The power of staying connected during Covid 19 lockdown
Having moved to New Zealand just over 4 years ago as a backpacker, I have very much been used to staying connected with friends and family through the means of Whatsapp, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. So, I am always tuned in to at least two countries’ day-to-day news and updates from my family and friends.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the power of social media has truly come to light. A few days before Jacinda announced our Level 2 status, I was feeling extremely overwhelmed and anxious about the impending situation. I found myself tuned into the news in the UK, worried about family and friends there, all the while wondering what was next for New Zealand. I found myself experiencing a mass overload of news and speculation, which isn’t healthy for anyone!
After Jacinda clarified where we were going as a country, and it looked like a lockdown was imminent, I felt relieved to know we had a plan to tackle this as a country. That weekend, I had my regular chat with my mum on the phone. After hearing about how her week was, it was entirely different from what had been portrayed on social media. I felt a big sigh of relief as she talked me through her week, how she was working from home, only going for walks and to the supermarket. She was absolutely fine, which, in turn, helped me feel better.
Since the lockdown in New Zealand, I have utilised social media less so as a news outlet and more for the actual ‘social’ aspect and interaction. As well as my Sunday evening calls with my mum, I have FaceTimed my 82-year-old Nanny, who delighted in showing me her garden and her new patchwork project. All the while, keeping in touch with my other grandparents through WhatsApp messages, videos, and photos. My UK friends and I have been sharing short, amusing videos from our workspaces, venting our frustrations of the loud-over-zealous typists and phone ‘shouters’ with whom we share our bubble. We have been sending voice notes while out on our walks, talking about our creative dinner plans and how we are spending our loved one’s birthdays while having giggles across the 12,000 miles that can feel like none by just by hearing their voices.
These moments are something very unique to this limbo lockdown time we are in. Hearing everyone’s voices and seeing their faces allows me to feel connected while still creating some kind of memories with my loved ones, not just getting lost in the millions of stranger’s voices on various social channels.
We are fortunate to be living in an age where we can access information in a heartbeat. But, as important as it is to be across what is going on around us, it is more important to be keeping in touch with family. After all, it’s what makes us human.
Kia Kaha. Stay safe, stay connected.