News • 09 Apr 2020

5 unique ways to stay connected during COVID-19

Social distancing and isolation are normal practices due to the global situation of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). In order to keep our mental health and overall wellness in good check, we must adapt to new ways of staying connected. Here are some unique digital options to try out.

Having frequent social interactions is important for your mental health and happiness.

When the ability to talk, hang out or interact with friends, family and co-workers has been removed from us, it’s now much more difficult to try to foster these relationships.

Thanks to the digitally enhanced world we live in, staying connected is easier than you might think.

There are hundreds of messaging and video calling apps to choose from. So, we’ve selected five of the best ways to keep in touch with others during these times.

Video call as much as possible

Text messaging, emailing and using social media is a great way to keep in contact but you should try limiting your use of these platforms, so that you avoid digital fatigue.

Instead, try audio or video calling to keep up that personal connection. It has been shown that video and audio calling produces similar amounts of happy hormone as it does when you see a person face-to-face. 

The process of talking to another person is much more beneficial than constantly typing messages, especially for those who live on their own where they previously relied on person-to-person relationships at work or going out with friends.

There’s more than enough free video calling apps available for smartphones and desktops including Zoom, FaceTime, Messenger and Houseparty.

Game night: whenever and from wherever you are

Bring in your friends, family or co-workers to an online party night, care of Houseparty—a video and social gathering app to enhance the way we connect.

Test your brain with a round of trivia or get up and moving with a quick game of charades.

Why not test out the app’s Pictionary mode?

However, you used to spend your game night, Houseparty is a great alternative for when we’re stuck in isolation.

Host a virtual movie night

There’s no better way to relax and destress after a day of work with a movie or Netflix.

Now you can bring your friends into the mix with Netflix Party—a free Google Chrome extension that allows you and your friends or family to watch Netflix together.

The plugin allows you to watch the same movie or show at the exact same time with as others.

It also has a group chat function so you can share commentary, GIFs and Emojis while laughing or crying along to your favourite movie.

We might not be able to go to the cinemas, but Netflix Party is a great replacement.

Start a virtual book club

For the bookworms out there, now is the perfect chance to catch up on those new releases or sort through your pile of shame.

Share your thoughts and feelings about the book with some friends by starting a virtual book club.

A virtual book club allows your mind to stay active while remaining connected.

Alternatively, a virtual book club is a perfect way to connect with other like-minded people around the world.

Join online peer-support groups

You’re not alone during this time.

There are plenty of free, online forums and peer-support community groups designed to help you through difficult times.

Whether you just want to chat or are seeking help for mental health guidance, these anonymous and moderated forums are perfect for staying connected.

eheadspace is a chance for young people to gather online and discuss regular topics with mental health professionals.

Open Minds and SANE Australia have partnered to provide anonymous and moderated 24/7 community support

Don’t worry if you missed one of the live topic discussions, there are all available to look back through to gain help from.

Are you feeling over-connected?

While it’s heavily encouraged to stay connected and reach out to as many social groups as possible, you may always feel burdened by the over connectivity.

It’s okay to take some time for yourself and participate in activities outside of technology such as reading a book, doing light exercise, going for a walk in your neighbourhood or cleaning the house.

If you find yourself resorting to social media too often, we put together a guide to minding the mindless scrolling and taking steps to a digital detox.

To stay up-to-date on COVID-19 (coronavirus) and Open Minds, visit our health alert page. This page will be continually updated as new information becomes available.

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