For most all of us, practicing social distancing has been a huge shift from our day-to-day routine. Although we are not currently able to meet up with others as we normally would, there are many ways to stay connected while still responsibly practicing social distancing.
1. Virtual Happy Hours
If you aren’t already doing this, add it to your list. For many people, happy hours and wine nights are cherished times with family, friends and colleagues. The fun doesn’t need to stop now that you can’t hit your favorite bar or restaurant. Virtual happy hours and wine nights are just a FaceTime, Skype or Zoom video away. Schedule a date with your ladies (or dudes) soon to catch up and get your social fix, without leaving the house. (As an added bonus, some wine shops are doing delivery or curbside pickup, so you can still score your favorite bottle of vino while staying safe!)
2. Virtual Book Clubs
Whether you are already part of a book club or not, this is a great way to connect with people over something in a season when there may not be too much to catch up about. Bonus: This translates to another fun to-do when you are spending extended time at home. Reading is great for your brain, and being a part of a book club will keep you connected and accountable to stick with it.
3. Scheduled Calls with Family
There’s no better time than the present to get on a schedule of regularly connecting with your loved ones. Put catch-up calls on your calendar so you’re checking in often, especially with older relatives and others living alone. Consider group calls too: with many people being home, it’s easier than ever to coordinate a time when everyone can connect by phone or video chat.
4. Netflix Syncing
Watch the same thing at the same time with friends and you’ll feel like you’re there with them: laughing, catching up and hearing the dog barking intermittently in the background. This may be the best-kept secret for those trying to watch Netflix with others who are far away (or not in your living room): a Google Chrome extension called Netflix Party allows you to have a virtual movie night with friends from wherever they are. Simply download the extension, open Netflix in a Google Chrome browser and “Start a Party.” Once you have your party URL, you can share it with your friends, and they can enter. This allows you and your friends to keep up with your shows or movies, without getting off-pace with each other. If you are feeling really ambitious, tack on a group FaceTime or video call to chat just like you would at a traditional movie night.
5. Virtual Game Nights
Do you love to play board games and cards with friends on your nights in? Now that we can’t all get together in person, try recreating these fun times virtually via video chats. If you’re tech-savvy, look for online versions of your favorite games. For example, the board game Risk has an Apple application of the game where you can have multiple players access the board remotely. To keep it old school, simply set up a video call with friends who also have the board game or cards, and stay connected that way.
This is not a complete list of ways to connect with others without physically meeting up, but should be a source of inspiration to get you connected to those you care about. During times of confusion and stress, it’s especially important to lean on each other and build each other up.
Social distancing doesn’t need to mean emotional isolation. Let this list be a springboard for the myriad ways our innovative technology allows you to connect with others without being physically together. Staying healthy applies to your physical body, but also to your mind. Talk, laugh, cry and just reach out to other, because we are all in this together.
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