Shortly before the Covid crisis began, NAMI (National Alliance of Mental Illness) released an article outlining the importance of community for mental health. The article points out the necessity of social connections for humans. From an evolutionary perspective, we’ve always required healthy communities to survive – to divide the responsibilities of hunting, gathering, and child-rearing.
In the modern world, we may be able to physically survive without those connections, but our mental health takes a terrible toll. Community engagement gives us a sense of belonging, a support network when things are hard (hello, quarantine), a sense of purpose, an opportunity to give through volunteering, and a way to work through concerns and problems with conversation and feedback.
Little did NAMI know (really, little did ANY of us know) how much we would need community and connection in 2020. Right now, the ability to connect with our communities in person is borderline impossible. The most you can do is take a socially distanced walk outside with a friend, but without the ability to hug, touch, or even speak without a mask, it’s not the same.
But even though you can’t get ALL the benefits of community in quarantine, it’s still vital to seek out community for your mental health.
You may not be able to touch physically, but you can still:
Find common interests: You can download the Discord app to join local communities, play your favorite PC games, or even have virtual watch parties. Meetup.com also offers ways to meet digitally, through Zoom.
Help your neighbors: The Nextdoor app lets you communicate with your neighbors about activities in your neighborhood, learn about food drives and volunteer opportunities, and more.
Take care of your mental health: Counseling apps like Better Help make it easy to talk to someone about stress, anxiety, depression, and anything else you’re experiencing due to being more isolated than usual.
You can also stay connected with like-minded, wellness-focused peers through our Align Your Life membership. Every month, we focus on a different theme to help you thrive. This month, we’re focusing on Resilience.