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Benefits of Virtual Groups

14 days to go.

Virtual is a word we’ve heard a lot and a place we’ve become accustomed to meeting in this last year thanks to technology, and it has proven a lifeline in enabling us to continue to work and to maintain relationships with friends and family.

It’s been a benefit in many other ways too. For example after losing a family member to Covid-19 last April, I wanted to help raise funds to support NHS charities. I decided to host a virtual run from John o’ Groats to Land’s End. My sister in France and I were going to do it together, virtually, but thought we would invite others to participate.  As I already had a route from my actual run in 2019, I split it into 5Km segments and published it. We also enabled the technology on the website to show our progress down the map.  What we hadn’t expected was that so many people would sign up to run a virtual 5Km section with us. At that point we had been in lockdown for five weeks and what became clear from the comments I received from people was that the virtual run gave them purpose, a reason to get out of the door each day or gave them a feeling of belonging and participating with like-minded people – and of course we raised funds to help others in the process. Win-win! I produced a certificate for everyone who had been involved and two young boys apparently have placed them in their Covid time capsules to be revealed who knows when 😊

There are many virtual groups on social media with thousands of members. Why so popular?

Many reasons prevent us from starting something new by joining a group of strangers: fear of being judged because of how we think they believe we look, main friendship groups being unsupportive, a lack of confidence, not having the right kit or skills or feeling we aren’t fit enough or won’t fit in.  With a virtual group all of these issues evaporate.  As a participant you can choose what you contribute and when. You can follow members of the group and gain inspiration, ask the most basic questions and receive the benefit of advice from everyone from newbies to experts. Nobody is judging and there’s no pressure, in fact quite the opposite, everyone wants to see you succeed and will celebrate your achievements with you. Feeling connected in this way with people who share your interests gives you a feeling of belonging, helps build confidence and can be beneficial in reducing feelings of loneliness and importantly can help you achieve your own goals.

No post on this topic would be complete without a reminder on privacy and not to share personal information in any group you join.

 

 

 

 

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