Develop new ways to stay connected

Thursday, 28 May 2020

The social distancing and self-isolation policies resulting from COVID-19 are still challenging many of us, especially those who live alone.

Although Australia has been successful in restricting the spread of this new virus, we are not clear of it.

Even though restrictions are relaxing now, people with diabetes, especially older members of our community, are still trying to avoid the risk of infection.

Human beings are social creatures and we rely on connecting and having meaningful daily interactions with others at work, home and socially. The need to distance ourselves from other people and self-isolate at home or in a hotel can impact negatively on our general well-being and mental health. It is particularly challenging for those who live alone.

Recognising the need for social connection during these uncertain times is important, as is developing new ways to stay connected with others. How can we do this? Here are a few suggestions:

1. Use your phone, email, social media and apps such as Skype, FaceTime and WhatsApp to stay in touch with family and friends. Aim to touch base with at least one person every day. If you haven’t used these Apps before, be gentle with yourself. Most people find new technology challenging.

2. Aim to treat someone you know every day. There are many simple ways this can be done:
– send a compliment to someone where it is warranted, via a letter, text, email or telephone call.
– get in touch with someone you have been meaning to connect with
– make plans to meet socially with family or friends once when you finish self-isolation.

3. When you are self-isolating, if an offer of help comes your way, accept it. Sometimes we think it is best to let everyone know we are self-sufficient, but accepting another person’s kindness can be a great way to connect.

4. Stay informed with what’s going on in the outside world. Tune in once a day to the news to find out what’s happening in your local area, as well as Australia and overseas.

5. Consider investing time in a hobby or exercise and join an online group. This might involve building models, craft, music, books or games such as Words Online or chess.

6. Reach out to your doctors and health professionals if you have any health concerns, including mental health concerns. You can connect with your doctors and health professionals by telehealth. Bulk-billed telehealth services are available as a temporary measure until 30th September 2020. Telehealth consultations can occur by telephone or videocalls in place of your normal face to face consultations. Scripts can also be sent electronically to your pharmacy and then delivered to your home.

Self-isolation can be lonely and challenging. Care for yourself by staying connected to others in positive ways to help you get through.

By Helen d’Emden, AdvAPD CDE

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