Distancing youth: how to cope during COVID-19

Distancing youth: how to cope during COVID-19

As a young adult, being social is a key part of my day-to-day life. With the rise of COVID-19 in Australia, it’s essential that we all play our part to distance from everyone outside our immediate household, and stop the spread of the disease.

The reality is, the harder we work together to do this, the less time we will have to do it for! It’s in our best interest as a community to comply, so that we can get back to our “normal” day to day activities sooner. This has shown to be true in other countries that have been hit hard by the virus.

However, distancing does not mean losing touch with your friends and extended family. It’s important to check in our loved ones, pick up the phone, start a WhatsApp or Messenger group, set up a Google Hangout or Skype Group, instead of cancelling an event. There’s lots of ways that we can spend time together remotely, in the safety of our homes.

Don’t Cancel Your Social Event – Take It Online: To go into more detail about events, a close friend’s birthday is coming up this weekend, and we had previously planned to go wine tasting outside of the city. Instead of cancelling the event, my friend set up a Google Hangout so that we can enjoy a wine together and chat as a large group from our homes, this weekend! This takes less than five minutes to do (Skype is also another great alternative), don’t feel like you need to cancel time with your friends because of COVID-19. Visit this page for support with Google Hangouts.

Binge Watch Your Favourite Shows Together: Everyone loves a Netflix binge, and now that we’ve been told to stay home, we should celebrate this, instead of feeling embarrassed that we spent eight hours straight watching our favourite series, instead of being active. Talk with your friends and family and find new shows you haven’t watched, and start watching them together remotely. Set a target of how many episodes to watch by a certain date, and catch up over the phone or Google Hangouts to discuss. (P.S. If you want to get really creative, you can share screens on your devices, to simulate actually watching the shows together offline.)

Don’t forget to walk and “breathe”: Remember fresh air and sunlight is the cure for so many things, and is important for our overall mental health. Take that walk through the park near your house, or along the coast, remembering to keep at least two metres between you and anyone else around you. If this is something that would also appeal to your friends, set up a common time to walk (in separate locations near your respective homes), and call or video call them while you’re exercising. This way we can keep group exercise going – safely – and motivate each other! The Nike Run Club and Nike Training Club apps are great portals for those who have temporarily suspended going to the gym or F45.

Get Creative With Your Meals: Personally, I love cooking and lifestyle shows. Now is the time to indulge. Open up that old cookbook that is collecting dust on the mantelpiece, and try something new. Remember, supermarkets are going to stay open no matter what, so don’t fall into the trap of getting take-out every single day, experiment with food and enjoy the added time to prepare delicious meals. Your body and mind will thank you for it! However, it’s also important to continue supporting our local businesses, so don’t feel bad about getting take-out periodically. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out a month’s worth of healthy meal plans from taste.com.au.

Re-Design Your Living Space: Wardrobe clean out and spring-cleaning that you’ve been putting off? We all have more spare time at home now, so it’s time to “spark joy” in our living spaces. No more excuses. I live by the mantra, treat your home as if it were a luxury hotel you want to stay in on a holiday. There’s plenty of ways to spruce up your living space inexpensively. Most of the time it’s about de-cluttering, and having a nice smell running through the area, from a scented candle or incense burner. Check out Marie Kondo’s official website as a place to start.

Take on some Professional Development: If you’ve been considering doing an online course but keep delaying due to other commitments, now is the time. We can use the time productively at home to harness our professional development. Many of the world’s top universities offer online courses that can be completed at home, catering to every level of time and skill investment, on portals such as Coursera. Many courses are FREE to audit, with a low-cost option if you wish to do assessments and gain a completion certificate. A great place to start is Yale’s course about happiness, ‘The Science of Wellbeing’, which is FREE to audit, and an international hit, with over one million enrolments on Coursera.

Lastly, remember not too be too hard on yourself and work out what helps you relax during this time, build the perfect playlist to wind down before bed at night and indulge in a great book or TV series.

Paul Sourlos


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