Staying connected with others in our community is always important and even more critical at a time where there is more physical distance between us all.
Connect and socialise
We know positive social support can improve our capacity to cope with stress. But right now we’re being asked to keep our distance from others to minimise the spread of COVID-19.
Some wonderful initiatives have emerged showing how much people have come together to support each other, even while remaining physically apart. We know we’re stronger together.
While many people are turning to social media and other digital platforms to connect with their networks and community, there are a range of creative opportunities to help us stay connected, even when we must be apart, providing important human contact that is unmediated by a computer screen.
- Assist people in your life and community who may be more vulnerable - ‘Connection cards’ or ‘Hello neighbour’ cards can be put in letterboxes to offer assistance with delivering groceries, collecting medicines, dog-walking, meal delivery, running errands or having a chat. Showing kindness to others not only helps them, but can also increase your sense of purpose and value, improving your own wellbeing.
- Socially-distanced cups of tea, ‘happy hours’ or picnic teas at the end of driveways, or over the fence with neighbours.
- Make a phone call to check in with your friends, family, and neighbours regularly (especially those with no access to the internet or who cannot easily use the internet to shop online).
- Set up a gratitude tree – where every member posts a message, sends an email or sends a text to other members to share something they are grateful for.
- Find a buddy to set daily challenges with, check in daily to stay motivated; these could include a healthy habit, a mindful practice, a creative pursuit.
- Set dates and times to watch the same TV shows/movies with someone and message each other your thoughts along the way.
- Join your local community centre’s social media pages. This will keep you up to date with what’s going on directly around you and may offer ways to participate in community connection opportunities such as a ‘community/neighbourhood rainbow’ on your front fence or in a window.
- Now more than ever we need to stay socially connected with friends, family and our neighbours. Visit Neighbourhood Connect.
FriendLine gives anyone who would like the opportunity to have a friendly, casual chat with an experienced volunteer. Conversations can be about anything and everything and volunteers will talk about themselves as well as listen.
The service is free and anonymous, and available everyday 2.00 pm – 8.00 pm. The South Australian phone number is 08 7078 6229 or free call 1800 424 287.
FriendLine is not a crisis service. For support in a crisis contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Connecting through your local council
Councils are offering a variety of services or programs in order to address social isolation and create opportunities for people to participate in the life of the community during this challenging time.
Councils manage and maintain thousands of parks and open spaces across the state and continue to provide opportunities for physical activity and an escape for many otherwise confined to their homes.
SA councils are developing new and innovative ways to connect with their communities to provide initiatives such as chat lines for people to connect on line, provision of shopping services for those needing support or online forums to engage, share ideas and learn from others.
Councils continue to engage with their communities by providing limited library services such as online children’s story times and play groups and click and collect library services.
Find out what is happening in your local area by visiting your council’s website: find your council through the Local Government Association.