Clinical Psychologist, Dr Hazel Harrison, shares her tips for keeping connected with friends and family to help boost your wellbeing while navigating the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.
Our relationships are one of the biggest predictors of our wellbeing long-term. The other people in our life play a crucial role in our mental and physical health, so it’s really important that we keep connected to them.
During the pandemic, keeping connected can be challenging and we may all have moments of feeling alone and isolated.
We’re all different, so what we need to feel connected to others will be different too. Be curious with what works for you – it may not be what works for your colleagues or friends, and that’s okay.
Here are five ways you can nurture your relationships during the pandemic.
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Although social media can sometimes get a lot of bad press, research is starting to show us that it’s not necessarily social media that’s harmful to our wellbeing, but the way we interact with it.
If you like to use social media, try setting yourself a time limit (perhaps a couple of minutes) to browse your feed and find something that makes you feel positive.
Send that person a message, or write a positive comment for them. Actively engaging is much better for you than passively scrolling, and you may also spread some positivity to others too.
We've got very used to sending emails and text messages as a way to communicate – and these are still great ways of keeping in touch. However, sometimes the power of someone's voice can be really helpful, particularly if that person is feeling lonely or disconnected.
Consider sending someone a voice message or picking up the phone and having a chat. This may not work for everyone, but for some people just hearing someone else's voice might help them (and you) to feel connected.
Working remotely means we have less opportunity to just bump into someone and have a chat during the day, or decide to have an impromptu coffee break with a friend.
You may find it helpful to schedule virtual catch ups and book them in your diary. Novelty is a great way to bring some energy into your interactions too.
Keeping connected can also mean connecting with those who share the same interests or hobbies as you.
Why not experiment with different ways to keep connected? You could try:
Don’t forget, you may also need time to connect with yourself too.
Yes, we’re social creatures but that doesn’t mean we don’t also need a little alone time occasionally. Regularly making time for yourself allows you to pause and reflect on how you’re doing, and recognise what you might need to keep your own wellbeing topped up.
If you want to read more about how to look after your wellbeing, check out these 10 simple wellbeing tips.
Dr Hazel Harrison is a Clinical Psychologist with more than 10 years' professional experience in both the National Health Service (NHS) and private sector. Bringing psychology out of the clinics and into everyday life, Dr Harrison is also an award-winning presenter and writer for BBC Bitesize and BBC Teach.
What helps you keep connected? Let us know in the comments.
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