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Virtual Well-Being

photo with text reading tips for virtual well-beingFeeling connected looks a lot different in the age of COVID-19, but that does not mean that we cannot cultivate relationships while also staying safely physically distanced.

Creativity.
The same approach that you used to connect with others one on one and in groups may not apply now.  It’s sometimes easier to get creative in this new format rather than trying to recreate things done in person. Virtual theme parties, games, and volunteer opportunities all are great ways to connect. 

  • Humor and silliness. Finding ways to liven up someone’s day will also make yours better and allow for positive conversations that are crucial to our well-being in times of difficulty.  Start meetings or hangouts with a fun icebreaker, show and tell, start conversations by asking about what’s going well, or find other ways to share a laugh.
  • Genuine engagement. We’re all adapting to a format that creates different opportunities for genuine conversation.  Use breakout rooms, private messaging, or just share a compliment or something you have in common with someone to start a conversation. Try not to leave anyone hanging in a zoom session, respond to their share!  Call friends and family.  Chances are, if you’re feeling lonely, someone else is too.  Don’t hold back.

Maintain a Healthy Tech Balance.
While phones and technology are important for staying connected, excess phone and social media usage are linked to depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, etc. Social media can also negatively impact our attention span by training our brain to crave constant visual stimuli.

  • Understand your relationship with your phone. Do you use it to pass time? Do you use it to stalk what your friends are up to? What apps make you feel better? Or worse? Do you close the same apps then open them again for no reason? Do you hear phantom notifications?
  • Our phones and the apps have been designed to be addictive. Turn your phone on grayscale. The grayscale mutes the colors, tricking us to not want to be on our phone for long periods of time because it’s not as pretty anymore.
  • Practice creating space. Leave your phone in a separate room or location for meals and work time. Creating a space specifically for work, sleep, and eating will help you enjoy the present. Incorporate non-digital activities into your daily routine. Go for a walk without your phone, sit outside, read before bed, draw, write in your journal.

Zoom.
While zoom classes aren’t ideal, there are ways to make social connections:

  • Private message someone. About something class-related, or maybe they have a cool poster in their room, or maybe you like their glasses. Seriously, any interaction will be appreciated.
  • Set your screen to gallery view. Being able to see all your classmates will make the class time feel more “real.”
  • Go to office hours. Try getting to know your professors as well as your classmates; they miss people too.

"Here’s a tool to check for problematic phone habits. I scored 14/15 for transparency! Speaking from personal experience, my phone habits have significantly deteriorated since COVID."  - E.L. '2021