As someone with lived experience of mental health issues, this is an important time to consider our collective experiences and diverse needs and talk about some things that might be helpful for us to consider while we are home. I’ve found isolation helpful and harmful, and the thought of required isolation an entirely new experience.
Many of us might be feeling an array of emotions. From fear, to numbness, to anger, exhaustion, calmness, and peace- there are an array of things that might be activated. When there are a lot of unknowns, there may be an urgency to fix or plan or figure things out. I want to say that your feelings are valid and sometimes, (through possible good intentions) people may try to censor or change your feelings. Many of us have questions about the future, safety, and real concerns about money, how are families are doing, and how to all be physically together in some instances. You are allowed to have your feelings.
We can use technology to stay connected during these times, from making phone calls to virtual conference calls and connecting over games we can decrease isolation by checking in with each other through various platforms.
I’ve recently started using Marco Polo is a video-based instant messaging system, so you can add your friends from your contact list and engage them in video messaging. What I like about this app is that you can leave your friends video messages that they can check at their leisure and it isn’t it isn’t “live”. It is nice to see the faces of people you might not be able to see for a while like friends and families. I’m using it to keep in touch with my family in New York and in Georgia and my friends in California too. I have a couple of groups, one is a health group where we encourage each other to do some sort of exercise while we are at home.
If your family doesn’t have the same type of video chat (Facetime for iPhone vs. Duo Android) you can use the House Party App to reach across different providers – you can play games together. One of my friends enjoys playing board games and used House Party to connect with everyone and play games together.
- Some of the low tech things to consider, are emailing. I’m part of a group who does writing prompts called round robin, where we write for 12 minutes on one topic, we send a list of topics for a week and we all write on 12 minutes a day and then share our writing and only share strength-based feedback and it helps to have a concrete writing assignment if you like.
- You could start a journal or blog, get creative for Mother’s Day and start colleaguing or crafting.
- Download Duolingo and teach yourself another language. When you go to the store, grab stamps and envelopes and/or postcards and mail real letters.
- Do some vision boarding- Watch YouTube to learn some new do it at home skills.
- Interview someone you admire (maybe your grandparents or grandchildren) over the phone and hear their stories (make sure you save the audio file) Can you create a story book?
- Create a Google document with shows or movies you’re watching and share it among your family and friends.
- Write a book with your friends and family, and pick a character and each member writes a chapter about their adventure and read loud to other.