The COVID-19 pandemic has now reached every corner of the globe. We’re all well aware of the steps we can take as individuals to fight this pandemic…Practicing social distancing. Social distancing involves avoiding contact with others as much as possible to prevent either the spread or contraction of the virus.
You may be a few weeks or a few days into the new distancing rules. But social distancing should really be called ‘physical distancing’. It can feel isolating and lonely, but it doesn’t have to mean being socially disconnected. Here are some ways to stay connected whilst distancing:
1. Hangout virtually
The majority of us are blessed to have access to the internet, meaning we can stay in touch virtually. (Imagine going through this without smart phones – Gulp!) Celebrate birthdays, milestones or host a quiz with your friends! It may not be what you had planned over the following months but get creative during this time.
Take part in both small intimate gatherings but don’t be afraid to be a part of broader hangouts or livestreams. Mobile apps like House Party allow you to connect with friends in a fun way! Many fitness studios have begun offering livestream sessions where you can take part in a Yoga or fitness classes from the comfort of your home.
2. Host online games
Do you remember what outside is like? Us neither. But, whilst we’re socially distancing, an alternative to hanging out outside is to get everyone together for online games. Platforms such as Jackbox TV allow anyone to sign in to an online hosted game via their phone by heading to a website. They can then participate in a fun easy game together.
You could start or join weekly book or movie clubs and meet some new people this way. There are even browser plugins such as Netflix Party that can be used to simultaneously watch the same movie online with friends on Netflix!
3. Create group chats
All these platforms allow group messaging so if you haven’t already create group chats, so can stay connected without having to actively be involved in the all of the discussions. Group chats bring a great sense of community and help you to feel less isolated!
There are also larger groups for your local neighbourhood, building, or related to specific events you can join and stay up to date with.
4. Join online communities
There are various online communities that can give a sense of belonging while social distancing. Check Facebook or Reddit for groups relevant to your interests and local communities.
Many Slack groups have also formed to help those social distancing continue to be connected and a part of the broader community they are in. Various forums are also available where you can discuss with others and feel connected such as Reddit’s Coronavirus subreddit.
Volunteering can shift online too and give one a sense of reward and social connectedness with others. With schools closing down many local communities have set up volunteer opportunities to help tutor children while they’re away from school and to teach them new skills during evenings.
There are also many volunteer roles to help with raising awareness through blog writing, social media content, or helping with translation of informative materials for a community.
Social distancing can be difficult but it’s the only way to flatten the curve and get things back to normal as soon as possible. Luckily, with the advent of technology we’ll all be able to remain connected with those we care about, and our community – replicating as much of our previous social activities online and continue to feel a sense of belonging.