Staying connected while staying home
Staying at home during a time of physical distancing can leave us feeling isolated and alone. Staying connected with others is important for self-care and maintaining emotional wellness. Let’s look at a few of the ways that we can remain socially close while physically distant.
Staying connected with friends and family
A good place to start connecting is by replicating what you were familiar with before the pandemic. Reaching out to friends and family through phone calls and social media can maintain relationships. Even a short check-in to see how their week is going can be beneficial!
Soomin Han, an environmental studies student, is using this time to reconnect with friends. Even though she is juggling a full course-load, volunteering, and a part-time job, Soomin emphasized the importance of staying connected.
“I have been making an effort to reach out to friends that I haven’t talked to in a while to make sure everyone is doing well. We do what we would do in real life, cook together at the same time but now over a video call, and that has been a helpful way to catch up.”
Connecting via video lets us share many social activities even while we stay at home. There are many free video calling platforms available, which allow you to host group calls, share screens, and recreate your favorite social gatherings.Here are some fun, free activities you can do with a friend, your kids, or a neighbour:
- Sign up for a free course through Coursera or the Canadian Network for Arts and Learning
- Take advantage of free arts and music resources for children and teens
- Visit one of the many Canadian museums providing virtual tours of their exhibits
- Take part in a historical project, like the Canadian Museum for Human Rights invitation for two-minute videos on your experience of the COVID-19 pandemic
- Check out a live show as musicians take their concerts online
Staying connected with university
As we move to distance learning, many students are finding it challenging to stay focused on the obligations of school and to stay connected with their classmates, professors and academic advisors.
Creating virtual study groups can help provide accountability and support. Students can study together and share strategies for transitioning to online classes. For graduate students, scheduling a standing meeting with supervisors can be another way to maintain a strong connection to the university.
All student support offices remain open and accessible by phone, video calls, email and other online platforms. Students can review recent policy changes and develop a course or degree plan with an academic advisor, receive support in your job search and career plan from Career Services, access mental health supports at the Student Counselling Centre, and much more.
Staying connected through volunteering and employment:
With the arrival of the COVID pandemic, many opportunities to volunteer and lend assistance as well as obtain employment are presenting themselves and can be an excellent way to stay connected with community. While volunteering is a valuable way to spend your time, remember to prioritize your academic commitments and personal wellbeing.
Before jumping in, be sure to read our Volunteering during COVID-19: a how-to guide (link coming) and Job search during COVID-19 article. Whether you are new to volunteering or already involved, the guide shares some important considerations as you decide when, where, and how to volunteer.
Finding the right balance
Just like other transitions, finding the right balance will take some time. The balance of studying, self-care, spending time with friends and family, volunteering and other obligations looks different for everyone, but hopefully this article has given you a few more ways to stay connected!