How to connect positively during times of physical disconnection

14 Apr 2020
by Kate Blundell

Most Australians are keeping their distance and playing by the isolation rules to do their best to help curb the spread of COVID-19. So far, it’s working. 

However, ongoing atmosphere of uncertainty and constant updates from the Government and news channels tend to saturate our conversations with negativity and concern. As time goes on, prolonged self-isolation, social distancing and physical disconnection will have a negative impact on the mental health of many individuals. 

Australians are trying their best to stay connected to loved ones and remain positive during forced social distancing and self-isolation. Zoom parties, FaceTime calls, chats over the fence or from a car window, SnapChats, Netflix parties, online trivia – even online dating has even persevered where Aussies are Zooming matches. 

Video calls have become the preferred method to keep in touch and stay sane as the world navigates its way through the unchartered territory of COVID-19. Technology allows us to see the expressions of our loved ones and maintain some sort of connection through the current period of physical disconnection caused by isolation measures. 

If you do one thing during your video calls, do this 

While we call our loved ones to check in and ensure they’re okay, do try to steer away from focusing solely on the current pandemic. The reason you’re video calling your friends and loved ones is to connect. So, try not to become fixated on COVID-19 and the latest figures and Government updates. Understandably, COVID-19 will consume some of your conversation. After all, we’re experiencing these unprecedented times together. However, if you center your conversation around isolation and uncertainty, all parties on the call might be left feeling a little more disconnected and isolated than ever.

So, how can you ensure your video calls are positive and help you maintain strong bonds with the people you love?

The My Mirror team got together and discussed the ways in which we have maintained positive video calls during isolation. 

10 ways to initiate and maintain positive video calls in isolation 

  1. Schedule your video calls around reasons to celebrate – birthdays, annual celebrations, mother’s day or father’s day.
  2. Schedule your calls around familiar and normalised daily routines – sit down and chat over your coffee break, afternoon tea, the evening bedtime routine with your kids or even Friday afternoon wind down drinks.
  3. Revisit memories that bring you joy – these can be a great way to maintain the bond between loved ones and even deeper relationships. Try a Facebook flashback, where you pick a memory from your Facebook photos (or other social media profiles) and use this to relive experiences that brought you and your loved ones close and made you laugh. Plan the next time you get to do this together.
  4. Plan for life after isolation – just planning your next trip can bring you joy.
  5. Dust off your board games – play one of your favourite board games over video call or if you’re into gaming, take the challenge online.
  6. Netflix movie night – schedule a movie night and watch your favourite comedies to get your belly moving with laughter.
  7. Book Club conversations – an easy group meeting to manage via video call! 
  8. Take the conversation outdoors – go for a walk or join in on a group exercise session – it goes without saying that this is great for your physical health too.
  9. Friends who cook together – talk a friend or family member through your favourite recipes. 
  10. If you’re musical – try playing a duet over the phone with a friend or loved one. 

And remember, it’s easy to be distracted when there is so much uncertainty and so many people around you are worried about things such as isolation, health, aging parents, or losing their job and financial security. Be present when you connect with others. Be curious and listen. Allow yourself to be open and engaged in the moment. 

If you’re noticing that you’re feeling distracted, often worried and you’re having difficulty managing this, our My Mirror Psychologists can help.

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If you are feeling suicidal or are in crisis call 000 (AU) or use these resources to get immediate help.