COVID-19 and the resulting social distancing measures have made it easy for us to feel lonely, isolated and unsupported.
We have some ideas about how you can stay engaged with your loved ones and the community during this time. Remember that we are all in this together and can lean on each other to keep the good vibes going!
1. Chat with family and friends
Staying in touch with loved ones is important. COVID-19 has made it difficult to see each other in person as much as we used to. However, in the meantime, we can use technology to stay in touch for the time being. You can look into the temporary increase to low cost Assistive technology (AT) funding on current NDIS plans, covering items such as smart devices so long as they help provide approved NDIS disability supports, such as meetings with a speech therapist over video.
Over this period of social distancing, try to stay in touch with your loved ones over phone calls or video chats. Some video chat applications can be used to connect a few of your loved ones on one call, making it feel as close as possible to meeting up with a group. If you are not familiar with using a video chat app, ask someone to help set you up – if you have a friend or family member who knows how to use video chats, ask them to talk you through the process over a phone call. If you are not used to chatting with family and friends in any other way than face to face consider booking a specific time for a video chat or voice call ahead of time with your family member or friend, it will make it feel like more of a social meeting.
Remember to reach out to family and friends who might feel isolated during this time. While it won’t be the same as your usual face to face chats, it will help you and them feel more supported. Remember that this period of social distance won’t last forever and that it’s important to maintain your relationships.
2. Make plans
Add some structure in your days to prevent each day from blurring into the next. Regularly schedule time with your family and friends time for catch ups, ahead of time. This will help you and your loved ones look forward to your next chat. Get creative with your chats with loved ones. Instead of just speaking on a call or video chat, do an activity together. Consider cooking the same dish over a video call, each getting the same book and reading a chapter to each other over calls, reading chapters ahead of calls and having a telephone book club, going for a walk while chatting, or playing online games together. This will help feel like you are still sharing experiences together and help bring some fun into your conversations in a time where perhaps we don’t have much news to share with each other. Remember that this is temporary, and you can continue to make plans and setting goals for after this period has passed.
3. Join an online group
For some time now there has been a movement for people to connect online in many different groups and now is the perfect time to give it a try. As an interesting example, you could try online karaoke or join an online choir that allows anyone to join in and sing along.
4. Do something for others
During this time you should put your health and wellbeing first. However, if you can think of a way to help someone else that does not put you at risk, it can have a positive impact. This can be as simple as calling someone for a chat who you think is feeling lonely or talking someone through how to use video chat to speak to their loved ones. Helping others makes us feel good, so it can be a good way to keep you motivated and positive during this time.
5. Ask for help
This is an unusually difficult time, so don’t delay in asking for help if you need it. If you feel down, stressed, or stuck, reach out and ask for help. There are family, friends and professionals who want to help you during this time.