• Posted 06/04/2020 3:45am

Staying Connected In Isolation


Now we’re at COVID-19 Alert Level Four, there is a lot of emotion and a lot of stress. 


About ten years ago we had the Christchurch Earthquakes and the compassion, community and connectivity that happened as a result of it was truly inspirational. 


Of course last year we saw something similar after the March 15th tragedy and again the connection and love we showed one another was just outstanding. 


Staying connected in social isolation


At this time when we’re talking about isolation and social distancing, I want to encourage you that it’s not the same as losing the emotional connection to other people. Have you checked on your neighbours recently? Just touched base to ask how they are doing? You can call over the fence or maybe leave a little note in their letterbox. Do you have their phone number and do they have yours? When was the last time you asked them what’s happening in their world?


With schools shut down across the country, children are now staying home. This is adding extra pressures to people in essential services who are still going to work, as well as those trying to work from home while the country is in lockdown. Can you reach out to parents, especially those with newborns to ask how they are coping. New parents are missing out on the regular support networks that come from Plunket groups and the like. If you know of someone pregnant at the moment or with a newborn, there are still many ways you can reach out and offer them support without entering their ‘bubble.’


The other special population are our elderly. They may not have as much access to technology and may rely more on phone calls to stay connected with family or people around them. Those over 60 have shown to be far more susceptible to the COVID-19 virus, and so while we need to stay physically apart to make sure they are protected, it’s more important than ever to let them know they are loved and that you’re thinking of them.


Self-Isolation, not social isolation


When you are going for a walk or exercising outside, you can still smile and wave to people you see while keeping your distance. You can stay 2 metres apart and still be friendly.


Social distancing and self-isolation do not have to mean ‘social isolation.’ We don’t have to, and for our own sakes we should not let this time of quarantine cut us off from those around us.


Humans are social animals and we require ‘contact’ and affection from others. While we can’t do that physically in the form of handshakes and hugs anymore, what are other ways you can tell someone what they mean to you?


Simply picking up the phone is a great place to start. Texts and Facebook posts are ok, but hearing someone else’s voice goes so much further. The human voice is a gift that most of us have, and it costs nothing to share some words of kindness with another.If you have the technology and the internet bandwidth, look to video calling as a way to have virtual coffee dates or 5 o’clock drinks or whatever you would normally do to socialise.


Share the love and stay positive. We are all in this together. Thank you for staying home and playing an important role in halting the spread of COVID-19 around Christchurch and New Zealand.


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