Now, more than ever, we need to feel connected to those we have in our circle. Social distancing is the talk of the town these days, and while it is important to help flatten the curve, we have to take care of ourselves too. This kind of isolation can have a significant impact on mental health, making conditions such as depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses much worse. Whether you suffer from a mental illness or not, that connection to others is essential, and we need to seek out innovative ways to keep in contact with those we can’t see in person right now.
Here are some great ways to stay connected to family, friends, and even people we may not know but who are also looking for a connection with the world around them.
There are a lot of apps and platforms that can be used for video chatting from a computer, smartphone, or iPad. Connect with your close family and friends to see what they use. Skype, Messenger, and WhatsApp are all popular ones, but there are many others available as well.
It is important to have that visual connection to people we are accustomed to communicating with and seeing regularly. This is particularly important for people who live alone and do not have other family members in the home to connect with daily.
Grandparents will be missing grandchildren, and video calls are a great way to keep them connected and able to see loved ones.
Texting and Voice Calls
Sometimes we don’t feel like we have the time to spend long periods on the phone, but even a quick voice call or text message can help us to feel connected. Even a simple text to a friend to let her know you were thinking of her can be uplifting. Send a message, a picture, or a funny meme to make someone smile.
There are lots of games that can be played online, and with many of them, you can communicate with teammates or opponents with a chat option. Many people who play word games such as scrabble or words with friends like to chat with the people they play against. It is an excellent way to socialize with a friend or to meet new people from all around the world by playing random opponents. In this way, you may also be helping someone else who is looking for someone with whom they can connect. Of course, with any app or online activity, it is crucial to observe internet safety and not give out personal information.
If you have a loved one who is older and not used to using the internet or a younger child who is just learning to use it properly, it is a good idea to talk to them about these guidelines when you set them up to use such apps.
Aside from games, there are many things you can do online to keep entertained. Pinterest is a great place to find ideas for almost anything. If you like interior decorating, you could look for ideas on redoing a room in your house. It is also a great place to find activities that will keep children busy or new recipes to try. It can be a bit of a wormhole, and you could be lost for hours on Pinterest, but if you have an idea of what kinds of things you would like to find, you can use it as a way of organizing some ideas. From fashion and cooking to do-it-yourself projects and landscaping, it is a place to find almost anything!
Step Away from the Computer
Though there are a lot of things you can find to do online, it is vital to spend time away from the screen too. Keeping active can be hard when you are confined to your house, but it is important for both your physical and mental health. There are plenty of exercises and physical activities that you can do at home, even if you do not have exercise equipment. If just making sure you get some steps in is a priority, walk around your house and up and down the stairs a bit. (I won’t lie – I play phone games while I walk around the house, so I am not bored with the scenery).
If you are usually more active than that, search out some exercises that you can do using everyday items you will have around the house. There are many simple exercises you can do using chairs, tea towels, and other household items.
You can even crank some tunes and have a dance party (by yourself or with others in your household). Fitness videos can also be found online if you would prefer to follow a structured program like Zumba or HIIT.
Your Favorite Past Time
Remember all of those things you love to do, but find you never have enough time for? Now is the time to grab a book, pull out your favorite craft, do a puzzle, or clean your home. Put on some music and get busy!
It is important to stay connected to family, friends, neighbors, and community, but perhaps the most important at this time is to stay connected to ourselves.
There are many ways we can take care of our own physical and mental well-being. Aside from your favorite pastimes and activities or chores that need to be done, you may want to practice meditation or yoga to keep yourself focused and motivated.
If you find that you are not keeping in contact with those you love, and you are having a hard time getting motivated to do the activities you love, it may be time to seek help by calling a mental health hotline. If that is not a route you wish to go, call a friend or family member with whom you are close so you can discuss your situation.
Reaching out to Others
Perhaps you are doing well and dealing with the isolation just fine. If that is the case, reach out to others who may need some help and encouragement. Be aware of your family and friends who may be struggling and offer what support you can from where you are. Phone somebody, pick up groceries for somebody who can’t get out, send a card or picture in the mail to someone who would appreciate it.
There are many ways that we can support one another through this and get to the end together. There will be a tomorrow, and it always has the potential to be better than today!