We all feel a little more wary about coming out of our shells.
As the Government talk about ‘cautious hugging’ some people will undoubtedly still not want to meet face to face.
Technology can be great but sometimes it can also seem daunting, so I’d like to share a couple of easy ways to speak with other people and ‘see their faces’.
If you all have smartphones you can create a WhatsApp group and just send each other messages, have voice calls or even have video calls. Though you must have a smartphone running the app to be able to use WhatsApp, you can also open it in a web browser by using your phone camera to point at a QR code that shows on the screen.
This is about the easiest way of having a video call with someone. There is no downloading of apps but you’ll need a web camera and microphone, which most laptops have.
You create an account and then you have a room name (e.g. whereby.com/acticheck) that you invite other people to. Once they’ve clicked on the link and agreed for their camera to be used for the session you’ll be chatting away.
There is a free version which limits you to 100 participants (I’m going to have to find some more friends) and 45 minutes. But you can stop and start again. It’s a great way of catching up with people including those who might be put off by more technical solutions and is 100% Covid safe!
You can read more about getting started with Whereby here.
An ‘infodemic’ is when there is a rapid and far-reaching spread of both accurate and inaccurate information about something. It can make it difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff.
Isaac Asimov defined anti-intellectualism as the attitude that: “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”
But an infodemic bombards us with so much information that it is difficult to know what is based on knowledge and what is based on ignorance.
The case in point is information around Covid -19. It is very easy to find conflicting information online which can make us very confused about what to do for the best.
The world health organisation have put out these Top tips for navigating the infodemic as a set of filters to decide how much faith we should have in the information we come across.
The words in the picture are reproduced below so that those who may have difficulty reading from a picture can also read them.
If you are finding that things are becoming overwhelming it is important to talk to someone. This may come naturally to some people but it may be more difficult, and that’s OK too. If you have a close friend or family member that you could confide in then start here, as they know you better than anyone.
If you feel uncomfortable speaking to someone that you know then a health professional, or support service such as the Samaritans (details are below) will be able to offer you support and advice as they are trained professionals. Many people say that they feel much better when they get things off their chest.
Other ways to get back on top include upping your levels of activity – studies have shown that exercise releases chemicals in your body that improve your mood and reduce stress. In particular, exercises that have a rhythm such as running, walking, swimming and dancing have been shown to help mental health.
The NHS recommends 5 steps to mental well being (which can be accessed below), which provide 5 clear steps with easy to understand do’s and don’ts. As well as connecting with others and exercise, they also recommend learning new skills that will help boost your confidence, giving to others to give you a sense of self-worth and practicing mindfulness.
It is important to note that everyone is different, and techniques that work for some people, may not work for others. Try out a few to see which ones are right for you, and if you reassess your feelings on the scale and still find you are overwhelmed, it is important to seek medical advice. This may seem daunting at first but remember, they are trained professionals who aren’t there to judge, they are there to give you a helping hand and get you back on your feet.
The Samaritans – 116123
Mind infoline: 0300 123 3393
Age UK – 0800 678 1602