In this blog Katherine from Grace Foundation shares her top tips with you
This is a strange and difficult time. Life is unrecognisable compared with a few months ago. It’s always been important to support each and in lots of ways its harder to be supportive with the social distancing measures in place. However, it’s helpful to think of this time as having physical distance from each other but still sharing lots of social connections.
Most people have switched to online methods as their main source of social interaction and it has great benefits but also presents some challenges as well. Although some form of connection can still be achieved by using tech such as video calls or WhatsApp messages, the danger is that we can be connected all day without making the emotional connection we really need.
Here are five ways you can still make real connections in a virtual world.
Really listen to each other. Try active listening where you not only listen to the words that someone is saying but also the whole message they are trying to communicate through tone of voice and body language. It could also look like repeating back key information to check that you’ve understood properly.
This helps others to grow and feel better, but it is also good for yourselves too. It helps you to focus on the positives on others rather than some of the things that you find more challenging (especially if you’re in isolation with them!).
There is lots of online help available, as well as things like over the phone counselling. If you notice one of your friends struggling, encourage them to get help. You can also help by being a good friend and keeping in contact.
Cheer each other up with a quote/meme or joke! It is often said that laughter is the best medicine and laughing releases feel good hormones called endorphins as well as relaxing the whole body.
5) Be there
Be reliable and available for others. If you said you were going to video call at 3pm next Tuesday, stick to that as much as you possibly can. It’s also okay to say, ‘we can have a chat but just to let you know I’m really struggling today’.