It’s hard to believe that just a few weeks ago we were all spending time with friends and loved ones in person. By now, the novelty of the coronavirus crisis response has faded, and increasingly, quarantine policies have many of us feeling disconnected, lonely or simply bored. If you were hoping that social distancing would get easier as time went on, but if it hasn’t, you’re not alone. Humans are social by nature, and it is hard to adapt to limited, virtual interaction. If you’re bored of Facetiming with friends or struggling to feel connected virtually, we’ve rounded up ten fresh and creative ways to stay close to those who matter most during COVID-19.
1. Try a New Video Conferencing Platform
While reminding friends, colleagues or loved ones to unmute themselves over Zoom may be getting old, there are other platforms that can keep video-conferencing interesting. Houseparty and Marco Polo are two other platforms that many are using to stay connected and stay close during this time.
2. Invite Colleagues to a Hangout Virtually After Work
Finding time to connect with colleagues outside of work is a great way to boost morale and remain close during quarantine. Especially if your company has transitioned to work from home, virtual work-free hangouts with colleagues can help lift everyone’s mood. Gather together via video-conferencing and enjoy snacks or discussing things unrelated to coronavirus from afar.
3. Spend Time with Neighbors from the Balcony
If you used to spend time with your neighbors, find ways to touch base while social distancing. Consider planning a properly distanced gathering if you or your neighbors have a balcony that’s at least six feet away. Meet up for an after-work hangout, dinner or even a weekend brunch to stay in touch and continue to stay close from a distance.
4. Compete in Virtual Trivia
Trivia with friends is a great way to bond while engaging in something intellectually stimulating. Comply with Safer At Home policies, by taking your trivia team virtual. Host an online party with your trivia group by researching the thousands of trivia questions and games available online. Or, many local restaurants which hosted trivia before COVID-19 are now live-streaming trivia on Facebook.
5. Build a Playlist With Friends
Not only is sharing songs a great way to foster connection and learn more about each other, but researchers have also shown that listening to just one song has the ability to drastically boost mood. If you have similar taste in music, creating a playlist together is a great way to discover new songs and artists. Or, if your musical tastes are different, sharing songs you think your friend will like is a great way to show you get them and are thinking about them. Alternatively, if you and your friends both play instruments or sing, plan a virtual jam session and make some quarantunes together.
6. Organize a Movie Viewing Night
Until you are able to plop on the couch next to your favorite people to watch or rewatch an awesome film, consider plopping on your respective couches and watching one together instead. Several platforms have made group movie watching possible during COVID-19, including Netflix Party and Kast. Or, forgo the precision of synchronized pausing and simply grab your phone and pick a date, time and movie to watch while Facetiming.
7. Send a Friend Food or Venmo Lunch Money & Eat Together
Gone are the days of taking a friend out to your favorite local restaurant for lunch, but you can still find meaningful ways to share a meal. Social distancing is also a great time to practice a little extra generosity with those you know who are facing financial insecurity. Consider inviting a friend or loved one to join you on a virtual lunch date where you pick up the tab. Have food delivered to them or Venmo some lunch money over and spend some time reconnecting over a meal.
8. Take a Virtual Workout Class Together
Benefit your physical health, your mental wellbeing and your relationships by working out together. Although many gyms and workout studios have temporarily closed, there is no dearth of ways to move your body from home. From family-friendly online workout resources, like these Disney inspired workouts, to virtual group classes and equipment-free workout apps, there is an abundance of online wellness resources available. Invite a friend or your favorite accountability partner and schedule a time to sweat together virtually. Or, simply put on some music and dance together over video-conference.
9. Host a Virtual Book Club
If you’ve run out of shows to watch on Netflix, or if you’re ready for a new way to spend your free time, consider starting a virtual book club. Set up a Zoom call once a week to touch base with your favorite bibliophiles and discuss your latest read. Unsure which book to choose? Invite each member of your club to suggest a title and choose at random or move through the group’s list alphabetically.
10. Try Snail Mail
It’s a challenging time and there’s no pick-me-up like receiving a letter or even a care package in the mail. Consider hand-writing a note or sending a special treat to a loved one or even an old friend with whom you’d like to reconnect. Great options to help stay close include quarantine snacks or activities like crosswords, puzzles, board games, books, candles or other self-care items.