All communities we are connected with can help you get through crisis. Sometimes you need physical people and sometimes an online community can also help, but this all depends on you.
I certainly wouldn’t be doing near as well as I am without my online community. Through all of the bad stuff we have been dealing with over the last year they have been my rock, safe place and a place where I can both vent and get a good laugh when it’s needed. Dealing with my husbands cancer diagnosis, the pandemic lockdown and online school for my children has been more barrable with having them to share experiences and stories.
In talking to colleagues via zoom many have also indicated that they have taken their in person connections and transitioned them to online. They have also indicated that this has made the distancing and isolation issues less prominent. Those that had already established online communities also have adapted to online meetings a bit quicker than those who weren’t connecting virtually already. Yes, Zoom fatigue still exists, but it’s not as tiring for those who already connected virtually as it so for those that didn’t.
I definitely feel for those people who thrive on in-person connections, hugs, touching, etc. With physical distancing becoming the new normal it’s going to be rough. Not everyone can get the same sense of connection from online conversations as others. It is definitely hard to find the best solution for you.
Another group that I have noticed benefited from online communities is the teen/pre-teen groups, or at least my son. He has been able to connect with friends in a different way due to our being exceptionally careful about in person activities. My younger child has struggled with this as his friends aren’t into technology in the same way we are, but he has piggybacked on his brothers connections which has helped.
I know that some people think that you can’t actually build a relationship with someone via distance technology for chatting. I would definitely say that’s not the case. Especially with voice connections. You still have to be careful, but most online communities (especially established ones) vet their members carefully and are exceptionally supportive.
While our online community has gotten smaller over the past number of years there are still a core group of people that check in with each other regularly. When you spend hours playing online games with people, life just wiggles it’s way into conversations and you get to know people even when you can’t walk out your door and go see them as easily.
I do look forward to being able to travel more freely to see these friends, but until then, videos, pictures and chat are our way of staying connected and supported.
I highly recommend that if you are struggling you find a community, online or otherwise to be connected with. They can become a support network that you never really knew you were missing. Mine did – you ALL know who you are.