The times we now inhabit have drawn my attention to the many creative and innovative ways we are working to stay engaged with each other. While most of us are able to get out and about more currently, we are still aware of the precariousness of this situation and the importance of our online world in providing us with a window to the wider world.
I am lucky enough to remain in employment with the capacity to work from home, but being in the business of supporting people into employment, I am very mindful of those whose struggle is so much greater than mine.
The ways we stay connected and engaged are equally important for us all. We are social animals and instinctively seek out emotional connection to keep our anxieties at bay and to affirm our sense of self.
How to stay connected during extraordinary times
Video call as often as possible. Talking to people formally through online meeting platforms and having family and friend catch ups allow us a modicum of normality, with the flexibility to see people who are vulnerable or in situations where they cannot be visited.
It is important to remember the importance of water cooler and incidental conversations, not always easy in the online world. Video calling allows you greater opportunity to pick up on a person’s expression or the use of words and expressions that may be out of character. Go back to them to reflect your observations. It is so easy to assume something and vitally important to check in. Create a culture where it is a sign of strength to show kindness and compassion, both to others and to ourselves.
Online Game Nights
Have some fun with online games nights – House party is a social network app that enables group video chat. There is so much out there, online book clubs, Netflix movie nights. Make a beeline for the young people in your life, they are the experts and will have a wealth of apps and ideas for you to tap into.
Don’t Stop Networking
Immerse yourself in online networking, tap into bloggers and influencers to keep abreast of new ideas and work opportunities. This isolated world is encouraging all sorts of agility and disruptive innovation.
Access Forums & Resources
Accept that you will feel weary, anxious and stressed at times and that this is unsurprising given the relentless path of this pandemic. Online forums and support groups abound, Beyond Blue for instance has a range of brilliant resources, with online forums and chat lines to meet just about every need.
Feeling Overwhelmed? Try a Digital Detox
All this has the potential for us to ‘over connect’. Try a digital detox every few days, turn everything off and walk, swim, read a book, explore something you have always been meaning to do, paint that masterpiece or the living room ceiling!
As a community we are showing remarkable resilience in these extraordinary times. Let’s stay strong, stay connected, have some fun and understand that ‘this too shall pass’.
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