The Importance Of Staying Connected
Social distancing, working away from the office and even homeschooling can be very isolating. Even if you live with your family or in a house share, the disruption to your social life and daily contact with others can take its toll on how connected you feel to your loved ones and community. We’ve taken some tips from Beyond Blue’s article ‘why staying connected is so important’ during these times to share with our members to remind you you’re not alone, and to check in on others.
WHY DO WE NEED CONNECTION?
While all of us exist on an introvert to extrovert spectrum, it’s a simple truth that humans are social creatures. We’ve existed in communities for centuries as a means of survival, and it’s hardwired in us to share experiences, stories and physical contact with others. “Touch is such a rich source of affirmation, security, safety and being seen for a lot of us,” Psychologist Sabina Read tells Beyond Blue, “But there are other ways to manifest and nurture that without physical touch in light of the crisis that we’re in.”
We all wish things could be the way they were before, but one silver lining of all this is that it gives us a lens through which we can really explore what connection means to us, and which are most important. “Think about what physical contact represents to you. What does conversation represent? What does eyeballing represent? All these things that are important to you, we can still have that intimacy, we just need to be creative and find other ways to connect. We under-estimate sometimes the comfort that phone contact can bring, you can still feel a sense of connection and closeness even if it’s not face-to-face,” Ms Read explains.
Rather than viewing connection as something YOU need, it’s nice to reframe it as something others need. Do you know someone who lives alone? Someone who is single-parenting? A family member who lives in a rural location? Would your romantic relationship benefit from some quality time? Being of service and making good, solid connections during this time can be as easy as being available to talk.
HOW TO STAY CONNECTED
Online is the best place! Chat to your friends and family via video calls and messaging platforms such as Facebook Messenger or Whatsapp. Apps that encourage game play and socialising, such as Houseparty, have seen record downloads, thanks to their ease of use and in-built games. You can even get creative and organise a weekly trivia, baking sessions or workout challenge for your circle.
Planning weekly virtual lunches with coworkers, or morning coffee calls with a friend are simple ways you can bring a bit of normalcy to your social life while still maintaining social distancing.
Connect to new groups through online forums around passion projects, or listen to podcasts that inspire you and feel like a conversation!
And of course, you can always stay connected with your fellow Fitness First members in our Fitness First At Home Facebook Group!
If you’re getting sick of screens, with some restrictions lifting the option for small gatherings or walking with a friend are becoming a reality again. This may also be the perfect time to get to know your neighbours now that everyone is home! Perhaps ask elderly neighbours if there is anything you can help them with by leaving a note in their mailbox or in the foyer of your apartment building.
Reminder: please check your state's restrictions before planning an outing.
Connection isn’t simply about being heard, it’s also about the feelings behind it. Those feelings can be ones of safety, shared ideas, happiness, comfort… the list is endless! The one important takeaway is: find connection wherever you can, and be available to connect when others reach out. “When we think about how we can serve others in a positive way, it’s a good place to put our fearful energies, Ms Read says, “Can I call a neighbour? What can I do to help? There’s a lot we can do to help soothe each other and stay connected.”
If you or a loved one needs support at this time, you can call the free Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service 1800 512 348