For most of us, this idea of social distancing feels strange. The adjustment to our “new normal” is challenging and pretty exhausting. Humans are hard-wired to connect with others – and usually, that’s exactly what we do. We eat together, play together, work together, socialise together, talk together… and now how we do that looks different.
Anyone else feeling lonely, bored, fatigued, stressed, frustrated or sad, that we can’t see people the way we usually do? Or maybe you feel some relief and contentment at having more time at home?
Staying connected whilst social distancing is our reality for the moment and I imagine is on most of our minds. There are some pretty clever ways we can do stay together despite the distance. Keep reading to find out…
Connect virtually with friends, family, colleagues and peers
You can use a whole range of platforms, including Skype, Viber, Whatsapp, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Google Hangouts and more.
Share photos, videos, funny memes and articles.
Make it a date – Missing catching up with a friend for coffee? Arrange regular times to virtually connect – set it up in advance, invite people to join and enjoy time together in the comfort of your own space while sipping a drink of choice.
Also, why not start an interesting and deeper conversation with the group – for example, tell the group about a travel experience that involved adventure and navigating a new place, or tell the group about a person who was a role model for you growing up, or share about a piece of art/film or music that you like and why.
Have a group dinner party using the Houseparty App.
Or Host TV and Movie watching parties with people online using the Netflix Party App.
Check in with friends and family who you haven’t heard from, or who are more vulnerable, to see how they are going. A simple text or call could mean the world to them and might help you feel good too.
Try out the old-fashioned form of letter writing
Take out pen and paper and write a letter. Receiving mail at a time like this could really boost someone’s day – and it’s a good chance for you to take time away from the screen and be a little creative.
Be active online
There are plenty of free online workouts available on YouTube and Facebook. Find one that suits you and encourage a friend or family member to join too so you can spur each other on. You can also join the Eat – Chill – Sweat program run by CQUni. Find out more here.
Keeping your body active will help manage some of those uncomfortable feelings we talked about earlier, and you’ll sleep better too.
Social isolation is also an opportunity to stay connected with yourself…
You may be curious about what that means…
Put down the phone and breathe – How often when you’re experiencing unpleasant emotions (anxious, sad, overwhelmed etc) do you pick up your phone and check social media or emails. How’s that working for you? It might distract you for a moment, but that emotion doesn’t go away. Why not try checking in with yourself instead of picking up your phone? Take a deep breath, notice where the feelings sit in your body and say the emotion out loud – I’m feeling _____ at this moment and that’s okay. Take another deep breath. Then make a conscious choice about what you want to do next.
Start journaling – Take time in your day to jot down your thoughts, feeling and experiences. Rather than writing down your entire inner monologue (although there’s nothing wrong with that), you might like to reflect on experiences through your senses, what you see, hear, taste, touch and smell. Journaling is known to boost your mood, enhance wellbeing and help manage those anxious feelings.
We want to hear from you!
What have you already tried? What’s working for you?
We would love to hear your stories and ideas about how you are staying connected at this challenging time. We’re in this together.
#AskUs – Respond on our blogs, social media posts, ask the Student Counselling team a question or post a photo to go into the draw to win one of six self-care packages. Make sure you use the hashtags with hashtags #TogetherWeCan #MentalHealthBeginsWithME
The competition will be drawn on Tuesday, 5 May 2020 – University Mental Health Day. View the terms and conditions here.
Drop in on our #AskUs sessions to have your mental health questions answered and check in with the Counselling Team. Sessions will be hosted on the following dates and times. Click on the date to join the session via Zoom.
- 7.00 pm, Tuesday, 21 April
- 12.00 pm, Wednesday 22 April
- 7.00 pm, Tuesday 28 April
- 12.00 pm, Wednesday 29 April
- 7.00 pm, Tuesday 05 May
- 12.00 pm, Wednesday 06 May
On UMHD we will be hosting a webinar. Check out the event details on the MyCQU Student Portal.