Whether it’s games night with your mates, your local yoga class or taking your child down to the library for story time, connection with our community is central to our routine and wellbeing. While self-isolation during the COVID-19 Pandemic has disrupted how we normally go about this, it doesn’t mean that we need to give up the things that make us feel in touch with others and ourselves.
The Mind Room’s co-founder, Clinical Psychologist Dr Jo Mitchell shares some tips on how to remain socially connected during this time – because while we might be physically alone during this time, we’re in this together.
- Glass Half Full – while there are limitations in having to physically isolate ourselves, there are also opportunities. You can connect online in so many ways. For example, we had my mum’s 77th birthday on Zoom with all her children and grandchildren. It did take an hour to talk dad through clicking on a link to get Zoom started, but we made it in the end.
- Get Creative – humans love to problem solve. And COVID-19 has given us an epic challenge to work on. Out of this we have seen people connecting through en masse balcony dance parties, music festivals on Instagram Live, virtual pub quizzes and so much more. The ingenuity of people is awe inspiring. At the recent T20 Women’s Cricket final, as night descended and we waited for Katy Perry to come on for the after match performance, I watched the teenage kids I was with form a connection across the MCG stadium with mobile phone torches, blinking and making patterns to each other. The drive to connect is strong – what will you do?
- Know and Live Your Values – Stay connected with your values. It is easy to get swept up in feelings of anxiety and fear, letting them drive your interactions with others. Late last week I noticed myself being a little irritated and short with myself and others. I caught myself and was able to take a step back and breathe, making room for the anxiety without being so driven by it. Be patient with yourself and others. Lead with compassion and kindness. We are all in this together.
We’ve also put together a list of some awesome programs and initiatives running virtually to keep your mind active and your heart full:
Creative content that knows no boundaries:
- Arts Centre Melbourne is broadcasting performances as a live stream.
- ACMI Virtual Cinematheque brings your weekly movie night to your home.
- Music Across the Balconies is a movement of online music and dance engagement to keep us connected while we are physically isolated.
Content for dancing, stretching and moving your body to:
- Our local mates over at I Am That – Yoga have created a Virtual Community Yoga Platform.
- The Social Distancing Festival brings together live streamed talent, from opera to storytelling to music.
- Virtual Event List has curated a list of great virtual events from Melbourne and beyond (including dance classes!)
Content for maintaining your health and wellbeing:
- We know that giving back helps to promote our overall wellbeing – Vollie facilitates online volunteering via their website.
- Check out Dumbo Feather Magazine’s inspiration and resource list ‘Beyond Overwhelm Into Refuge’ – it’s full of expansive, grounding content.
- The School of Life have released Virtual Dinner Conversation menus – ensuring dinners apart can be just as good as ones at the table.
- Yale is offering it’s most popular course The Science of Wellbeing free online.
Platforms that keep games night alive:
- If you’re missing your local pub quiz, Goose Quizzes are streaming ones live that you can drop into with your team.
- There are also a bunch of favourites that are available online via apps – think Monopoly, Words With Friends and Scrabble.
- House Party is an oldie but a goodie. You can hang out one-on-one or in groups and chat or play games.
Content for the little ones in our lives:
- Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art in London are sharing creative projects for kids every day over on their new “social social-distancing school” Instagram Page.
- Audioplay brings kids into storybooks – by putting on headphones, children can become the characters, physically playing out the action.
- Eastern Regional Libraries are streaming storytime on Facebook and via their webpage.
Do you have others to add? Let us know! Email our Business and Marketing Coordinator, Lizzie, at email@example.com so we can keep building this list.
Where to go for support?
If you are struggling at anytime day or night remember that Lifeline is here to offer support to you and listen.
- 13 11 14 will continue to be operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- Lifeline Text 0477 13 11 14 will continue to operate 6pm – midnight (AEDT), 7 nights a week
- Lifeline webchat will continue to operate 7pm – midnight (AEDT), 7 nights a week
- Kids Helpline – for children that may need support 1800 55 1800 https://kidshelpline.com.au
- Beyond Blue – 1300 22 4636 https://beyondblue.org.au