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  • Melinda Gibson

Social Connectedness

Since the caveman days, humans have evolved with the inherent need to be connected to others. Aside from providing group survival and strength in numbers, social connectedness fulfils our need for attachment and reassurance through nurturance, guidance, and acceptance.

Relationships are central to people’s emotional, psychological and physical wellbeing. Evidence has found that loneliness can lead to depression, physical illness, lowered immunity, addiction, mental illness, and suicide. During the current COVID19 crisis, physical distancing guidelines are requiring that we change the way we socially connect.

In the coming months, it is important that we are flexible, and think of creative ways to maintain our relationships. So how do we stay physically distant and remain socially connected?

Whilst I am sure there are many other amazingly creative ideas, here are some of my tips for staying in touch with friends and family, or making some new connections from afar….

Virtual Phone Calls

Seeing someone’s face can increase connection, so now is the time to take up videocalls, via FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook, Houseparty (and the list goes on)! Arranging a time with friends and family to get out the nibbles, or organise Take-Out, and have a virtual call can be a great way of keeping contact with those you love.

Voice Messages

We are all very familiar with text messaging. Over the past weeks I have been sending voice messages instead. I have found that not only is it quicker and without typos, but it is a much more personal way of sending messages, and a nice way to hear the voices of friends and family.

Backyard and Balcony Catch-ups

This week my family interstate had drinks and nibbles with their neighbours….. across the fence from each other’s backyard balconies. They took pics of their food creations, selfies with the other family afar in the background, and tried to replicate being on the same balcony as much as possible.

Drive-by’s

This has been a wonderful idea floating around on social media for birthday celebrations, where during a fixed time window, family and friends drive past beeping their horns and having conversations- all from the safe confines of their car or front door.

Virtual Games

This Easter, our family have arranged for a game of virtual trivial pursuit. One family have split up the question cards and posted some to each of the households involved… ours will be arriving tomorrow :-) At an agreed time next weekend, we will all meet up via a virtual call and try to take out the win!!

Virtual Cooking

For all those grandparents who loves sharing recipes and cooking techniques with their grandchildren, prepare yourselves…. You will now instruct from afar. Send your grandkids the recipe via email or text prior to the cook-off. Parents can help get the ingredients. Everyone meets up via virtual call at an agreed time and….. Bon appetite!

Street Games

Our local area have been doing a Bear Hunt Activity inspired by the book “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” by Michael Rosen, whereby people hide bears in their front yard, and children go looking for them from the street. Dropping off secret gifts, surprise letters, food hampers, are all great ways for your friends and family to feel valued, reassured, and connected.

Virtual Group Activities

Online groups are popping up daily, and have created engaging and awesome experiences using online media…. Music making, exercise classes, meditation, pilates, video-gaming, spiritual, sporting skills… etc etc! So get online and start searching for a virtual group that tickles your fancy!

Stay safe and remember “remain physically distant but socially connected”

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