One of the biggest challenges for us all during this period of isolation is the lack of social contact. For most of us, our everyday lives provide lots of opportunities to connect and be around people – sometimes when we’d much rather be on our own! Humans are tribal and social and emotional support, and the role of individuals, families and communities in delivering this, are vital to managing wellbeing. During the next few weeks we must actively create that engagement for ourselves.
Move your social life online
Many of us have embraced technology and are having regular FaceTime, Google Hangouts, Zoom, Skype or House Party calls with friends and family, but don’t stop there. How about having a virtual dinner party or office pub quiz? If you have a book group can that be moved online? Could you exercise with a friend over Zoom or get your pal to DJ for a group of you on a Saturday night? How about a Netflix watch party or watching a theatre streaming together? Organise different events throughout the week – but make sure you have some down time as well; you don’t want to get FaceTime fatigue!
Little and often
Not every call has to be a marathon, short and sweet check in’s with friends and family are just as valuable if not more so. A quick call can give you a boost in your day – and don’t worry if you don’t have to have anything in particular to say.
You don’t have to do everything in real time
Some of us might be feeling overwhelmed with all the group chat requests – but you don’t have to engage in real time if you’re busy with work or not in the mood . Try sending voice memos or short videos to loved ones when you have the time. It can create a greater connection than just writing a text.
Limit COVID-19 chat
For most of us we need social interaction to get away from what is happening on the news so resist the urge to talk too much about COVID-19, and you might want to think twice about sending round robin texts about it too. It can make the worriers in your circle more anxious.
You don’t even have to talk much
Some people might find it useful to recreate the office environment on Zoom, with everyone typing away in the background and then occasionally asking each other a question. The shared silence can still provide camaraderie.
Think about children too
Children will be missing the social interaction they have at school, and younger ones without their own phones or social media accounts will need you to set up virtual playdates for them. A class Zoom call, a FaceTime with a friend, playing a game together online, or doing an You Tube lesson like Joe Wicks PE can give some variety in their day (and give you ten minutes peace.)
Remember not everyone may be au fait with the technology and may need to be talked through it.
Prioritise those who live on their own
Make a list of loved ones who live alone and make sure to check in with them every few days – your contact is especially important to them. Think about colleagues and neighbours who live alone; is someone regularly in contact with them? Could you give them a call or share your number with them?
If you are finding things difficult and need to talk, LawCare can help. We provide emotional support to all legal professionals, support staff and their families. You can call our confidential helpline on 0800 279 6888, email us at email@example.com or access webchat and other resources at www.lawcare.org.uk
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