Maintaining a Support System in Quarantine
written by MEDA Undergraduate Intern, Julia Faxon
If you’re like me, or if you’re like a lot of people, perhaps you have recently been spending a bit (or, you know, a lot) more time at home than you usually do. This is good and important– social distancing is our duty to ease burdens on healthcare institutions and protect the most vulnerable in our community. Stay home, stay safe! Flatten the curve! If your state has a lockdown or shelter in place mandate, listen to it!
That being said, these new norms regarding where we can be and who we can be with are difficult transitions to make. We all rely on our communities to support us, especially in times of stress, and many of us are missing those communities while holed up in our respective quarantines. Here are some ways we can maintain connections and show love to our friends, even if it can’t be IRL.
- Schedule, schedule, schedule! If you can, set up regular times to virtually meet with friends and communities. FaceTime, Zoom and Skype are examples of some great ways to do that. My friends and I have set up a Zoom call every Tuesday and Thursday night at 9, and I feel comfort in knowing that I have a set time in my calendar to be with people I love. If you are part of a club or group, it can be helpful to have virtual meetings at your regular meeting times to maintain a sense of normalcy and rhythm. If you aren’t part of a group, there are a lot of free groups online right now, including right here at MEDA. Check out Online ED Free/Low $ Support during COVID 19
- Daily Check-Ins! I have found it very useful to establish an expectation of daily text or call check-ins with friends. This gives you a chance to both practice active listening and ask for what you need each day. In one group chat I’m in, we each share a rose (positive event), bud (thing we’re looking forward to), and thorn (challenge) every night. This is an excellent way to verbalize your highs and lows and keep in regular touch.
- Pen Pals! One of my best friends suggested that we start sending snail mail to each other, and it has been invigorating! It is a real act of love to write a true pen-to-paper letter to someone who means a lot to you, and there is no thrill like the thrill of opening unexpected mail.
- Watch a show! My favorite silver lining of this situation has been discovering Netflix Party, a Google Chrome extension that lets you watch Netflix with others. My friend and I are currently rewatching Glee, and it is an emotional rollercoaster and welcome escape.
- Find creative ways to connect! In addition to watching a Netflix show together, this could mean setting up a virtual happy hour, virtually cooking together, creating a playlist as a group, or discussing a podcast or book.
- Therapy! It is important to take care of our mental health, especially in times of stress. If you are already working with a therapist, ask them if they are offering services remotely. If not, there are many virtual options to speak with therapists, including Betterhelp and Talkspace (which is offering free services to medical workers!) If you need some meal support, check out @covid19eatingsupport on IG right now. They’re doing meals and snacks on their Live every 2 hours. It’s great to have company and therapeutic conversation when you’re struggling to take care of yourself…and even when you’re not.
- Give or ask for help! It is important to remember members of our community who need more aid during these times. If you are in a position where you can give financially, or with your resources or time, look up mutual aid efforts in your area. If you need support, mutual aid is a good place to ask for it. In addition to sending resources to those who need them most, this can help root you in your community and establish a sense of agency.
These are certainly unprecedented and difficult times, but we don’t have to go at them alone. Make sure to take care of yourself, and those around you, by intentionally making space for the people you love.