Who can help us keep smiling and keep shining? “That’s what friends are for,” sings Dionne Warwick. And she’s right. Establishing friendships has been known to improve mental health, reduce stress, relieve anxiety, and reduce the risk of depression

During this time of social distancing and limited contact, it’s more important than ever to reach out to friends for support and share with them your appreciation. Here are three things you can do right now to show appreciation for your friends and keep your relationships alive.

1. Thank Them

Whether you use Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, social media is the perfect place to post an old picture of you and your bestie and publicly thank them for their friendship. Your friend will love it! 

Share your favorite memory, tell the world why you love them, or simply say thanks. For those who aren’t familiar with shout outs on social media, these tips will help you compose the perfect friend-appreciation post. 

2. Call Them

Studies show that even virtual communication with friends reduces stress and improves mental health. Even a Zoom call “can make you feel connected and bonded, and that releases oxytocin, which makes us feel good,” explains science journalist Lydia Denworth.

Text messaging is fine, but to really maintain a valued friendship, pick up the phone and give them a call. You’ll feel better, and so will your best buddy. 

4. Plan a Virtual Friend Date

If you are going stir-crazy during quarantine, chances are that your friends are as well. Why not invite them to a virtual friends night out? Arrange for your favorite dinner to be delivered from the same restaurant, upload the same movie, make sure everyone is sitting in their movie-watching spot in their home, fire up a Zoom video meeting, and roll film! 

During these uncertain times, we all can get by with a little help from our friends. By expressing appreciation for your friends and celebrating those friendships with regular gatherings, your besties will be a positive influence on your life for many years to come.