No man or woman is an island - we all need and crave connection with others. Whether you are an extrovert or introvert the nature of that desire may change, but it remains universal. If just the term “isolation” is enough to send shivers down your social spine, we can relate! With the world changing so dramatically and so many restrictions on our movement, it’s crucial to feel part of something bigger than yourself. 

The focus on physical health given the spread of COVID-19 is intuitive but shouldn’t push aside a focus on mental wellbeing. Checking in with others and with yourself is an important element to self-care as we all stay home. When it comes to the ways we can be alone without being lonely, the road really has risen up to meet us. There are endless opportunities to connect virtually and support systems are heartwarmingly abundant already. Far from just a concern of the mind, a feeling of togetherness can positively impact your physical health as well. 

Research from Harvard Medical School confirms that loneliness has a detrimental effect on our physical health. By making the effort to stay connected to those you care about, you are ensuring that they reap the benefits as well. Staying social can help avoid depression and cognitive decline. Studies have proven that mitigating loneliness can even extend your life span. Read on for our round-up of togetherness tips and tools while we stay apart.

 

Reaching Out 

 

Talk to someone! Reach out to those you love using any of the amazing technology we explore below. The time it may take to download a new app and learn how to use it, or assist someone else in doing so, will be well worth it. 

If you do have an elderly or vulnerable friend or relative who is isolated, band together within your family or group to ensure no days go by without someone checking in. Creating a rota may seem unromantic, but it is a wonderful way to ensure that your loved one gets steady contact and that there aren’t long periods of social lull. It can be easy to focus on the news, but varying the topics and remembering to include lighter conversations can really lift your mood. Why not enjoy a virtual coffee, or glass of wine together…?

  • WhatsApp – A versatile, free app for smartphones. It can host regular and video calls, text messaging, voice notes and image/video sharing. We recommend this one for family chats if you don’t have one going already. 

  • Zoom – Mostly used by businesses for video conferencing but perfect for large “gatherings”. Free up to 40 minutes. 

  • Skype – The original video call application, Skype is free for basic video and instant messaging with up to 50 people in a single chat. For a small fee you can call landlines as well, which can be a great way to reach those overseas if they don’t have WhatsApp. 

  • Eventbrite – Previously known for managing tickets for large group events, Eventbrite has expanded to accommodate those organisers trying to move online Browse online events to join – lectures, cinema festivals, and seminars are at your virtual fingertips. 

 

It’s the Little Things 

 

We all seek normalcy in times of uncertainty and being isolated alone or in small groups can feel miles away from the normal routine. Hearing conversations and human voices always offer some comfort. It may seem like a small thing but listening to an audiobook versus reading in silence or having the radio on in the background as you take on other tasks is an excellent dupe for the low-level social exposure you would get overhearing conversations in a shop or springing up around you at work. 

Podcast interviews are an amazing resource because they cover almost any topic that may be of interest and feel much more informal than a staged conversation on television. 

Why not watch a movie or TV show at the same time as a family or friend, or start your own book club to discuss from afar. 

Our hope is that this self-isolation becomes a period in which we thrive, learn new skills and maybe even communicate a little more than usual…

Stay home, stay healthy, and stay positive.

We want to be here for you as much as we can, so we have created a space for chatting, sharing stories and any tips for lifting spirits - from home. Our private Facebook group, Let’s Talk, has been created as a way for us to connect to you and for you, our community of loyal customers, to connect with one another. We hope you enjoy and look forward to seeing you there…

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