4 Tips To Staying Connected With The Community And Others During Covid-19
4 Tips For Staying Connected With The Community And Others During COVID-19
1) Use Technology/Social Media in moderation
I’m not fond of social media and excessive usage of computers, however due to COVID 19 technology is a wonderful tool to stay connected with people. The use of technology not only allows individuals to connect with the local community but with friends and family who are overseas. FB, WhatsApp, WeChat, FaceTime, Skype, Zoom etc, are all excellent interventions to assist people to stay connected.
Technology may assist our social connection but it’s important to be mindful that excessive usage of technology can be ‘disconnecting’ and dis-engaging’. Research indicates Problematic Mobile Phone Use (PMPU) causes symptoms of addiction similar to the effects of substances, including overuse, tolerance, withdrawal, daily-life disturbance and positive anticipation. Adverse consequences of overuse include physical health related problems, aggression and sleep disturbance and decreased real-life social interactions. Furthermore, other research suggests it lowers academic performance and has a negative impact on relationships. Therefore, it’s important to use technology in moderation.
2) Build connections in your home
Take the opportunity to spend time with people you live with. For many of us, it’s your immediate family and for others it could be housemates. Having a meal, play board/card games, watching TV etc is a great way to build relationships and to bond with one another. Have the attitude of ‘curiosity’ and take the opportunity to really get to know your loved ones.
Start with your spouse and ‘build love maps’ (https://www.gottman.com/). I would like to encourage parents to play games and exercise with your children. Ask your adult children to evaluate your parenting (if you have the courage) or for the adult children ask your parents what they were doing at the same age. In general, try to ask deeper questions rather than superficial ones based around school, career and hobbies or interests.
3) Reach out to your neighbours and support the hood
Since we are under lock down, try to meet and greet your neighbours. Take a chance and introduce yourself, communicate and share resources, offer a toilet roll! Not just with your next-door neighbour but families around the neighbourhood; those who live opposite or at the end of your street. Secondly, try to support your local small businesses, so go out to your local area and order take-away lunch, coffee or even get a haircut. It’s a great time to introduce yourself and meet people in your own community.
4) Start exercising
Final tip is to exercise. There are fields of research that indicates that exercising is good for your physical and mental health and general well-being. Therefore, it’s great period of time to start or increase your fitness, maybe even try a new sport. During this lockdown the Australian Government allows you to go outside to exercise with another person. It’s a good to excuse to see a friend, family or CG member and suggest to go for a walk, jog or bike-ride. Furthermore, personal trainers are taking exercise into people’s homes via Zoom - this is another awesome way to connect with many people, so join an online class at your local gym.
You can download a printable PDF infographics of this here
Our author Jeffrey Lai is a Registered Psychologist who works in private practice. He's married to Eleanor and they have a seven year old son, Oliver. They attend the GracePoint Burwood morning service. (He highly recommends playing with Lego for your mental health.)