Health & Wellbeing

Why Do We Need Communities?

Isolation can be tough during these uncertain times. Charlotte Lloyd reminds us of why it’s important to stay connected while isolated.

Growing up, the phrase ‘It takes a village’ was recited over and over to me and it has, in turn, become a well-known phrase to many people. But why do some people insist on being alone and holding it all together, when the science behind it shows that we need communities more than we think we do? The phrase ‘It takes a village’ actually comes from an African proverb and explains that a newborn child needs to interact with an entire community of people, in order for them to grow and experience life safely and in a healthy environment.

It’s no secret that COVID-19 has impacted everyone in some way or another, but, if we think about everything going on in the world right now and all that we have experienced, if only throughout the past few months, it has exhibited the strength of communities in extraordinary ways.

Along with most people, I saw 2020 as a year that was going to be ‘better than any other.’

“New decade, new me!”

However, we faced 2020 with raging bushfires and long-term drought by our side that had no sign of letting up, and when that was finally over, we got hit with a global pandemic. We did not get off to a great start! Thrown into turmoil and unexpected restrictions being placed upon us from week to week, individuals are realising that some of the most important things in life, come from the connections with others. In only the past few weeks, the future has been unpredictable, and news has been unsettling.

Most of us do not know what the future holds, and as a community we are all living from day-to-day, waiting to see what tomorrow will look like, or even in a week’s time. Communities have rallied together during these unprecedented events to support those suffering heavily. Health care workers and those in similar ‘essential’ careers are on the front line of this crisis and are being thrown into situations and ‘unexpected communities’. There are people being asked to come out of retirement, people jumping from job to job to keep people alive, and some working maximum hours so that our community can thrive beyond the pandemic.

Those who have refused others help and insist on being their own person, void of ‘communities,’ are realising that the one thing that keeps the world running beyond anything else, are communities themselves. And yes, some people prefer to keep suffering and deal with hardships on their own, but;

“If you’re not saying it, you’re storing it. And that gets heavy.”

So, to say it simply, life is easier with others. Friends and family are some of the closest support systems some can have. Of course, a lot of people are not privileged with close family or even friends, however, by reaching out even to someone objective or working for a support system, can reduce stress and pain. Sharing the load some would say.

University, although an educational unit, is also a social outlet. We see our friends, we are studying something that we are interested in and during these times, our teachers are doing the uttermost to ensure that we don’t lose out on our education. The point to this, we need ‘our village!’  In combination with this, we have friends from many different areas of our life, such as work, sports, and school, and there are simple ways to keep in contact with them. Fast and almost immediate technology means that sending a simple text to check in with a friend or family member is easier than ever before. Zoom has become a program that, aside for business use, is being used to do group chats and ‘Houseparty’ is becoming increasingly popular in the same way. Others are getting inventive with how to plan birthday activities online with friends. There have been ideas all over the globe that have come to life because of community spirit (props to Italy and their balcony choirs.)

It may not seem like there is much of a village to preach about, but everyone has someone that makes them smile, and sometimes that is all we can ask for. And despite the ‘suckiness’ of physical distancing, there are ways to keep the communities alive.  Because yes, it does take a village. Communities are essential. Connection is essential. So, call whoever that person/s is for you, it will make all the difference.


Feature Image: Alice Kjoller, Yak Media Lead Designer




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