If you find yourself going stir-crazy during the mandatory “Shelter in Place” orders, then here are ten ways that you can keep the communication between you and your inner circle going strong.
1. JOIN A VIRTUAL BOOK CLUB
If you long to connect with people who are interested in similar things as you, then you should consider joining a virtual book club. Book clubs are an excellent way to meet new people and learn about fantastic books that you can enjoy. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of book clubs online for you to explore. You can pick the club that matches your interests. Reading is a great way to stretch your brain and relax your body. It’s hard to feel stressed or lonely when you are curled up with a good book and chatting with friends. A great author can take you on a magical journey that will have you engrossed for hours. Why not pick up a classic series and finish the entire trilogy? Getting lost in a book will make the social distancing time fly by. Light some candles, put on some soft music, and find a good book to read. All this downtime will help you to will enhance your literary skills.
2. USE THOSE UNLIMITED TEXT MESSAGES
Most major carriers offer free unlimited text messages. You don’t really need to focus on the aspects of the virus and the restrictions it has placed. Rather, you can text your friends, family members, and coworkers freely. Texting is one of the best ways to keep in contact with people. You can have many conversations going on at once. There’s never a need to feel isolated when you can pick up your phone and engage in a text conversation. One of the great things about technology is that you can send pictures back and forth through your texts. If you are “shut-in” away from family and friends, then you can send them pictures of your kids or other things going on at your abode. When social distancing is between you and those you love, then use texting to ensure that you stay connected. It will also help to keep you from getting bored during all these days of isolation.
3. FACE TIME
Forget making traditional phone calls; you can make video calls. When you can see the person on the other line, it makes things so much better. It will seem as if there is no distance between you and the other party. Face time apps and similar ones are available on your cell phone. You can easily connect with someone thousands of miles away without issue. While the quality of the call is not going to be perfect, it’s still a great way to connect on a personal level. Social distancing can be a challenging experience when you are alone. However, using the power of online resources and apps, you can connect and feel as if you are with someone even if just talking by phone.
4. VIRTUAL GAME NIGHT
You can play games with your friends and family without ever leaving your living room. Using one of the main game systems like Xbox or PlayStation, you can connect with others via the internet. You can play games and pass the time away. Many people will play for hours without even realizing where the time has gone. Social distancing doesn’t mean that you can’t be social. You can have fun with people from around the world and play some of the hottest games around.
5. VIRTUAL NIGHT WITH FRIENDS
There’s no reason to cancel your night out with friends, but you will need to change it up a bit. You can have a virtual night out using online resources. Skype or Zoom can let you have your time with friends, and you don’t even need to leave your home. Schedule a time for everyone to log in together. Then, together you can try a great new restaurant in town, a new wine, or even give each other cooking lessons. There’s no reason that you need to keep yourself from your friends when you can have a virtual game night with the touch of a button.
6. KEEP SOCIAL MEDIA UPDATED
Whether you like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram doesn’t matter. There are tons of social media sites for you to hang out on. You should select a platform and keep it updated. Many people don’t even scroll their local newspapers anymore as they can find all the things they need on social media. Check these accounts often for any changes that might be happening with your family and friends. Also, be sure that you update your wall with pictures and events going on in your home. You can ease your family’s minds when they can see that everything in your neck of the woods is going swell.
7. HAVE A “NETFLIX PARTY”
Who doesn’t love to Netflix and chill? However, it’s always better when you have someone that you can watch a new series or movie with rather than alone. You can now hook up to a Netflix party and make isolation seem less mundane.
You can have group chats and sync videos that allows you to watch hundreds of hours of television with others. The whole key to this app is that you will have frequent interaction with others watching the same show. You can get spoilers, learn things you might have missed, and chat with other enthusiasts that are enjoying a show you like. You will never have to watch television alone again after you learn how to use the Netflix party app.
8. WRITE A LETTER
If you thought that writing letters was something that hasn’t been done in decades, well, it’s something that fell by the way because it takes time. People in the 21st century don’t seem to have a lot of time. However, with the social restrictions being placed on this country, it seems time is not an issue. Now that you have all this extra time on your hands, why not write a letter? Dust off the old stationery set and find someone who would enjoy this act of kindness. It means so much more when you take the time to write to someone. It shows real effort to write a letter, put it in the envelope, and put a stamp on it to mail. It’s a bit more of a complicated process than it is to send an email or text, but it can certainly surprise the recipient.
9. JOIN AN ONLINE COMMUNITY
Many online communities can take hours to scroll through all the things that interest you. Reddit is just one of the fan-favorite places that you can visit. You can become an active participant and get all the socialization that you need. You can find people from all over the world that have the same interests as you. There is a real sense of community on these sites, so it will be easy to forget about the social distancing orders. You can ask questions, post pictures, and browse the hundreds of responses you will get. There are tons of subheadings that are anything from eating healthy to fan groups for your favorite movies. Some of the comments on sites like this are for full shock value. However, you will learn things you never knew about, read stories of inspiration, and you will have a chance to express your opinions too. If you need to socialize, then one of these online communities is the place to be.
10. MAKE AN EFFORT TO TALK TO ONE PERSON EACH DAY
While you may be doing well to hold it together during this time of confusion in our world, some of your friends and family members might not be doing as well. A global pandemic can be quite frightening to people who have depression and anxiety. Make an effort every day to call at least one person and talk to them on the phone. Make a list of all the people that you want to make contact with during this period. Include people like your parents and grandparents, siblings, high school friends, and people in nursing homes Those in nursing homes are often the loneliest. They can’t have any visitors at all during this time of isolation. By reaching out to others every day, it will help to combat your angst as well as their loneliness.
FINAL THOUGHTS: MAKING THE BEST OF A BAD SITUATION
There are so many negative things in the world that it’s hard to focus on the positive. However, you must remind yourself that bad things do happen, but society will recover. The important thing is to keep your mental health in check during times when socialization is not easy. You have to go beyond your comfort zone and use technology to reach out to people.Having a social life can still happen even when you are on a social distancing order. You must be creative, think outside the box, and use the online resources to get your social fix. Just keep telling yourself that this too shall pass, and it will. Plus, being alone is sometimes a nice break too.
Laura Melgosa, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
~ See you at our next session ~