It’s certainly not an overstatement to say that the coronavirus crisis has had profound effects on people’s everyday lives. With more and more countries electing to go into lockdown, citizens of all nations are now being told to stay indoors and practice social distancing. It’s a lot to process; many of us are now tasked with finding ways to stay socially connected despite being physically apart from friends and family members.
Thankfully, the true value of the internet as a tool for social connection is appreciated now more than ever. There are countless tools and apps available to keep us virtually connected to the people we care about. As the stress and worry of the pandemic takes its toll, it’s important to remember that we are not really alone in these challenging times, despite the feelings of isolation that come with quarantine. The lockdown will come to an end one day, but until it does, we can stay close and connected in spirit, even in the face of worry and uncertainty. Here are a few tips for making it work.
Know that you are not alone
We are all part of a bigger community, whether we’re used to thinking of ourselves that way or not. The great thing about being in this crisis together is the reassurance that comes with knowing that you can ask for help if necessary, and that you can just as easily give it to someone in need. Helping Hands, who have been in the caring industry for more than 3 decades, suggest that “As a community, we can help our neighbours, friends and loved ones who will need additional support to ensure they have everything they need at home.” Friendly and supportive gestures make everyone feel good. Strike up a conversation, pick up the phone or send a friendly email.
Nothing combats feelings of isolation quite like joining in on group efforts. While there is a lot of fear and pessimism in the world right now, there is also a lot of good being done. There are several initiatives that you may enjoy taking part in – such as Clap for our Carers every Thursday at 8pm. People all across the country are coming together to show their pride and support for NHS workers by clapping, cheering, or even banging on pots and pans to show their appreciation. Even as we remain physically distanced, it can be incredibly encouraging to know that others are there and concerned, and that we can always reach out help one another when it counts.
Rethink the way you use the internet
Many of us are beginning to realise how fortunate we are to have the internet, and the opportunities it now offers for keeping connected, running our businesses, and accessing quality information. However, in the era of fake news and depressing social media content, it’s also a key time to re-evaluate our internet habits and commit to using this tool wisely.
Are you making the best of the internet to really enrich your life during lockdown? For your mental and physical health, it’s a good idea to limit screen time and be discerning – avoid mindless scrolling or seeking online distractions when you’re bored. Try using social media to spread positivity and keep in touch with friends and acquaintances. Read reputable news sites and step away if you find yourself getting too stressed. WhatsApp, Zoom and Skype are great tools for recreating meetings and catch-ups with friends, but why not try out online gaming platforms, quiz nights, Skype group hangouts, online music concerts, a virtual choir or even a “Netflix party”? Granted, it’s not quite the same as face-to-face contact, but you might enjoy some of these activities so much that you stick with them even after lockdown is lifted.
Spare a thought for those older folks who are not only more vulnerable and at risk when it comes to the virus, but who may also feel more isolated and be less tech-savvy in general. Consider it a good deed to spend some time with the elders in your life, and make sure they’re up to date, feeling connected on chat platforms, and know where to get trustworthy news online.
There’s no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic has put new and at times very difficult pressures on us all. Thankfully, we have access to technology that can instantly help us connect, even as we keep safe in our own homes during lockdown. All it takes is some flexibility and a willingness to reach out and connect.