← Articles15 April 2020

Keeping up the chat during lockdown

Keeping up the chat during lockdown

Staying in touch with your family and friends is more important now than ever before. We’re all in this together, so it helps to talk to others about what’s going on and how you’re feeling. Here are some strategies for making sure you get enough connection with others during your lockdown day.

Get your family to help with downloading the right apps

If you’ve resisted using phone communication apps like Messenger, WhatsApp and Viber, now’s the time to embrace new technology. Ask someone in your family for help with downloading the best app for you, then get them to coach you on using it. This strategy will also help you to master using a video app like Zoom or Skype. You can make a teen or 20-something family member feel really useful by calling on their digital skills.

Phone a friend every day

If you’re in a bubble of just one or two, talking to other people every day is important for your mental health. It helps to prevent cabin fever and, hopefully, will give you a laugh or two as you share lockdown experiences. Opening up to friends and family about your concerns helps you to process the world’s current weird situation. You can help them with their concerns too. A problem shared is a problem halved.

Learn how to use video chat

Seeing people while you’re talking to them lets you get more from the interaction. You can watch their expressions, make eye contact and look at things they want to show you, like their recently-completed knitting or colouring-in project. During the Covid-19 crisis, video chat has sky rocketed because it provides the face-to-face contact humans need. Using your phone, you can make video calls with Messenger, Viber and WhatsApp. You can also download the Zoom Cloud Meetings app. If you have a laptop, tablet (like an iPad) or desktop computer, Zoom or Skype are your best bets for no-cost video chat.

Start a virtual book club

Think of all the friends and family members you know who love books, then imagine them all in a room taking turns to talk about their latest reads. You can make this happen during lockdown with a Zoom group meeting. To ensure it’s free, keep your meeting to 40 minutes or less.

Another way to run your book club is with a Facebook Messenger group. Create a group of keen readers, then encourage everyone to post quick reviews of books they loved or hated. It becomes a great source of reference when you’re looking for a new book to download to your e-reader.

Start a TV and movies club

You can use the book club approaches described above to have group chats about what’s good to watch on TV, Netflix, Lightbox and TVNZ streaming. You’ll soon discover who shares your tastes; you might also be encouraged to step away from your comfort zone and watch programmes or movies that you wouldn’t usually be attracted to.

Share your favourite recipes on Facebook or Instagram

Food is a major source of comfort during challenging times. It’s possible you have more time on your hands for creating culinary masterpieces or dipping into your favourite old recipes. Use your phone to capture images of the results, then photograph the recipe as well. Together they’ll make a great Facebook or Instagram post. The resulting comments from friends and family are another form of conversation to lighten your day.

Write emails or letters

Writing to someone is a classic way to communicate and it’s good for your soul. Writing promotes mindfulness, because it requires you to slow down and put thought into the content of your letter. It also allows you to reflect on a difficult situation, which helps your brain to digest and process what’s going on. And, possibly best of all, it will make somebody happy. When they receive your letter – by email or post – they’ll feel valued and cared for. Then you can look forward to receiving a reply, which will make you feel valued in return.