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How do you stay connected to friends while practicing social distance?
There are challenges on all fronts of the COVID 19 crisis and your social life is likely not at the top of your priority list. But social connection is a critical need for human beings and the longer we’re all cooped up in our homes, the important it will become to connect with those you love. We need to find ways to connect with friends and family with social distance. Planning ways to stay connected will help you to maintain good mental and physical health as you navigate this time.
Social Media and technology
Social media and other forms of technology are easy and readily available ways to stay connected with friends and family with social distance. It is a great way to keep the communication channels open on a daily basis. With so many apps to chose from there is one that should meet your needs. Some commonly used free apps are Facetime (only available for Apple products), Zoom, and Skype. Another one with some additional features is Houseparty. This app allows multiple video participants to engage in shared activities such as games.
Any of these options will allow you to see and speak with people almost anywhere in the world. You can connect for a quick catch up, to check in on an elderly parent or neighbor, for a “visit” with your physician or a dozen other reasons.
My favorite uses for Zoom
My favorite uses of Zoom are family dinners and wine with my two best friends.
The family dinner is hysterical because my large, and rather vocal family, talk over each other, argue with other members of their households, and generally make a lot of commotion. My oldest sister talks to the muted laptop so we have no idea what she’s saying while my youngest brother gets frustrated as he sits in front of his perfectly designed Zoom background and my Dad aims his cell phone up his nose so I’m staring at his nose hairs! It’s oddly comforting because it’s just like real life.
Zoom wine is wonderful in different ways. It’s nice to hang back and chat with my two best friends while enjoying wine together. I take my laptop into the sunroom, away from the hustle and bustle of the house, and I relax. We chat and laugh and have a good time. We don’t talk about COVID 19.
Start a book club
Whether you’re looking for something to do during the stay at home order or hoping to start a long term activity, a book club is a wonderful idea. It only takes a few steps to get up and running. Decide what you want to read about, identify your theme, decide who you want to invite and pick a location. Then the fun begins.
Your first meeting will be dedicated to laying the foundation for future meetings. You’ll select books, identify a moderator, choose food and beverage options, and decide on a social media channel.
If you want more detail about how to start a book club, read my simple step by step guide to starting a book club here.
If you already have a book club, check out these unique and fun book club themes.
Books are an ideal way to connect with friends and family with social distance. My mother and I bonded over books since I was a child and no amount of distance could disrupt that.
Another option with technology is virtual reality, also known as VR. If you haven’t tried it, now’s the time. It’s a fun and creative way to share time with those you love and learn a new skill. You can dip your toe into VR with an inexpensive cardboard headset and a simple app for iPhone or Android or dive in with the Oculus Go, a stand alone virtual reality headset.
The options for VR are seemingly endless and expanding. You can play video games in an immersive world, meaning you are placed in the game and see it as if you’re there. You can tour Paris or see dinosaurs in their natural environment. If you want to look around, just turn your head. Explore ancient civilizations, meet up with friends and family in a virtual meeting space such as a living room, basketball game, or yard. Watch TV with your family or friends 1,000 miles away or from the house next door. Swim with dolphins! The adventures don’t stop.
Connect over a murder mystery
I recently joined a group of friends in a murder mystery game which stretched over a six week period. The game was called “Hunt a Killer“. Each week a box arrived with new clues. We eagerly awaited it’s arrival! There were crime scene reports, evidence found at the scene, witness interviews, suspect profiles, maps, newspaper articles and secret codes. It was a blast! We got together at one home and setup the materials to be reviewed weekly. We drank wine, ate appetizers, laughed and chatted while solving the mystery. It was fun and challenging but we did it.
If this sounds like fun, use technology to make it happen with your friends. Have the weekly boxes shipped to the home of someone with a scanner (most multi function printers have one these days). That person can scan the material to a shared online location such as a Facebook group and voila, you have a murder mystery group.
Have a backyard or drive in film festival
I remember going to the drive in as a kid. We would all pile into my Dad’s station wagon with bags of popcorn and candy and see a double feature. It was a treat that has disappeared over time but you can bring it back.
Grab some friends and arrange your own drive in. Select a house with a big yard or driveway and setup a projector and screen. Alternately, setup seating areas that are spaced out with plenty of distance and project onto a big screen. Setup snacks in advance at each areas so no one has to come in close contact with one another. Ask people to take their trash with them to ensure no cross contamination from leftover food and debris.
This could be a tradition that lasts for years!
Take an online crafting course
If you’ve ever wanted to learn a new craft, now’s the time! Take advantage of the many online crafting lessons to learn something new. Myblueprint.com offers Quilt, Sew, Knit, Crochet, Cake, Cook, Paint, Draw, Bake, Embroider & More. Another website in the arts and crafts space is Skillshare which offers free and paid memberships. Many of the brick & mortar craft stores offer online lessons. Check out Joann Fabrics and Michael’s Craft Store.
To learn more, read a review of five of the top online arts & craft lesson providers here.
Read more about craft ideas and supplies here.
Talk to some friends and pick a class that you can all do. Add a weekly Zoom check in to view each other’s work and help overcome challenges and you’ve got Ma’am Time with your friends. If you’re going to take a course over several weeks or take ongoing multiple lessons, consider a Facebook group as an additional place to meet up and share.
Join a Zoom workout together
This is a fun one and it will help offset all of those quarantine calories! Find a workout you like and join with your friends. Enable the video so you can see your friends and they can see you. Enable audio too so you can talk to the instructor and others. Join up in your own online check in after to chat and share a cool down.
Make a commitment to one or two times a week and you’ll find yourself looking forward to it.
Help your community
There are so many ways we can help one another nowadays. Can you sew masks or isolation gowns? If you can, get online and teach your friends. Send them the pattern and a list of supplies then walk them through each step on a daily call. Develop a menu of easy to cook meals that can be prepared in bulk and work with your friends to do a weekly delivery to a nursing home or human service provider in your community. It’s a great way to help out and spend time with friends.
Looking out my window I can see buds beginning to show on the trees as if they grew tiny pink fingernails. The smell of spring is in the air and promises to bring with it an itch to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. This is an ideal opportunity for time with friends. Meet up at a favorite location and take a walk or go for a bike ride, just keep enough distance between you and wear protective equipment such as a face mask if appropriate.
Want more ideas? Here’s a list of 7 New Things to Try this Spring.
However you decide to spend time with loved ones, be safe. Enjoy these new options for fun and closeness. You may find that some of these new ways to stay connected remain with you long after the threat of COVID 19 passes.