“Sorry, I’m just having some connection issues”
(I’m actually feeling pretty lonely and disconnected from everyone today.)
“You’re on mute”
(that’s okay I don’t really want to talk about it.)
“Zoom is telling me that my connection is unstable”
(I am feeling fragile at the moment, how does Zoom know?)
“Can everyone turn on their video?”
(I’d rather be a bit invisible.)
These phrases have felt like the soundtrack to 2020 and as 2021 continues in the same vein it’s become part of our day-to-day life talking about connection issues, whether that’s literal, metaphorical or reading between the lines.
We’re constantly connected to technology, whether it’s via computer screens, our mobile phones or tablets, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and easy to feel like despite all the technology at our fingertips we’re more isolated than we have ever been before.
Now don’t get me wrong I’m grateful for video calls and WhatsApp groups filled with memes. I couldn’t imagine going through this pandemic without it but after spending all day on a computer screen, maybe doing a YouTube workout (it is still January, so resolutions aren’t quite out the window yet), I just yearn to sit in a coffee shop with a friend putting the world to rights.
As we enter this New Year it’s now that we can take a moment to think about our connections. Who do we feel most connected to and which connections do we want to refresh? Who do we want to just check in on? Maybe it would be nice to reconnect with someone on our periphery that we haven’t heard from in a while, or perhaps a relative or friend that is well overdue a catch up call.
I pick up the phone when I’m on my daily walk, getting some fresh air, my friends often comment that they can hear bird song in the background and the occasional puddle squelch when I’ve not been looking where I’m going. Other times I pop the kettle on for a cuppa, stick a tea bag in to brew and pick up the phone.
As we continue to face restrictions and for those in lockdown once again it’s so important to make sure we prioritise our mental health. Mental health services such as Jami, Mind and NHS services are experiencing massive increases in demand particularly amongst young people and women and we know that mental health is a particular challenge for young men. I know that these calls have made a big difference to me personally, especially over the past year and I hope that when I make a call to check on someone that I am making a difference too.
So I’m inviting you to join us this Monday 18th January, traditionally the bluest day in the calendar, to join us for ‘Brew Monday’.
Inspired by the Samaritans campaign, we’re encouraging people to reach out to others, in a Covid-safe way, to continue making connections and calls of kindness.
So pop on the kettle, or fancy coffee machine if you invested in your home office, and check on your friends.
Check on your strong friend, check on your busy friend, check on your happy friend, check on your quiet friend, check on your home-schooling friend, check on your teacher friend and check on your NHS hero friend- let’s all check on our friends.
Mitzvah Day Chief Executive