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This content is taken from the University of Reading's online course, COVID-19: Helping Young People Manage Low Mood and Depression. Join the course to learn more.
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Keeping connected with others

These unusual times have meant that the way in which we connect and socialise, has changed drastically. Young people in particular may be missing this aspect of their lives and feel isolated and unconnected as a result.

It’s therefore really important to maintain regular connections with friends, peers, family, groups and other organisations, even if the way we do this now looks very different. Fortunately, we live in an age where we have many devices that can be used for ‘virtual’ meetups. We can join coffee dates, group exercises, gatherings with friends, catch-ups with our colleagues or teachers, and work meetings from our homes. Maintaining this contact will keep some normality, and a good structure for our day.

Visit the following websites for further guidance around maintaining social contact:

It’s likely that some of your conversations at the moment will involve discussing how you are feeling about the COVID-19 pandemic. Sharing feelings with others can be very helpful and make us realise we are not alone. It’s likely that most people are experiencing ups and downs and will have good days and bad days.

Technology use

It’s important to bear in mind, that whilst technology is a blessing for staying in contact with others, it can also provide us with a constant reminder of the situation and negative messages from the news and social media (it’s also important to remember that social media news and images are often not based on facts). Distancing yourself from these negative messages and resisting the urge to frequently check social media can be very helpful in promoting a more positive mood, particularly if you find yourself struggling.

Because of your new working or studying arrangements, you may find yourself using screens for longer than you might normally do. This is not necessarily an issue and it may be in everyone’s interest to relax rules around screen time during this period. You can read this article on the BBC website for an interesting discussion on this issue.

Maintaining balance

The key is to maintain a balance between staying connected, but also not spending too much time on devices or listening to negative things on social media from individuals with whom you don’t have a relationship.

If you notice your mood dipping, turn the devices off for a while and do something active or focus on what interests you instead. It’s fine to want some time to yourself each day but it’s also worth spending time with other members of your household to break up your day and stay connected.

Before we move on to thinking about good sleeping habits in the next Step, we’d love to read your comments on one or more of the following:

What have you been doing to maintain social contact? What technology have you been using? What have you found helpful and what have you found challenging? Share your thoughts in the comment area below.

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This article is from the free online course:

COVID-19: Helping Young People Manage Low Mood and Depression

University of Reading