Staying connected with friends and family can be difficult while juggling study, work and your personal life. Now as the world experiences self-isolation we are facing the new challenge of how to put the ‘social’ in social distancing.According to Petra Skeffington, Clinical Psychologist and Head of Psychology, Exercise Science, Chiropractic and Counselling at Murdoch University, connecting with others is important to more than just our mental health.
“Social connection is critical to both physical and mental health. We know that both in day-to-day life and during periods of stress, people who remain socially connected in meaningful ways are more resilient.”
Here are ten ways you can stay connected during isolation.
1. Join a social media groupFind a group on social media that interests you and helps you meet new people. The Social Connection at Murdoch Uni group has a range of online events and workshops to help you remain socially connected with other students, refine your online learning skills, build mindfulness and connect with other students across campus.
2. Have family dinner via video callBring the family together in a through Zoom, FaceTime or WhatsApp. Video call your family back home to enjoy your regular dinner meal together or mix it up and choose a different cuisine theme each week.
3. Virtual coffee datesCoffee dates don’t have to be lost during isolation. Pick a comfortable spot in your house and prepare your drink of choice, call a friend for a laugh and catch up on all the things you might have missed during the week.
4. Live stream a fitness classStay fit, healthy and connected by setting up a laptop or computer with your chosen fitness class. Ask your friends or family to join in the same class and set up your phone on video call to watch them participate too.
5. Start your weekend with a “house party”Houseparty the app allows a split screen video call so you can see up to eight people all at once! You don’t have to use the app to have a party in your living room, you can also play games with your friends including entertainment trivia.
6. Go to a live concertWhether your family and friends are overseas or here in Perth, you can attend a live stream concert together. Stay at Home Festival has a full calendar of live events you can enjoy from the comfort of your home, including guided meditation, book talks and even virtual dance parties.
7. Create an online recommendations listStart a Google Doc for things to do at home. Invite your friends and family to give their recommendations on things to watch, read and listen to. You can also add in sections for recipes, games and at-home workout programs. This list will not only give you things to do, but it will serve as a talking point for you and your friends.
8. Watch a movie with friends and familyIsolation doesn’t have to mean hours of watching shows on Netflix alone. You can now host Netflix watch parties to link up with friends online to watch a movie or tv show together.
9. Bridge the gap with personalised giftsFor some, a big part of socialising is the physical connection of hugging a friend or a loved one when you greet or say goodbye. If this is something you miss, try ordering a weighted blanket or make friendship bracelets or other gifts and have them delivered to your friends as a surprise.
10. Online gamesFinally, the perfect excuse to play games all day. Online games are a great way to have fun with friends. You don’t need a fancy console and you can play on your laptop or on a mobile app. Browse online and find a competitive or cooperative game that you and your friends find fun.
With technology, there are many ways to ensure you’re only physically isolated and not socially isolated. It’s unclear how long we might all be self-isolating, so it’s important to explore new ways of connecting with family and friends.
Isolation can be challenging and often stressful, find out how to manage stress and anxiety and support those around you.