I keep hearing from my friends, family, and even my patients about how anxious they are feeling because of staying away from people due to Covid-19. As the days go on, I expect we will all be getting more and more restless, so I thought I would offer a few ideas about how you could stay connected and not feel so isolated.
I got the idea from my 11-year-old daughter who made plans with all of her friends to do a Facetime chat every day at lunchtime. They already stay in contact through a group text, but they are in middle school so social interaction is LIFE! I also saw my sister in law, Michelle, doing a live FB feed “Walking Live” and realized how awesome it was to see her face and know I could interact in real-time with her and everyone else watching. There is just something about seeing people we love, like, and appreciate.
So, if we are thinking in the same forward way as my daughter and her friends, what could we do as adults to stay connected? I think we need to get creative and I’m certain I will be hearing of a few super ingenious ways to do it in the next few days or weeks. In the meantime, here are a few ideas you can utilize for yourself and your kids to socialize while social distancing.
Make facetime or skype dates with friends and family
This is a wonderful way to stay close and feel connected. My family uses facetime and skype with family members who are in different states or countries. We laugh, giggle, and feel as if we are sharing everyday life when we can see one another.
Why not make plans to chat or catch up with people you usually see in person but want to be socially responsible or protect those who are immunocompromised. You could plan to have lunch dates like my daughter and her friends, or you could simply check in with one another. You could play games together; you could even do talent shows for each other. Get creative!
According to Alexa (our family research assistant), you can have up to 32 people on a facetime group video chat. That’s quite a few people. Instead of having a party, you could have a virtual party. Since there is a possibility of restaurant and bar closings in our future, you could make a meal and pour yourself a drink while video chatting.
Social media “Live” feeds are another wonderful way to keep in touch. Whether you are encouraging friends to get out and exercise or you just have a funny story to tell, put yourself out there and make a live video. It’s fun, easy, and it’s a nice way to stay connected. If “live” feels too scary, then create a video and post it on social media or text the videos to whomever you desire.
We live in a neighborhood where lots of people are outside all the time. If the weather is cooperative, go outside. How many times have you had a conversation with your neighbors while standing in your own yard? We do this all the time and I imagine you do too. Why not plan these yard chats to feel as if you are socializing? You might get the chance to meet neighbors you haven’t ever met or strengthen the relationships you already have. All while keeping a safe distance of at least 6 feet.
This is a great way for kids to be able to play without being in direct contact with one another. Parents will need to supervise smaller children with this idea, but any mom will agree that bored kids are no fun to be around, so it will be worth the effort. As a kid, I remember having Chicken Pox and figuring out a way to play Battleship with a neighbor with a fence between us. Whether its word games or karaoke use your imagination.
If the weather permits, go for a walk while keeping your distance from others. You will feel less isolated and you might see others with whom you can have a conversation with at a safe distance. Plus, those dogs still have to be walked, so sit on your porch and chat with the people out with their pups. Even a quick hello can make you feel as if you are socializing.
Games, games, games
Since the kids are going to be out of school for the next three weeks, we plan on breaking out the board games. You could potentially play these games online or even use skype to play a fun round of charades with friends. Some card games like “What do you meme” or Cards Against Humanity” might be playable with multiple decks going at the same time. What about making fun TikTok like videos and sending them to friends. Whoever gets the most likes wins?
No matter what you do, remember to stay 3-6 feet away from people even if you are outside. We can do sing-alongs with each other from a distance, play music, say hello and exchange pleasantries while also keeping an eye on each other as we practice social distancing so we continue to stay safe and healthy. Are any of your neighbor’s musicians? Will they take requests or plan a concert for the neighbors? Are there any neighbor children that play in the school band? What about dance-offs? Let the lip sync battles begin. I bet if you get bored enough, you might consider it and it could be fun!
Remember, we are social creatures and need social interaction. Feeling connected and not isolating is an important aspect of self-care. However, we also need to protect ourselves from spreading this new virus but it doesn’t have to be boring. Make sure you are moving your body in some way and not overindulging. Exercise is important. Think about the fun you can have as families or as individuals using social media, technology, and staying at safe distances. Again, get creative and share the ideas with everyone because we are all in the same boat.
If you have great ideas you want to share, please post them in the comments below. I look forward to seeing how resourceful you get.