Staying Social in Lockdown
Social distancing can make us feel lonely. The novel coronavirus causes the disease COVID-19 and as a result, we have all been advised to stay home and only go out if it is necessary. Despite the positives this has for our health, in that it reduces the risk of catching coronavirus, it can make us feel alone and have a significant impact on our mental health. So, we’ve come up with some ideas to help keep you connected with the outside world whilst staying safe at home.
What impact has the coronavirus had on our social life?
The impact of the coronavirus on our social life is seemingly obvious. We’re no longer allowed out of the house unless it is necessary i.e. for exercising, shopping for essentials and seeking medical attention amongst the most important. So, that means the trip to the coffee shop with friends is out of the question, pubs and clubs are closed and many large events including sports, gigs and festivals have been cancelled. And many of us are now working from home, something which most of us would’ve once thought to be impossible. We’ve adapted pretty well but the lack of social contact can take its toll, so we’ve come up with ways to ease the burden.
Human beings are social by nature
Because we are naturally social, this lockdown can be tough for some and is also part of the reason you’ll see some people trying to push the boundaries. Think about it, since the dawn of civilisation human beings have lived in groups, family units, tribes, and villages. So, now in 2020 being asked to live alone apart from the other members of your household is alien to most of us.
And so, some research shows that uncertainty about a future threat or being unable to see past its negative impact can increase anxiety. That is something many people are now facing as they can’t see beyond the lockdown. So, we need to look out for each other, however, we can.
Make the most of video calling technology
We are lucky that we have the opportunity to stay in touch with our friends and family via video calling technology. Research shows that it is just as effective for your happiness and mental wellbeing as being in the same room as someone and having a conversation.
As well as staying in touch with loved ones, there are apps that are keeping our workplace’s functioning. Schools and universities are also adopting this technology to run lessons and lectures to keep some normality within the education sector.
Many people are taking part in quizzes with their social groups and loved ones to keep themselves occupied. The pub quiz is the new go-to social activity. There are many question packs available online, once you’ve got your host and found the platform you want to use (Zoom, Google Hangouts etc), let everyone know the date and time and away you go.
There are many things you can do using video calling software, too. Why not have a fancy-dress party, organise a game a bingo, or play board games? There are many things we can do over video calling that makes us all feel like we’re in the same room so there’s no need to feel alone.
Today it seems old-fashioned but letter writing was once the norm. And it can be fun and exciting receiving a letter in the post. Writing to your grandparents or getting the kids to write to elderly relatives is not only a great way to stay in touch but it can also brighten the person on the receiving ends day, not least because they’ll know you’re thinking of them.
If writing isn’t your thing, then why not just pick up the phone. There are many members of or families who may not be 100% tech-savvy and would love nothing more than a telephone conversation. So, make a cuppa and give your gran a call. Try to avoid negative conversations and discuss happy things like memories, maybe new things you’ve learnt or would like to.
It is important to remember that we are all going through this together and it is together that we can all work through it. There are of course important lessons to be learnt, particularly how important our loved ones are to us. That’s why staying in touch and boosting morale is vital and even the simplest of things can do just that!
Grupe, D, W and Nitscke, J, B. (2013). Uncertainty and Anticipation in Anxiety: An Integrated Neurobiological and Psychological Perspective. Nat Rev Neurosci: 14(7), pp 488-501.