Based on the current official advice on the corona-virus (COVID-19) health crisis, our advice to you is to put off planned neighbourhood events until the health authorities tell us that meeting face-to-face is safe again. But while we are having to distance ourselves physically, we should continue our social connections with others.
Ideas to stay Socially Connected with Neighbours while Physically Distancing:
- Start simply! Drop a note into your neighbours letterbox to say hello, make a phone call or smile and say hello as you walk past your neighbours front yard.
- Set-up a Facebook group: invite your neighbours to join so you can support one another. This enables people to communicate to the group and with individuals through Messenger. Or use WhatsApp if you prefer. Or an email group. (Be prepared that not everyone will want to connect in these ways, but those who are familiar with these platforms may find them useful tools.)
- Join your existing local Neighbourhood Facebook group (where one exists): stay connected with others and give and receive help. Sharing concerns and worries is an important way to stay mentally healthy.
- Make a list of vulnerable people with phone numbers and arrange volunteers to call people regularly to check on their well-being.
- Letterbox-drop a flyer offering help to your neighbours. Download our template here.
- Set-up a sharing/helping circle to share a meal, offer some toilet paper, hand sanitiser or other items in need. You might even share favourite recipes with what’s in your pantry.
- Set-up a Neighbourhood Happy Hour = having fun and staying connected – at a distance!
- How about Singing from the Balconies like in Italy!
- Have a video catch up with your neighbours: Use Zoom, Skype or the many other video platforms from the comfort of everyone’s lounge rooms. Catch ups, celebrations, discussions on a range of topics, book clubs, playgroups and more can be done this way.
- Walk and talk: Talk to a neighbour on the phone as you get your exercise.
Fun and Inspiration from Around the World!
- Couch Choirs are popping up around the world-bringing joy in the comfort of your own loungeroom!
- Start a Rainbow Hunt in your neighbourhood!
- Start a Bear Hunt and get your kids out walking the block and on the look-out to brighten their day.
Share your ideas with us: Hello@NeighbourhoodConnect.org.au
Follow advice and stay safe…
- Current advice suggests that public gatherings, excluding household members, should include a maximum of two people. That means that the most we can do in person is a chat over the fence or in our driveways, or as we walk by during allowed daily exercise (always staying 1.5 metres apart).
- Advice also suggests everyone should stay home unless you are: shopping for essentials, receiving medical care, exercising or travelling to work or education. Read more.
When you have to stay home and self isolate, online and PC games can be a great way to virtually meet up with others, have some fun and keep up your spirits up. Here’s some suggestions for online games to play together.
Look after and nurture yourself
In the current situation of social distance and quarantine, many people are being forced to stay home. This unexpected and rapid change to our routine can be restful for some but is perhaps stressful for others. Most importantly, be mindful that looking after your own well-being and mental health will help you to continue to be able to support others during this time.
Tips to nurture yourself:
- Keep a healthy perspective – access quality information and remember this period of isolation is temporary to avoid the spread of the virus. Here are some useful tips from BeyondBlue.
- Walk in nature – spending time in the outdoors is a great way to lift your spirits and lose that extra stress you might be carrying. Take time to breathe the fresh air, watch a sunset or embrace the quietness.
- Have an Unplugged day – shut down your phone, turn off the WiFi and spend a day totally uninterrupted.
- Try out some new recipes – cooking and experimenting in the kitchen can be a fun and creative way to fill in the extra time at home. Challenge yourself to try something new or make something to share with a special friend or neighbour.
For the latest official advice on the Corona Virus (COVID-19), see www.Australia.gov.au.