Daily life seems almost surreal these days. You know, out of nowhere having to switch up your lifestyle completely. You’re no longer able to go to the regular gym, get coffee with a friend, run normal errands or hang out at your favorite weekend spot. May this be a lesson that we shouldn’t take mundane everyday things for granted.
Human connection is an essential human need. We are a tribal species, from the pre-historic times to this day, we’ve always lived in groups. Regarding COVID-19, you must do your part in helping to end this pandemic and STAY AT HOME (unless your job doesn’t allow for it). So now, It’s up to us to get creative and establish new routines to make ourselves comfortable in our new normal. On that note, a huge part of taking care of your mental health is to stay in touch with your loved ones.
Make the first move and connect
Guy Winch in his Ted Talk “Why we all need to practice emotional first aid”, which has more than 10 million views on Youtube summarises that he would wait for his brother to call and get disappointed when he didn’t hear from him. He was so frustrated about this that he wasn’t contacting his brother either. Voila, the solution was simply to make the first move without feeling like you’re losing your pride to avoid all the misunderstanding and confusion.
Research shows social isolation not only results in depression but also, an array of negative effects. According to a meta-analysis of eleven cardiac studies done by the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, loneliness and social isolation were related to a 29% increase in coronary heart disease and an increase in stroke risk by 32%. There are so many other science-backed reasons why loneliness can be detrimental.
Reach out to your friends and family. Show them how much you care about them, especially in these anxious times. You can make your loved ones feel supported and connected through technology. Use video calls (Facetime, WhatsApp, Skype or any other)! Have lunch over the video conversation or a mini home workout together. Establish new routines of having FaceTime dates and playing virtual games. Learning how to live online will make these weeks easier.
Leverage social media
Social media was made to be social. Obvious much? Though we’ve been misusing it and as a result feeling even more secluded. Social media may be causing negative impacts but during this time, you can leverage it to stay connected with your friends.
Again, the ‘social’ in social media was there for a reason. Don’t just mindlessly scroll through your feed, tap through stories or follow influencers that downright make you feel bad about your life. Like and comment on your friend’s post or stories. Start conversations (or even share memes). Be actually active on social media and purposely, engage with your friends. Find content creators that make you feel positive, inspire you or add value to your life.
Now the scary bit, post! Don’t shy away from posting on your feed or your story. Let your friends know what you’re up to, may it be making your breakfast, the current book/series you’re into, your favorite quotes or your activities at home. You may wonder, who cares? But the simple fact is that these little things make you relatable which will invite others to comment/react to your posts. Though, it’s important to maintain a healthy relationship with social media and not let it consume too many hours!
Create deeper relationships with the ones you’re living with
Daily lives are busy. Highly stressful with long commutes and never-ending to-do lists. If you’re in a lockdown situation, this could be an opportunity for you to build a deeper connection with the ones you’re living with. You can improve your relationship with them by spending a more meaningful one on one time.
From starting a new series on Netflix to new home projects, you have more flexibility to spend quality time together. You can even cook together or pick up a new hobby. You’ll get to see different aspects of the person that you’ve already known for a while.
- Start taking new approaches like creating online groups and video calls to stay connected to your friends and family
- Make the first move and schedule a virtual coffee, lunch or workout date with a friend
- Use social media effectively, set aside time to mindfully engage (like, comment and post) with your friends and get inspired by other creators online
- Do fun activities like baking, crafting or even just dancing around your house with the ones you’re already living with
No doubt that these times are especially rough for everyone in almost every part of the world. It requires us to start thinking of self-care and positive mental health in new ways. Focusing on the aspects we can control to maintain our personal well-being and the ones around us is the best we can do. Keeping these strategies in mind and consciously using them, will allow you to maintain a close connection with your loved ones and stay sane.