As more and more of us are self-isolating and social distancing due to COVID-19, how do we stave off loneliness and keep connected?
We know that loneliness and lack of social contact can have significant impacts on our mental and physical health so it’s important that we all look out for one another. Here are some tips that might help:
Make time to chat
Video call, either over Facetime, Skype or even messaging apps, can help bridge the isolation. For some of the older members of our community, or those who don’t have access to technology, even just a phone call can help. If there is someone who the technology but doesn’t know how to use it, talking them through it could help them stay connected.
Get creative with social media
There are many examples of people’s ingenuity in using social media to connect while in quarantine. Around the world, young people have been having parties, dancing in their own living rooms while video calling their friends. Through a Facebook group called Sofa Shakespeare, strangers are filming a minute of a Shakespeare play on their phones and stitching it all together to make a video of plays like Romeo and Juliet. The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra has even livestreamed one of their concerts over YouTube.
Find alternatives for physical touch
For those of us who don’t live with others, physical contact might be something we miss. Things like heavy, or specially made weighted, blankets and short, hot showers may help with the sensation of touch.
Share what you have
Many of us may have elderly neighbours or family members, or other marginalised people in our communities, who might be struggling to find the things they need. Offer to do a shop for them, or share some of your groceries if you can. If people are put into quarantine, you could also organise meals through takethemameal.com or through delivery apps.
We have all been encouraged to practice social distancing and it is our responsibility to do so for the health of those who are vulnerable in our community, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t still connect.
We know that in difficult times, coming together helps us feel less alone. Although the case of COVID-19 is very different from the bushfire crisis that affected communities throughout the country not so long ago, we know that we all have the capacity to reach out, take care of each other and help each other through this.