Coronavirus has really thrown us all a curveball.
Instead of the daily catch-up with our gym buddies or our fortnightly dinner with friends, we’ve had to find ways to connect from a distance – whether that’s via the good old telephone or a more modern method.
Although we can’t be physically near some of our friends, family and workmates at the moment, it’s still important for your own personal wellbeing to stay socially connected.
Managing your mental health
We’ve been “social distancing” for a few weeks now – and it’s affecting everyone differently.
If you’re more of a face-to-face person who isn’t accustomed to connecting through tech, your mental health might be slipping without you noticing just yet.
Simply tuning in to what’s on TV can be overwhelming. Not only is the news jam-packed with pandemic content, so are all the advertisements in between. We’re all worried at the moment, but if you’re a person that struggles with anxiety, staying home with your TV for company isn’t a great recipe.
Instead of binging on the news, make time for the important people in your life – or reach out to someone else who might like to hear from you, like someone living in an aged care or disability home.
» Our Brightwater Buddies program aims to improve the social wellbeing of people living in a care home. Whether you like to chat on the phone or prefer the old-fashioned art of letter writing, you can make a difference to someone's day. Click here to register.
Creative ways to stay connected
Most of us are familiar with text messages, emails and phone calls – but there are plenty other personal ways you can keep in touch!
Here are some ideas for those keen to embrace today’s technology:
- Get on a video call: Apps like Houseparty have really taken off lately. You can link up with friends individually or in a bigger group of 7 – you can even play games in the app! Other video calling options include Skype, Zoom and FaceTime if you’re an Apple user.
- Have a Netflix party: Netflix have recently released functionality that allows you to synchronise playback of a movie and have a group chat while you’re at it. BYO popcorn!
- Leave a voice note: Apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram will let you record a quick voice note that you can leave your loved ones at a time that suits you. This is a great option if you’re a spontaneous outburst type of person!
- Join an online group or forum: Platforms like Facebook, Reddit and other niche websites are great places to link up with like-minded people.
- Get into online gaming: Board games with people you don’t live with might be out the door, but you can definitely still socialise through games. Websites like Meetup can help you make the connection.
- Dive into digital learning: What better time to learn something new? There are plenty of courses you can do online – and they’re a great way to meet people and collaborate, too.
And here are some more traditional, tech-free ideas:
- Write a letter or postcard: The postman is still out there doing his thing, so make use of him by writing letters or postcards to your loved ones. There’s nothing more personal than the handwritten word!
- Speak in pictures: There’s a lot that can be said without using words. If you’re a creative type or just want to give it a go, why not get artsy with pencil, paint, crayon or collage?
- Drop off a care package: As long as you’re maintaining social distance, there’s no reason you can’t drop off items to your loved ones – you could even include conversation starters like old photos! (Note: considering the virus can survive on surfaces, it would be wise to wipe down any packages you receive with disinfectant where possible or leave untouched for 24 hours before opening.)
- Start something on your street: Many neighbourhoods have started sing-alongs, daily meet-ups from a distance and even scavenger hunts during the pandemic. How cute!