With the usual ways to be social on hold, people are turning to Facebook to stay connected. For many singles and solo parents especially, this is an extra challenging time. That is why local life coach Jodi Fitzwater has set up a Facebook page called Connecting Singles in Isolation.
"I set up the page because it suddenly dawned on me that this month is going to feel really isolating. I love people contact, it's what I do for work, and I love to get out and about. With that not being possible now, I realised it is going to affect a lot of people who are already on their own," Jodi says.
Her intention is to help people, make sure they are okay and offer a place of connection so they feel less alone and more supported in lockdown. She checks in with page followers daily, tips are shared on how to stay positive and there's room for a good dose of humour.
One follower has already dubbed the page "Tinder without touching", but Jodi says it wasn't set up for people to find a new relationship. There's no pressure in any way on participants to couple up.
"I had no intention for it to be a way to find a partner but if someone found their happily ever after through this, that would be awesome," she says.
Jodi is a single mum with a teenage daughter who she has raised on her own for the past 12 years. She has been through a lot in life, which led her to become a counsellor.
"It's been my work for almost three years. I was at the Merivale Community Centre for a year as a placement, then at grief support services for a short time, and now I'm self-employed," she says.
With her business Combine Body & Mind, she works as a qualified counsellor and personal trainer, and recently she has also become certified in life coaching.
The most challenging thing to deal with for singles when in lockdown according to Jodi is the lack of real contact with others.
"For single parents it can be tough that they don't get a break as the schools are closed, and to not have face to face time with other adults.
"Not everyone enjoys their own company, so I hope this page helps those people."
The feedback she has received has been mostly positive, and Jodi says she will ban anyone that brings negativity to the page.
To anyone single and alone in isolation, Jodi says to not be afraid to reach out to the page. "Please use Lifeline if you are in serious need of support and someone to talk to. They are there."
The number is 0800 LIFELINE (0800 543 354) or you can text HELP to 4357. People looking for Covid-19 or self-isolation health advise and information can call the dedicated helpline on 0800 358 5453.
Facebook pages that can help you stay positive and informed
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern goes live on Facebook most days checking in on everyone, answering questions and sharing the latest Covid-19 updates.
MP for Tauranga and leader of the National Party Simon Bridges has opened his Facebook Messenger to anyone who needs help during the level 4 lockdown.
Mayor of Tauranga Tenby Powell shares Tauranga City Council Covid-19 information and updates on essential services, facilities, and more.
For everyone on lockdown, Dr Siouxsie Wiles speaks the truth based on science and shares why you must not lose hope, with illustrations from Spinoff cartoonist Toby Morris.
Public group for those that would like to offer help to the more vulnerable members of our communities and a way to connect with each other during the pandemic.
Hana Tapiata makes sense of life by making sense of whakapapa (connection, process) and shares those learnings in as many different ways as she can. This platform is one of them.
A private group for business owners seeking support, advice, guidance and motivation set up by local business coach Phil Holland from Love your Business.