With social distancing enforced and the need for everyone to stay inside to help curb the spread of the Coronavirus, it’s easy to feel lonelier than ever. Social contact contributes to our collective sense of happiness. When we can’t gather in the everyday forms that we’re used to, it’s a collective stress to our well-being. And, it can be especially difficult for those who are already dealing with mental health issues.
One silver lining is that the coronavirus waited until the 21st century to hit. Thanks to the advanced technology we have nowadays, being apart physically doesn’t mean we can’t be together emotionally, mentally, or visually!
Below are 10 creative ideas to help you stay connected and social with your loved ones no matter the distance.
A virtual date
Zoom, is the popular communications app for video conferencing. It can accommodate as many participants as you need and its easy to use! So you can pick a day and time to virtually eat lunch together, or have a coffee or dinner date!
Working out from home, by yourself, on a day-by-day basis isn’t as fun as the gym or your favorite workout class. So, why not make it better by virtually working out with others over FaceTime. You can livestream the class on your computer or laptop and then use your phone to FaceTime a friend. For workout options, visit our blog.
Have a “Houseparty”
Apart from FaceTime and Zoom, Houseparty is another video app you can use to stay connected. It gives a split screen look at callers in the “house” and allows eight people on the call at once. The program also has games to play with whoever you’re video chatting with, like entertainment trivia.
Be more neighborly
Connect with neighbors by bringing lunch or dinner to the bottom of their driveway, porch, or other safe distance location and waving to each other. Some neighborhoods look like ghost towns, so it can be a comforting reminder that you’re all still there and looking out for each other.
Food for the soul
Log into Zoom or connect on FaceTime and designate someone in your group to lead a cooking class. You can joke, share, bond and really have an experience together. Afterwards, you can enjoy your home-cooked meals together.
Blast from the past
Rediscover your connections from the past. Call your “long-lost” cousins, friends, coworkers, colleagues, classmates. Take a stroll down memory lane and strike up some fun and heart-warming companionship. Someone will be glad to hear from you. You can probably even Skype or video conference your visit if both parties are up for it!
Make a list
Staying connected with people doesn’t always need to involve seeing their face, as great as that is. For example, you can start a Google Doc with friends. You can start a list of social distancing activities and recommendations of online workouts, workshops, and podcasts. One person online shared their idea of “Quarantine Diaries” with their roommate. They keep a journal centrally located and take turns writing silly quotes or boring things documenting quarantine life. Journaling is a great way to process emotions and doing it with another person makes it a shared experience rather than an individual one.
There’s also Netflix Party, a Google Chrome extension that lets multiple Netflix users watch a show together from different locations. It synchronizes video playback and adds group chat to your favorite shows.
Play board games online with friends. Boston.com and Lifehacker have great suggestions for all of your favorite board games and card games to play online – even Cards Against Humanity!
Hiking and walking is fine, as long as you keep a 6-foot distance from those around you. Share new and favorite hikes with outdoorsy friends and challenge them to try the same ones. Maybe you can make a treasure hunt out of it! The AllTrails app helps connect users to local trails, making it easier to share those hidden gems in your area.
The practice of shelter in place and social distancing doesn’t have to mean complete isolation. Have a virtual date, catch up with your mom, say hello to your friend’s pets, plan a workout together – the possibilities are limited only by your imagination. Check out our posts with financial resources, mental health support, options for staying physically active, and keeping your kids using their brains.