Restrictions and physical distancing measures related to COVID-19 continue to impact our lives and ability to spend time together in person. Connecting virtually for school, work and social activities can feel draining and difficult at times. It’s OK if you’re finding it hard to support yourself and those around you. While everyone adapts to change differently, there are things you can do to let the people in your life know you’re there for them and that they’re not alone. Here, Kids Help Phone shares unique ways you can stay in touch with friends, family and loved ones to show your support, create deeper connections and spend time together in meaningful ways.
Tips to start a conversation in a supportive way
There are many different ways to reach out to a friend, family member or loved one and support them in feeling heard and valued. You may want to try one of the following conversation starters:
How are you today? What’s been on your mind recently?
Be specific about the time frame you’re asking about so the question doesn’t feel overwhelming. This may encourage them to share how they’ve been feeling in a more honest way.
I’ve been thinking of you lately. What’s new?
Let them know they’ve been on your mind so they can see that you genuinely care before inviting them to open up.
________ reminded me of you the other day. How are things?
Mention something positive or meaningful that brought them to your mind. Maybe it was a scene from a movie, a phrase, a location or a shared memory, etc. Telling them about these reminders lets them know they have a presence in your life, even when you’re not in touch.
How are you feeling about the recent rules and regulations?
COVID-19 restrictions are changing often and it’s understandable if this impacts someone’s mood or well-being. Ask about their reaction or response to a recent change. If it’s stricter than where you are, see if there’s anything you can do to support them if you’re able to.
What can I do to support you right now?
It can be scary to reach out for help. Give them permission to ask you for support. By taking the first step and offering, they’ll know you’re someone they can trust and come to if/when they need it.
I miss you / I’m thinking of you / I’m here for you
Simple messages that let them know you’re thinking of them without expecting a response can go a long way to showing that you care about their well-being.
It can be difficult to know how to support someone if they’re lonely or going through a rough patch, so before asking these questions, be sure to check in with yourself first. If you’re having a hard time, or don’t think you’ll have the time to talk, you may want to hold off on asking specific questions until you feel ready.
Creative ways to connect at a distance
If you’re struggling to think of new and exciting ways to connect, you can use the ideas here to check in, stay in touch and spend time together:
- play a game together — over the phone, online or through an app
- go for a walk and show them something interesting in your area (at a physical distance or through video)
- send gifs, pictures or memes that remind you of them
- share a link to a song or playlist you enjoyed recently
- mail a handwritten letter or send printed photos of a meaningful memory
- create a virtual book club — talk about a recent article / book you’ve read or a podcast you listened to
- host a paint night (at a physical distance or through video)
- make an adventure list — things to look forward to when you’re able to visit to places you enjoy
- cook or enjoy a meal together through video
- visit a museum together through a virtual tour
- doodle, colour or do a word search while chatting on the phone
These suggestions can help create open communication with friends, family and loved ones. Asking genuine questions and engaging in fun activities can reduce the isolation that many of us may be experiencing. If you’d like to learn more, you can access additional resources on loneliness or contact someone you trust for support. And remember, it’s important to prioritize your own mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health.
Where can I find more resources?
You can find Kids Help Phone’s trustworthy info, first-hand experiences and more related to supporting others and navigating COVID-19 below. These tips and tools may be helpful to you and your loved ones as you look to connect in meaningful ways.
Kids Help Phone is here for you during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re struggling with loneliness or isolation while practising physical distancing, it’s important to remember there are still ways to connect for support.