Pandemic times are strange times indeed as we socially isolate to protect ourselves and others. Feeling lonely, anxious and down is not uncommon when you’re isolated, especially because humans are social beings by nature and used to interacting. But maintaining social connections during isolation is still possible, and even encouraged to help combat all these feelings.
Here’s a look at how to stay social even when you’re staying indoors.
Keep connecting with people you know
Don’t underestimate the power of connecting with friends, relatives and colleagues on a regular basis when you’re in lockdown mode.
Schedule time to chat: Regular phone calls, especially with older relatives/friends who aren’t tech savvy, can be a good way to check in and keep connected. A group email or text chain is another way to stay in touch on a consistent basis. Share motivational tips or send funny videos that could make someone smile on a particularly hard day.
Real-time chats and video: There are numerous apps now available to connect in real-time, and most of them are free. Try texting via Facebook Messenger, Instagram and Whatsapp. Or use the power of video to see friends and family via video applications like FaceTime, Zoom, Google Hangouts and Houseparty. Try and help your less tech-savvy friends figure out how to join you too.
Activities online: Consider cooking or sharing a meal together via video. Or read to your grandkids via video chat. Start a virtual bookclub and compare notes on your favorite reads, or watch a movie together with Netflix Party and critique it together after.
Sometimes quick, frequent check-ins may feel better than longer, more infrequent ones, so don’t be afraid to connect often for shorter periods of time.
Connect with those in close proximity
You can still venture outdoors to connect to your neighbours from time to time too. Speak to them from your deck, balcony or over the backyard fence at a distance so you can maintain social distancing in the process.
This could also be a good time to reconnect with the people inside your home without the distraction of outside activities. Start a regular movie night together, or dust off the board games and puzzles for an epic game night.
Connect with people you don’t know too
Online forums and games: Thanks to technology, you can also connect with others you haven’t met yet who have similar interests. Join an online forum on a topic you enjoy, or engage in online word and trivia games. There are virtual versions of classic card games and board games like Monopoly and Scrabble too.
Exercise together: Exercising with others online can keep you motivated to work out, while feeling connected. Check out some online fitness programs here.
Take a course: An extended period indoors could be a good time to learn a new skill or take an online course. During this time, many courses are being offered free or at a substantial discount, so scope out your areas of interest and see what’s available.
Listen to a live concert: Many artists, now stuck in their homes too, are offering free live shows on their Facebook and Instagram pages. Or check out organizations that are offering virtual concerts during this time like symphony concerts.
If you’re still feeling isolated or unmotivated to connect with others, remember that there are support services available to help you, from the comfort of home.
Rather than looking at this time as being isolated from the people and activities you enjoy, think of it as staying physically distant while socially connected. Take comfort in the fact we’re all in this together too, each trying to find a way to live our lives in these new circumstances.
And to help keep you entertained, engaged and connected to family and friends you will find a long list of great ideas in our new support page here.