If you’re stumped on how to stay connected during the pandemic, you’re not alone. No one could have predicted the impact of the 2020 COVID-19 global pandemic. And we definitely didn’t expect the isolation, loneliness, and sense of disconnection that would come with it. While we’re taking steps towards normalcy every day, we’re not out of the woods just yet. Here in Canada, many cities are still in partial or full lockdown — limiting our in-person time and social interaction. While this is necessary for public health in order to limit transmission of the virus, many are finding the lack of person-to-person contact understandably tough. After all, humans are social beings, and close relationships are essential to positive mental health. So how can we maintain them while staying physically apart?
Check in with your network
Many tend to isolate themselves when dealing with stress and anxiety. However hard it may be, it’s recommended to do the exact opposite and reach out for help, support, or just someone to chat with. Self-isolation during stressful times can lead to a cycle of rumination and negative thoughts, resulting in even more stress and anxiety. Though it may feel uncomfortable to ask for help, know that it’s one of the best ways to break the cycle and get into a new pattern of thinking. Plus, catching up to those we feel closest to can lift our moods and give us a mental break from stressors.
If you’re not ready to open up to friends or family, a counsellor can be a helpful outlet to help you unpack heavy thoughts and feelings. They’re trained to guide you through stressful times, help you develop better coping tools, and get you on track for better days.
Make time for connection
As much as video calls may sound overdone at this stage in the pandemic, they’re the best and safest way to get that all-important facetime with the people you love. It’s quick, easy to connect, and convenient for both sides. And though we can’t see all of their body language through a screen, a little is better than none at all. Seeing another person’s face light up and react with true emotion can help us feel closer and more connected to one another. So go head, pick up the phone or sit at your computer and give someone you love a call.
Look for moments of connection outside
While many places are still in lockdown, we still have moments when we can leave our homes and stretch our legs — like going on a walk or to the grocery store. When you do leave the house, look for moments of connection in the outside world. On your walks, give someone a head nod or a wave from a distance. Don’t pass up the opportunity to chit chat with your cashier at the grocery store. Even going to a park with lots of open space and other people present can make us feel more involved in the community. Remember, almost everyone is feeling isolated during this time. So your smile, wave, or small talk can make a huge impact on someone else’s day and give them the energy to keep going. We’re all in the same boat. Let’s make the waters smoother for each other.
Start hobbies, and do it with a virtual group
Starting a new hobby is one of the best ways to help us stay occupied. They can encourage us to develop a new skill, step out of our comfort zones, and learn something entirely new. They can even get you into a sense of flow. The best part is, they can almost always be done with others. Which is a way to keep us connected to friends, family, or acquaintances over a common interest. And most hobbies can take place at a distance over a phone or video call. Here are a few popular ones you can try today:
- Running club: Get a group of friends together and set distance or timed goals daily or weekly runs. Run on your own time, and check in at the end of the week to see how everyone did. Support each other through your goals, and set new goals to keep improving.
- Book Club: Vote on your group’s book of choice, then set page goals for every week. Choose a virtual platform, like a Facebook group, to post your thoughts and get rich discussions going.
- Cooking or Baking Club: Choose a new recipe to try each week. Once you’re done in the kitchen, send a picture to your group to show off your creation. Catch up on your experience and results!
No matter what you’re into, a virtual hobby group is an awesome way to bond with others over something you love. It doesn’t have to be strict or complicated — keep it light, fun, and casual.
Figuring out how to stay connected is essential
Staying physically apart is making connection look and feel different than it typically would. So it’s important to know how to stay connected, rather than give it up altogether. Connecting with others is essential for maintaining a sense of normalcy during a time that feels far from normal. If you’re struggling to connect during this time, Wellin5 can help. Get matched with a qualified counsellor who meets your unique needs. Learn more.