Distress of disconnection

Mental Health training and consultancy, Person Centred Encounter Group

Disconnection noun – The state of being isolated or detached. The act of detaching one thing from another.

Right now we are all being asked to socially distance and socially isolate. We are told that the only way to survive the Covid-19 crisis is to stay at home; to remove ourselves from friends, social groups, college, work colleagues, non-immediate family, and sports clubs. We are social creatures, pack animals, but now we have to disconnect and separate ourselves from most of the people that support us.

All the normal daily activities and social contacts that help us to feel resilient to distress are now off limits. The daily coffee shop visit, the gossip over a sandwich at lunchtime, the drinks after work, the evening in the gym letting off steam, the Sunday morning yoga class – all of them are out of bounds. But we still have a basic human need for connection – and while the online ‘virtual pub quiz nights’ are not the same, that’s all we’ve got at the moment. So here’s some ideas for keeping sane in these distressing times:

The Social Distancing Festival – https://www.socialdistancingfestival.com/ – Free streamed events showcasing visual art, music, dance and theatre from all over the world.

The Sofa Singers –  https://www.thesofasingers.net/ – The Sofa Singers brings together hundreds of people in real time for 45 minutes of group singing, learning a classic song together.

Online Book Clubhttps://onlinebookclub.org/ – Get reading that book you’ve been meaning to, or join a book club online.

Gardening https://www.rhs.org.uk/ – Good for your mental and physical
health. The Royal Horticultural Society offers lots of tips and advice, from beginners to experts.

Workout and Yoga Videos – https://www.youtube.com/user/thebodycoach1https://www.youtube.com/user/yogawithadriene/featured – there’s loads of freely available YouTube workout videos, including pilates, cardio and strength training online. Most can be done at home with no exercise equipment needed. No excuses!

Couch to 5K – https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/get-runningwith-couch-to-5k/ – The NHS ‘Couch to 5K’ app will train you how to work up towards running 5k in just 9 weeks.

Virtual Tourshttps://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/travel/a31784720/best-virtual-tours/, https://artsandculture.google.com/, https://www.royal.uk/virtual-tours-buckingham-palace –  A world of museums, royal palaces, zoos, aquariums and theme parks to explore from home.

Mindful in Minutes Podcast – https://mindfulinminutes.blubrry.net/ – Take time out to practice Mindfulness. 20-minutes guided meditations available.

Cove – music making app – http://www.cove-app.com/Improve your mental health by making music on this app, encouraging self expression through sounds and music. 

Spotify – music app – https://www.spotify.com/uk/ – free music streaming app, millions of songs to listen to.

Free Books, Films and Musichttps://www.openculture.com/Huge library of free books, films, online courses and music. Includes hundreds of free audio books.

Journal appshttps://reflectly.app/, https://journey.cloud/ – Journaling is a good way to reflect, collect your thoughts and improve your mood.

TED Talkshttps://www.ted.com/talks – Choose from over 3,300 x 18 minute video presentations on a range of thought-provoking topics. 

Open Learn – https://www.open.edu/openlearn/education/freecourses – Provided by The Open University, 1,000 free courses. Courses are available to start at any time.

Online Dating appshttps://tinder.com/, https://bumble.com/, https://www.grindr.com/, https://lumenapp.com/ – there’s so many dating apps to choose freom, LGBTQ+, over 50’s, apps for the shy people. Whatever your type use this time to meet them online.

Get Self Help – https://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/pandemic.htm – Free online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) self help and therapy resources, including worksheets, information sheets and self help MP3s to help you through the pandemic.

Random Acts of Kindness –  https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/kindnessideasoffering acts of kindness to others promotes empathy, compassion and sense of connection with others.

Local Community Volunteers – https://covidmutualaid.org/local-groups/ – Offering support to those who are feeling most isolated, anxious and vulnerable. Sign up to help those in your area.

Share Poetry – http://www.wordstositwith.com/home – The ‘Words to sit with’ collection of contemporary mindfulness poetry and stories to read, and also a space to share your own online contributions.

Surviving the Outbreak – https://www.mind.org.uk/informationsupport/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing/ – 10 ways you can help improve your mental health and wellbeing if you are worried or anxious about the Coronavirus outbreak.

Stop, Breathe & Think  app https://www.stopbreathethink.com/  – Free guided meditations for mindfulness and compassion to help with stress, anxiety, depression and sleep problems. Including a series on ‘Calm Coronavirus Anxiety’.

‘The OCD Stories’ – podcast available on iTunes and Spotify. They have an episode about managing OCD in relation to Coronavirus / COVID-19.


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Person-Centred LGBTQ+ Counsellor and qualified Supervisor in Walthamstow, East London, E17