Covid-19 continues to get in the way of our lives. In the past two years, many of us have had to quickly learn how to work, rest and play in our homes. While we've long spoken about the "new normal," the reality is that restrictions continue to dictate what we can and cannot do.
And, now, with the prospect of another winter spent indoors with social distancing materially diminishing our abilities to meet up with friends and family, we will all need to learn how to leverage technology even further to ensure that we stay connected and healthy. Here, we look at the software that could help you maintain your social ties and stay both mentally and physically healthy from the safety of your own home.
Why we need to stay connected
Before we look at the apps and software available to help keep us connected this winter, it can be beneficial to highlight the reasons why we need to ensure we’re ready for potential restrictions.
Firstly, our mental health is incredibly important. Staying connected with loved ones is a crucial way to keep our moods elevated and from not sinking to darker places. Many people struggle with depressive episodes when dealing with confinement and loneliness, which is something lockdown measures can sadly exacerbate.
Secondly, you can materially improve your quality of life once you know how to use an internet connection to help you run your day to day life. If you are still working, your computer can help you work from home to stay safe from infections. But, also, you can have so much delivered to your door these days that can help you with groceries as well as hobbies to help you while away the time.
Software to help keep you healthy this winter
Here are our suggestions on software to swot up in preparation for a winter where social distancing restrictions will seriously impact our ability to leave our homes easily.
Video Call Technologies
The pandemic has seen many of us install Zoom on our phones and computers. It is a piece of technology designed to hold video conferences and meetings. In practice, however, it merely allows people to have a group video call. Several other apps allow you to do similar things. Skype has been around for years and is reliable, while Google Hangouts or Houseparty are also widely used.
Social media platforms
Using social media platforms to stay connected is a quick and fun way to ensure that you know what’s going on in your friends and family’s lives. There are so many to choose from these days. Facebook is an oldie, but a goodie, as so many of your contacts will be using it too. This makes staying connected so much easier. However, many others also have millions of users. So if Facebook isn’t your thing, other widely used social media platforms can still help you stay connected too. Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter, amongst many many others, are all incredibly popular.
Messaging apps are another quick win when it comes to staying connected. While, like social media platforms, it relies on your friends and family using the same messaging service, the speed with which we can send people a text message is sometimes all we need to help keep us feel connected to the outside world. Some messaging apps also have other features like video calls which can be helpful.
Having an online account with at least one supermarket is imperative in times where we are trying to go out as little as possible to lessen the rate of infections this winter. Not all supermarket shopping apps are the same, so try to find one that works for you. Additionally, it can be beneficial to use a supermarket app that prioritises those with special needs. For example, if you are at high risk of infection, try to use a supermarket chain that will be able to prioritise a delivery slot over its other customers for you.
In addition to having a supermarket app installed on your devices, having an app like Amazon that can deliver your every want or need is also an excellent precaution to take. While Amazon and its founder Jeff Bezos can be controversial to some, there is no denying the ease which an Amazon account can bring to your life. Additionally, with an Amazon Prime account (which is an annual subscription of £80), you can have anything delivered to your door the next day for free. The peace of mind that that can bring is exceedingly comforting.
To look after our mental health, we need to look after our physical fitness, too. Exercise is an excellent way of getting endorphins, which are our feel-good hormones, moving through our bodies. Find an app or online fitness regime that you can access to keep active if you are required to stay indoors - quarantining or otherwise. It doesn’t have to be heart-racing stuff - just something to ensure you don’t stay sitting on the sofa watching Netflix all winter!
Online Video Libraries
Speaking of Netflix, it is a good idea to have access to an online video library too this winter. It doesn’t mean that you should spend the whole time glued to your TV, but it does mean that you will have access to some form of entertainment that can keep you amused when you have little else to do because it is too cold and wet to go outside.
Technology that helps you stay connected
Installing technology on our mobile devices and computers to help us stay connected this winter is imperative to maintain good mental health. Staying connected can help diminish our anxiety as well as our loneliness and help us feel part of a community, even when staying in our homes. For that reason, once you have installed any new app on your phone or laptop, do take the time to investigate how it works and how it can be used. In doing so, you will use it far more efficiently helping you stay even better connected into 2022 and beyond.