Original article posted on the RUOK website 1st July 2021
With Australians being encouraged to physically distance and many in lockdown, it’s important that we stay connected and lend our support those who are struggling with the uncertainty.
It’s normal to feel a range of emotions in these challenging times. It may be stress, anxiety, fear, sadness, disappointment, frustration or panic. Put simply, it’s very normal to not feel OK. That’s why it’s important we #stayconnected, reach out to our friends, family and co-workers and genuinely ask, “are you OK?” To help, we’ve put together a list of the ways people can maintain connections with the people in their world while physically distancing or in lockdown. Find a way to ask, R U OK?
Where it’s safe to do so, you can still connect face-to-face. Why not organise a walk with someone to catch up and ask them how they’re doing? If that’s not an option you can still connect by giving them a call, sending them a text, Snapping them, setting up a video call or even sliding into their DMs. Remember, if you know people that live alone or could be doing it extra tough, a friendly message from you can show them they’re supported, cared for and have someone who’s ready to listen. Find a way to ask, “are you OK?” it could change a life.
Go for a walk or run with friends, head down to the park to kick a footy together (remember to follow the COVID-safe guidelines), get a round of golf in with that friend you’ve been meaning to catch up with for ages – you could even get into the Tour de France spirit by dusting off your bike and going for a ride with a mate. If you can’t get outside together, consider what you can do over a video call or online. Getting moving on screen together is a great way to connect and get the endorphins and conversation flowing.
The rules vary depending on location, so check the guidance from the health department in your state or territory before heading out for a workout while restrictions are in place. Enjoy a dinner date
A sit-down meal might not be possible during lockdown, but plenty of restaurants are offering great takeaway and delivery deals. Why not order in or prepare your own mean and share it virtually with a friend. You can set up a video chat over Facetime, Skype or Zoom and keep enjoying those culinary delights and chatter. Use the time to talk about what shows you’ve been streaming in lockdown, that sourdough you tried to make from scratch and ask them how they are feeling. It’s not just dinner, either. Friday after-work bonding, midweek trivia, movie nights and Sunday family dinner can all be moved online. Use our free Connection Cards If you’re feeling well and able to support someone, practically or emotionally, you can use our ‘Connection Cards’ to let them know you’re there to help now and for as long as they need.
Beyond Blue and SANE Australia forums and eFriend
We want everyone to feel connected and have support around them, to help through life’s ups and downs. Sometimes people don’t have a strong network or want to connect with other people for support, referral and advice. Online forums, like those from Beyond Blue and SANE Australia, can be safe spaces for people to connect, chat about what they are going through and access resources to help support them.
eFriend is a free service that service that allows people who are feeling low, lonely or isolated to virtually connect via video, phone or online chat with peer workers who can offer insight, advice or empathise from their own lived experience.
If you are struggling or need some extra support, talking about it with someone you trust can help. If you need immediate or professional support, we encourage you to connect with a service that can help you, like the Beyond Blue Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing and Support Service available here and 1800 512 348.
A directory of Australian support providers can be found here.