How to stay socially connected

There is no doubt this year has started off on a challenging note for everyone, but challenges build resilience and help us grow. Now, more than ever, we need to make an effort to stay socially connected, be kind to ourselves and to others. Just because we can't socialise in person doesn't mean we can't stay socially connected.  

Here are some ways to stay socially connected and look after our wellbeing during a time of social distancing: 

  • Connect with the ANU community through virtual events. We have listed the upcoming ANU virtual events and will continue to update the events listing as new ones are organised.

  • For students from non-English speaking backgrounds, you can practice and enhance your English language skills and meet other international students through the English and Wellbeing Enhancement Series (EWES), run by ANU College, or practice casual conversations with Academic Skills' Let's Speak English groups.

  • Take the time to learn about each other. Set up a virtual meeting (using Skype, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts or Zoom) and learn more about your colleagues, friends or family by asking a series of questions to increase your sense of closeness. You never know what you might find out or have in common. 

  • Do as the Danish do, and implement happiness through hygge

  • Book in regular digital catch-ups. Whether it's a quick 15-minute chat or a virtual lunch gathering, set aside time on a regular basis to check in with friends, family and colleagues. 

  • Try to stick to a daily routine as much as possible and include time to exercise or meditate each day. There are many free online exercise classes and mindfullness apps available for all tastes and wellness levels.  

  • Go old school. How did people stay in touch before phones and the internet? By writing letters and postcards. There is something exciting to find a letter in the mail from a friendly acquaintance. Find a pen pal or write to a loved one and exchange positive messages. Of course, if you don't have the patience for 'snail mail' you can do this via email. 

  • Join a (digital) choir or dance group. Pub Choir has evolved into Couch Choir for now, where they post different parts and harmonies via Facebook and participants can record their part and a video will be created of everyone singing together. Born to Boogie Dance Connection is also launching an online dance class where you can learn a dance and record yourself to be part of a collective choreography. 

  • Re-visit favourite social game apps. Classic social mobile game apps, Draw Something and Words with Friends have recently had a surge of popularity as it allows people to play with others from all around the world through their smartphones. 

  • Host a Netflix Party. Did you know you can watch Netflix simultaneously with friends and chat online at the same time? Put on some popcorn, download the Chrome extension and watch together, while still maintaining your distance. 

  • Go on a virtual tour. Many museums, zoos and landmarks are offering free virtual tours, while Google Arts & Culture (desktop and app) has plenty of content to keep the curious minds occupied. And for those who prefer theme parks, visitors have uploaded Disneyland attractions onto YouTube. 

  • Take a break, and practice mindfulness colouring in. Libraries and museums are sharing their colouring books via the #ColorOurCollections hashtag on Twitter

If you, or anyone you know, is feeling the physical and mental health effects of this year, please don't be afraid to seek support. Students can access 24/7 support via the ANU Wellbeing and Support Line on +61 1300 050 327 or via SMS Text message service on +61 488 884 170.  

You can also find additional information on support services at Be kind to yourselves and to others. 

Page Owner: Wellbeing