With the coronavirus (COVID-19) leading to the cancellation of most community, school, and sporting events, our most vulnerable populations are self-isolating, and feelings of loneliness can become magnified. There is so much uncertainty in the world during times of crisis. However, one thing is certain…we’re all in this together, and we need each other’s support to get through tough times. So how can we support someone in isolation? Let’s commit to being there for them. People might be too humble or shy to ask for support or companionship, even if they desire it. Rather than wait for our loved ones to reach out to us, let’s be proactive.
We may not be able to sit in the same room with a loved one in isolation, but that shouldn’t prevent us from connecting and providing support. Know the guidelines, but this is an opportunity to b-creative with your interactions. And remember there are lots of ways to virtually b-there!
To support someone in isolation or someone that has visitor restrictions:
- Reach out via text, phone call, or video chat to check-in. Let them know you are thinking of them and ask how you can support them
- Avoid saying, “let me know if you need anything,” and instead offer some actionable options like…
- Feeding/caring for a pet, or taking them for a walk
- Making or picking up and delivering a meal (you may need to drop it off at the front door)
- Running an errand
- Picking up some needed items
- Helping with time-critical activities (ex: bills or taxes)
- Offering to babysit a child off from school.
If you are supporting someone that is isolated but still up for activities:
- Watch a show or movie together with Netflix Party. It synchronizes video playback and adds group chat to your favorite Netflix shows.
- Schedule a time to play an online game together (ex: Words with Friends, Trivia Crack, etc.)
- Hop on a video chat like FaceTime or Zoom and challenge them to a game of Hangman, Tic Tac Toe, or Pictionary — get creative!
- Share a favorite old photo and play the game “What/where/when/who.”
- Send a favorite picture or meme that will make them smile. Have fun and put your own captions on a funny image.
- Visit a virtual museum together
- Learn more about your friend and strengthen your bond with a fun, informal interview. Here’s a list of silly and serious questions to ask.
If you are supporting someone that is isolated and feeling stressed or anxious:
- Offer a shoulder to cry on (perhaps only figuratively)
- Check-in with them frequently and be a good listener. Sometimes the best thing you can do is listen as they voice their concerns
- If they talk about stressors that you can help with, offer to help
- Not everything can be fixed, so don’t feel like you need to be a fixer. Just assure them that you will be there for moral support through it all
Have another helpful support tip to add to the list? Contact us to let us know!