make it simple. Start a video chat while you eat lunch or watch a show together.
  5. Social media. Stop by someone’s Facebook page, Instagram or Twitter feed to make a cheerful comment. Again, it doesn’t have to be a long message. Or tag them on a funny picture or link. (Need a suggestion? Check out SomeGoodNews on YouTube.)
  6. Mail. For the cost of a stamp, you can make it worth going to the mailbox. You can even buy stamps online that support PTS treatment on the USPS website. If you don’t have a card or envelope on hand, make a simple postcard with stiff paper. (See the official postcard specs here.)
  7. Voice and video messages. Hate typing? It’s easy to make a quick recording to text to friends or send via an app like WhatsApp. They can listen and respond whenever it’s convenient.
  8. StoryCorps. This program gives people of all backgrounds the opportunity to record meaningful conversations. Use the StoryCorps App to invite someone and record your conversation.
  9. Online games. Words with Friends, Fortnite, Uno and more – you’ve got lots of options for a virtual game party. Check out these suggestions to get started.

Social distancing should not mean social isolation. Use one of these creative ways to stay connected. Have other ideas? Leave a comment below.