By this point, we all know that we should be social distancing, staying at home, and washing our hands more than we ever have before. As we all adjust to this new temporary normal, it’s more important than ever to stay socially connected, while keeping physically apart. How do you stave off isolation blues and socialize while social distancing? We have a few ideas.
Video Chat & Live Streaming
If you have access to a phone or computer, you can stay in contact with those you love. TechCrunch recently wrote an article about the best video chat apps to use while social distancing (and when everything goes back to normal, too).
For iPhone users, FaceTime is probably your simplest option. If you have mixed operating systems in your midst, Skype has video capabilities that allow up to 50 people to join a chat at a time; video chats on Skype can be up to four hours per call, with a total of 100 hours a month on the free plan, so you aren’t likely to run out of time. If everyone has a Facebook profile, Messenger allows up to eight people at once and it has no duration limit.
In addition to using video chat services just to talk, you can also come up with activities that could be enhanced by the virtual presence of others. For example, you could cook the same meal as someone else while video chatting with them, then enjoy it together. You could try something like this with your usual gym partners or trivia crew. Plan a trip with your traveling buddies for a date after all of this is a memory. Plenty of in-person social activities can be adapted for this season.
On the business side, many companies with people that are working from home have created virtual “water cooler” chats for discussions that aren’t explicitly task based or work related. We need human interaction throughout the day that is more than having a coworker ask about the status of a project.
There are plenty of examples of people and businesses using live streaming services to stay connected. Some churches are still holding ceremonies via live streaming, musicians are playing shows online, and even aquariums and zoos are showing off their residents!
For the Kids
If you have young kids or grandkids in the house, you can set up virtual playdates. Give them an idea of what to draw and have each child create their own rendition, pick a game for all of them to play, or give them some Play-Doh and a theme and let them go wild.
Isn’t it ironic that the very same platforms that have been blamed for making everyone worse at socializing are now critical means for staying in contact?
If you find that your social media accounts are less of a safe haven and more of a 24/7 newsroom full of questionable statements, consider cleaning up your online accounts for the time being or for good. You can temporarily mute voices that are not accurate or helpful during this time, so that you can focus on the ones that are positive, uplifting, and hopeful. Join Facebook groups that speak to your passions, watch Instagram stories from your favorite creators, and be the calming voice that you want to hear right now.
When was the last time you sent a handwritten letter or postcard? This could be the time to bring back an older, but no less meaningful, form of communication. And if you’re worried about the virus being transmitted by mail, read this article from NPR that cites information from the CDC.
Read a Book or Watch a Movie with Friends
Books and Audio Books
Many public libraries are opening up virtual memberships so that you can continue reading or listening to audiobooks while everything is closed. If this is something that your library offers, check out the same book with some of your friends and host a virtual book club once you’ve all finished it!
Movies with Friends
You can do the same thing with movies. Settle on a movie all of you want to watch, then either watch it together or watch separately and talk about it later. If you want to watch the same movie at the same time, there are plenty of apps and browser extensions to do that. Some provide a chat area off to the side, so you can message about what you’re watching in real time. Take a look at this article for more ideas.
Without a doubt, this social distancing lifestyle is one that will require some adjustments. We’ve got this thing. Let’s do our part to keep ourselves and others safe.
View more COVID-19 resources and travel information here.
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Author: Debra Harris
As founder of Life’s Journey Travel, I’m deeply passionate about creating custom travel experiences that allow my clients to truly savor the journey.