We are facing circumstances that we have not yet seen before. Health leaders and experts have advised Australians to limit social interaction, work from home if possible and avoid public gatherings and events. The virus may not affect your own health at all, but we all need to change our behaviour to protect the community as a whole. It isn’t about you or me. It’s much bigger than that.
As a result of these isolations and lifestyle changes, it is normal to feel uncomfortable with the turbulence. We are creatures of habit, we become efficient in routine and significant changes in our environment can cause some serious anxiety. Add to the mix that we have significantly reduced social interactions, so it’s natural for people to be feeling uncomfortable! Again, it is natural to feel uncomfortable during this challenging time! We’re social beings who thrive off interaction – it’s important to maintain this interaction!
Here are some tips to consider in order to maintain social connection:
Physical isolation doesn’t necessarily mean social isolation
- At the touch of a button we can connect with people around the world. Take the time to call your family and friends to maintain social interaction – we are all going through this together! Throw in a FaceTime to see their smile when they get a call from you.
- Use apps like Zoom and Skype to enable workplace collaboration. Allocate a Monday morning meeting where there is time dedicated to updating co-workers on how you are going, how you are feeling and take time to listen to their responses. We don’t know how long we will endure this challenging time. You may come to realise that you really miss hearing about Linda’s dog, Bella while you’re trying to make lunch. Maintaining social interactions may really improve morale, not just for you, but for your ‘Linda’.
- Take the time to call that person who you know will be struggling during this time. We all feel anxious and uncertain. Those around us who suffer from anxiety problems at the best of times may not be coping right now. Check in on them. Think about others struggling too – the friends who thrive off social interaction now forced to stay at home and minimise social contact. Two weeks at home is a long time to stare at your phone without anyone calling, so make sure you’re reaching out to them!
- Use technology to help you feel connected. Post pictures of last year’s European holiday on Instagram. Share some new music with friends on Spotify. Listen to trending podcasts. Maybe you’ll find that special someone on Tinder and spend two weeks getting to know them before asking them on a date.
Some useful apps to help:
- Be A Looper – Connect with 5 friends and update each other daily with how you’re feeling in a very simple and easy way. You may not feel you need it, but they might.
- WhatsApp or Messenger – Start a conversation to check in with a group of mates. Let them know how you’re feeling and hopefully they will follow suit. An easy way to check in with multiple people at once.
- FaceTime, Skype and Zoom – Spend time connecting with friends and family members over video. Enable social connection with them without the physical connection.
- ReachOut – An online platform full of resources to manage mental health and wellbeing for individuals who may be struggling, but also the people caring for them.
- Instagram – While social media can be a controversial tool, we can also use it as a support. Spend time exploring and connecting with like-minded people. It may be a food blogger, social activist, gym junkie or gaming expert! Build connections with people all over the world who have similar interests to you.
At The Banksia Project, we have reduced our face-to-face Growth Room meet-ups and encouraged ongoing communications over video and phone conferences. If you need a group of mates to talk to for any challenges you are facing, please reach out to our Program Director Jack Jones from The Banksia Project.