In this series, we will be discussing mental health in response to COVID-19. There’s a lot of ways we can open dialog and discern what is within and not within our control at the moment, and how we can better manage our expectations versus the reality of what we’re going through during this time.
Things are not business as usual. I’ll say that over and over until it sinks in. This includes the communication we have with others, and how we react to things. I know that more than likely, you have experienced stress levels that you’re not used to during the era of COVID-19, and our mental health, stresses, trauma, and communication all tie in together as to how we survive, and how well we’re able to transition once this is all over into our “new normal.”
And while we still don’t know what the “new normal” is, the isolation of being in self-quarantine and social distancing is taking its toll. Though some people thrive introvertedly, others need interaction to survive, and it’s gotten to the point that even introverted people are saying “can this be over soon, please?”
Social media was conceived to bring individuals together, digitally. It opened up a new realm of possibilities when it comes to keeping in touch without holding a conversation. Now, it may seem more like a diary that’s been thrown in the blender with a slew of very triggering news. So today, we’re going to visit some ways to “be apart together” by connecting with friends and loved ones in a more intimate way.
FACETIME OR SKYPE YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY
Video chatting can feel wrong. You seem to spend the first 5 minutes adjusting the screen, sound, and background noise levels. But once you get past that, smooth sailing. Seeing someone else’s face and hearing someone else’s voice is going to help feed that need for human interaction besides seeing the people you live with and the grocery store worker ringing up your goods.
If you’re feeling especially low due to being stagnant inside your house, or dealing with stressors, reach out to the friends that are the good listeners and talk it out. Having an idle mind can only stir up your thoughts, and sometimes our thoughts are riddled with infections of stress, anxiety, and depression in severe cases. Opening up and talking to others and being realistic about your emotions will help further your lasting power during this time.
USE APPS, WEB INTERFACES, AND MORE FOR COMMUNICATION
Whether it’s downloading the House Party app, to getting a group together to play an online version of Cards Against Humanity, you can still find ways to socialize without being in the same room as one another. A big one in my household is Twitch streaming, or playing an online game in which your friends join the party, like Call of Duty, Borderlands, Fortnite, or Realm Royale. Doing a group activity together not only will make for a good distraction and give you that serotonin boost to elicit laughter, but it will also make you feel like life is semi-normal for a short period of time. And let’s face it, we all need a break.
START A GROUP PODCAST USING DISCORD OR SKYPE
If you have ever had an interest in Podcasting, now is the time to learn and GET. TO. WERK. You can record audio, pick a topic, and crack that mic. And don’t worry, you can do multiple sessions before you ever want to release them to get your sea legs, but it’ll be fun to chat with your friends no matter what.
JUST CALL THEM
I’m gonna admit, this one is the hardest for me. I’m constantly multi-tasking which a lot of the time means I can’t give a full conversation my attention. But sometimes it’s necessary, especially if you’re feeling the stresses and strains of this time. Talking out your emotions with someone, especially since we’re all going through something similar, will be a lot better for your well-being.
TALK TO STRANGERS IN PUBLIC
Give this one a try. If you’re maintaining your safe 6 feet of distance, there is absolutely no reason why you can’t hold a conversation with a stranger. Make conversation AND ACTUALLY LISTEN to your cashier at the grocery store. Say thanks to your mail person. Not only will this make them feel better, but you’ll feel better too with this face to face action.
What are some steps you have taken to keep yourself communicating with the world? Let us know on Facebook in the comments!