There’s a reason we keep hearing how important it is to remain social despite social distancing. Ultimately, us humans are just two-legged pack animals who rely on our groups, clubs, friendship circles and family ties – our communities. In psychology, our communities, friends and family are referred to as ‘protective factors.’ That is, elements of our lives that give us meaning and support our purpose.
So, as pieces of a communal puzzle, how do humans cope when we can’t be physically near our protective factors? The best thing we can do as fellow beings is nourish our relationships and stay virtually connected to as many people as possible in these unprecedented times.
Alone, but not lonely.
Even before COVID-19 changed the ways we interact, research shows one in three adults report feelings of loneliness. With added physical distancing, how can we prevent this statistic from rising? Well, now that we’re only commuting from our beds to our living rooms, and in many cases not working at all, it’s the perfect time to make time for the people that matter. Seeing your loved ones is just a FaceTime call away! Another way to help feel connected is checking out #InThisTogether – an initiative created by a collective of mental health forums. Head to Health spokesperson says its aim is to open up a “national conversation that everyone can join in on, sharing practical tips online to support the mental health and wellbeing of Australians during COVID-19.” At this time, we need each other more than ever, even if just to ask, “how are you?” and check-in with those around you.
Social distancing and the elderly.
Those in greatest need of companionship – the elderly – are unfortunately most at risk if exposed to COVID-19. This means physical isolation is a must. Since 57% of Australians over the age of 69 report little to no digital literacy, it’s extra important to help the older members of our society be able to connect virtually. If you have an older relative, neighbour or friend who could use some help getting established online to stay connected with loved ones, check out eSafety’s Be Connected website.
Social distancing? We prefer virtual socialising.
We know we should be texting and video calling each other. We know we should be checking-in as much as possible. But what happens when the conversation’s dried up?
Getting creative with how we keep in touch without touching is key to maintaining stimulating and meaningful connection. So, if your conversations are starting to sound a bit like this;
“What did you get up to today?”
“I was at home, you?”
*Queue the crickets;
Why not try the following ideas to spice things up?
Start a book club – dedicate a portion of each day to getting through the same book, then discuss over a group video chat (wine optional).
Cook together – pick a recipe as a pair or group, and report back on how each one of you goes with it. You could try cooking together over FaceTime!
Download a connectivity app – apps like House Party, with games you can play at a distance over video chat, give you and your friends something to actively do together.
Netflix and e-chill – an additional chrome plugin for Netflix has also been released: Netflix Party. Have a movie night with your pals by streaming a classic, and get a group chat happening so you can maintain running banter throughout the shared experience.
It’s always essential to lift each other up and feel connected, but it’s more important right now than ever before.
If you’re a business looking to stay connected with your clients, reach out to The Being Group. Because we’re better together.