2021 is upon us. It’s a fresh year with new possibilities, but this one feels a bit different. Last year put us all through a series of difficult life experiences that left a lasting impact on how we interact with one another and the world. Though the internet already played an integral role in most of our daily lives, it took on a whole new role in 2020. School, work, and even social activities all moved to online platforms, opening up new possibilities tinged with new challenges.
We have seen these changes in our own lives. As medical students, our in-person classes quickly switched to taking place online. For Lauren, her medical school graduation also became virtual. Though these changes were not easy, there were some clear positive experiences from our new online based world, such as remotely celebrating birthdays with friends and loved ones, catching up with old friends, and live streamed concerts that helped make life more interesting. Still, even those positive moments took some adjusting to since experiencing things through a computer screen rather than in person never seems to feel quite the same.
As an organization, we decided to tackle some of the challenges that this change in how our society functions has brought by identifying a need and fulfilling it. We started a new campaign called Keep Ya Head Up. Our goal was threefold: to encourage people to stay positive through such a difficult time, to remind individuals to look out for and make an effort to positively impact others, and to motivate people to stay aware of what is going on in the ever-changing world around them. Through virtual interviews with a number of individuals from different walks of life, from an essential worker in the United States to a young activist working to make a positive change in Pakistan, we discussed how individuals are staying positive and making a difference in the face of the pandemic. In the future, we hope to continue these important conversations regarding resilience, positivity, and how people are keeping their heads up while adapting to the challenges that these times have brought.
In addition to the changes that have occurred in our own lives, we recognize that parenting has had to change a lot over this past year too. Given that many aspects of both education and play have become reliant on computers and the internet, parents may be struggling with helping their children to find balance between spending time online and finding things to do offline, as well as with keeping their kids engaged when they are online. In light of that, we want to offer a few tips for people of all ages that have helped us to stay focused during these uncertain times.
5 Tips for Staying Engaged in an Online World:
- Create a schedule - Decide how much time you want to spend online and do your best to stick to it.
- Take breaks often - Frequent breaks can help to keep your attention on the task at hand.
- Move around when you can - A little fresh air and exercise can make all the difference!
- Make self-care a priority - Taking some time to take care of yourself can help to feel more refreshed.
- Maintain relationships - Stay connected with friends and family as we all navigate these difficult times together.