After living in an oscillating state of work-play-cry for the past month, I finally admitted two things to myself: 1) my introverted ass isn’t doing as well as I expected, and 2) my home isn’t the only safe space I need to last during this quarantine.
I have all the video games, books and TV shows available at the tip of my fingers to cure my quarantine boredom, and occasionally, my stress-induced writer’s block. But when the impact of the pandemic slowly creeps in, trying to find resilience can take a toll on my mental health. I want to talk to someone, have some form of communication. So I go online.
But I’d forget what I was about to do and instead come across more COVID-19 related content while scrolling through my social media feeds. Whether I like it or not, real-time news updates will pop out as people share these by the second. Reading them feels upsetting, especially as the number of confirmed cases and the death toll rise daily.
As this widespread distress affects more people, safe spaces to address emotional and mental concerns are incredibly important now more than ever. With the quarantine extended (and for who knows how long), a safe space can be in the form of an online community dedicated to our interests.
I’ve been a part of some interesting groups that popped out on social media lately. As an Aries, I enjoyed the Facebook trashtalk groups in particular. At least while they lasted and before they got out of hand with below-the-belt roasts.
Then I exit these groups and come back to scrolling my hodgepodge of a feed where I’d occasionally come across posts about patients recovering from the disease or frontliners bravely performing their duties. I have to remind myself that while I have the luxury to find humor amid a pandemic, there are people with experiences worth telling.
Humanity thrives even in a strange time, so I look for more stories like that―usually on my Twitter timeline, sometimes in revived Facebook group chats. Some are shared in virtual spaces like Hope Bank to empower anyone trying to cope with the mental and emotional strain brought on by the pandemic.
Hope Bank is an initiative by Globe Telecom which serves as a safe space to help people deal with the crisis, from commending our medical frontliners and essential workers to supporting COVID-19 patients and those in need of hope.
Globe’s chief sustainability officer Yoly Crisanto said the group was created as a reminder to people that they are not alone, even if connections are virtual.
It’s a pandemic support group, and literally anyone can join the Hope Bank Facebook group to post whatever they choose to―whether it’s artwork, photos, videos or songs, as long as these #SpreadHope. The quarantine, after all, gave a lot of people some downtime to rediscover their hobbies.
Get creative, because you have the potential to contribute to something greater―from boosting our frontliners’ and essential workers’ morale to building a support circle that reflects a grounded sense of hope and positivity.
“This is the time for each of us to reinforce one another, even if only to provide support to those who need them the most,” said Crisanto.
Make sure to read the community guidelines first upon joining and before posting. As the group encourages open communication, it also reminds us to be responsible for what we share.