5 Ways to Stay Close While Social Distancing

While forced isolation, voluntary social distancing and community lockdowns are proven to reduce the spread of coronavirus, it can also impact mental health, causing feelings of loneliness, separation and depression.

Thankfully, in the world of modern technology there are still ways to virtually stay connected to family, friends and loved ones during these times.

Phone calls, social media, Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts, WhatsApp and FaceTime are all tried and true methods of staying connected, but there are a few new and innovative ways to catch up and have fun together while you’re physically apart.

Here are some new, creative ways you can connect with friends and family:

Play games online. You can find apps to play board games, word games, or even work on jigsaw puzzles together virtually. You can play games like Heads Up and Quik Draw as a group.

If you don’t want to use an app and miss regular board games, another way to utilize technology is to set-up video-conferencing using Skype, Google Hangouts, Zoom or FaceTime where different households can see one another on their screens, and join in a visual game like Charades or Pictionary.

Digital coffee club. Grab a cup of java and make a virtual date with friends. While it’s not the same as meeting at your favorite coffee shop, getting cozy at home with a cup of coffee and having a video chat or phone call with friends can be something to look forward to. Why not make it a regular event each week? It’s a way to ‘catch up over coffee’ that can bring warmth and connection in more ways than one.

Send snail mail cards. Put all of that pent-up isolation energy into creating greeting cards or writing letters to your friends and family. You can even get the kids in on it. The recipient will probably love the gesture and getting creative is a good use of your time. If you’re on a short walk and the person lives nearby, you can drop the letter in their mailbox. No stamps on hand? You can order some online.

Organize or attend a virtual social event. Technology can help bring people together to learn new things. Why not get creative and attend an online paint night or cooking class with your friends? Or get active and do yoga or karate lessons? Perhaps learn something new like mindfulness or sign language? Online virtual events are limitless, just let your imagination soar and your fingers do the searching. [LINK] To host your own virtual event, check out Ins & Outs post with all the specifics.

Online movie night. Find a time for friends to connect online and watch a movie together. For example, Netflix Party enables friends to watch its shows online, synchronize video playback and has a group chat function.

There are a variety of apps that can help you watch movies together, but you don’t need Netflix or an app if you all hit ‘play’ at the same time to watch. You can still chat throughout the movie using text or another app. Find the app that works for you and your group, get the popcorn ready and start watching!

Despite the physical distancing necessary for living in this new reality, it may be an opportunity to perhaps reconnect with those you care about on another level and maybe even feel a little bit closer. We may be feet or miles apart, but we can still maintain and strengthen our connections.