Feeling isolated from friends and family, because of the pandemic? You’re not alone.
The pandemic has turned the world upside down, forcing people to stay home to help stop the spread of the virus. As a result, people will experience long periods of isolation, which can take its toll on even the most depressive person. Needless to say, feelings of loneliness and isolation are pandemics of themselves.
While many people are adhering to pandemic restrictions and social distancing, it can be challenging to keep up with one’s social life. Being forced to cancel plans and meetups due to the pandemic can really take a toll on one’s mental health.
So, how can you cope with the lack of social activities during pandemic?
Well, the good news is, you can still be social with friends and family by going online. With many ways to connect with people digitally, the Internet has been a safe haven for those wanting to stay social during pandemic.
Why Staying Social Matters
As mentioned, isolation can affect a person’s mental state, which can have disastrous consequences. Even if it seems minimal, isolation and loneliness are things to take seriously, especially at times like this. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported the signs of mental health and stress issues that have stemmed from the pandemic, including:
- Appetite changes
- Changes in desires and interests
- Changes in energy
- Decision-making issues
- Increased alcohol/drug/tobacco consumption
- Mental problems
- Physical pains (i.e., headaches, stomach problems, etc.)
- Problematic feelings
- Excessive sadness
- Frustration, etc.
- Sleep problems (i.e., nightmares), etc.
Therefore, it’s important to stay social, regardless of the current situation.
With that in mind, here are 10 ways that you can stay social while social distancing during COVID-19:
- Encourage Low-Pressure Chat
Ever wished that chat was less overwhelming? You can with low-pressure chat!
Chat platforms like Slack and Discord let you set up channels that allow you to talk about certain topics without having to juggle various topics all at once. The point of these platforms is to have a safe place to talk about things as a community.
Just keep in mind: In low-pressure chats, you’ll need to leave the negativity at the door. In other words, don’t let these chats turn into a sob fest or a depressive session. Try talking about positive things like movies, trends, new skills, etc.
- Online Movie Night
Are you a movie buff? Have friends and family that love movies too? No problem!
Online platforms like Facebook let you and your friends host Watch Parties, provided that a video has already been uploaded to Facebook, and it’s a public domain title.
Or, you can go to Discord and screen share with up to 50 people, while one person plays a movie or Netflix on their screen for everyone else to see. You can also do this with other streaming platforms like:
- HBO Max
- Roku, etc.
Perhaps, after the movie, you and your family and friends can have a trivia session on the movie you’ve just viewed. Or, you can discuss the movie in a fun discussion. Have fun!
- Play Digital Board Games
Remember playing board games in your youth? You might remember classics like Monopoly and Scrabble that you would play with friends and family.
The good news is, board games are no longer just in-person gaming. In fact, many board games (traditional ones, specifically, like Scrabble) have either joined the digital scene (having digital adaptations of the original), or there are original ones hitting the scene and gaining attraction via social media.
So, why not make it a “digital” board game night by inviting your friends on social media to play some games with you? Who knows? You might have a great time doing so! And, if you stream it on YouTube or Twitch (which are very popular these days), you’ll inspire other people to do the same!
- Digital Happy Hour
Who can say that happy hour is only for the bar?
Many people have made happy hour digital, rather than go to the local bar or pub. By using chat platforms like Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, etc., people can enjoy drinking with others and have a good time. And the best part? There’s no need to assign a designated driver when everyone is drinking from the comfort of their own home.
Plus, getting drinks is easy, despite the limited in-store visits or shutdowns. People have taken to delivery serves like Favor to get the essentials for digital happy hour, including alcohol.
- Start An Online Club
Clubs are an essential part of social interactions. But with COVID-19 barring people from gathering in the hundreds or thousands in certain places, people have either taken their clubs online, or have created their own online clubs to stay social. The possibilities are endless, when it comes to creating a club. Just pick a niche, and then spread the word online!
Who knows? You might inspire the next trend among so many that have sprung up during the pandemic. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- DIY/How-To Hacks
- Pop culture
- Zumba, and so on
Remember: The sky is the limit! Get your friends and family in on the action! Plus, you’ll even get to meet new people when you start your own online club!
Now, speaking of yoga and Zumba, this leads to the next point!
- Host Digital Group Workouts
Miss your regular workout routine at the gym? Worried that you’ll lose your six-pack abs and or lean figure by just sitting around at home? Then don’t you worry!
Plus, before the pandemic, you might not have thought of visiting the gym to begin with, because you might’ve been self-conscious about doing so. You might’ve felt embarrassed about even setting foot in a local gym. The good news is, with group workouts being digital nowadays, you’ll feel less stressed about doing exercise around other people.
And, people are developing their own workouts these days. Even though the local gym may be closed due to COVID-19, you can still create a workout routine at home. Once you have a great routine planned out, you can invite people via Zoom, Skype, etc. to join you for group workouts.
Furthermore, if you’re a gym trainer yourself specializing in things like yoga and Zumba, then you’re in luck! Many trainers will take their fitness classes online. So, you’re your regular fitness instructor is offering sessions online, then go for it!
- Have Free Online Concerts Watch Parties
You heard right! Who said that concerts had to be in person? In fact, live streams have now made it possible for people to view concerts.
If you’re a music lover or a concert-goer, you’ll be glad to know that virtual concerts are springing up online, especially on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Like watching free movies and videos online, you can also throw Watch Parties for whenever free virtual concerts pop up. Just type in your favorite music genre, along with “free online concert.” Some celebrities are even doing free virtual story times for viewers to tune in to.
- Go On Virtual Tours
Ever wanted to go somewhere, but can’t because of the COVID-19 lockdowns? No problem!
While museums and zoos may be closed to the public, you can still take advantage of virtual tours. That’s right! Many establishments like museums and zoos are making the guest experience more digital by offering free virtual tours. Just go on your computer, tablet, or smartphone with one or more people, and then enjoy!
This is something that would be great for the kids especially, since most museums are valuable sources of educational values in history, science, etc. Instead of having your kids watch TV all day, why not expose them to a virtual tour of their favorite museums?
- Try Writing Letters
Letter writing isn’t as nonexistence as one might guess. In fact, even sending a physical letter to a loved one can help cheer them up during these tough times. Therefore, handwriting isn’t 100% a lost art, and it can help you cut back on being on the computer or other electronics.
Plus, if you’d like, you can decorate your letter to that special person in your life. You can even get the kids in on it by letting them get creative with stickers, glitter, drawings, and so on.
You can also try cursive handwriting in your letters. Again, handwriting isn’t a dead art just yet. In fact, you might get funny quirks about how you spell a word in cursive.
As you can see, many fun things can happen when you write a physical letter to someone.
- Ask For Help, And Offer Help
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Yes, everything is crazy right now, due to COVID-19. But hang in there! Remember: We’re all in this together. Even if it doesn’t feel like it, it’s true.
Reach out to friends and family, if you ever feel lonely or sad. Chances are, your friends and family might be feeling the same way. There’s no shame in feeling sad and lonely at times like these.
Also, help comes in two ways: Someone helps you, and you help others. In other words, be a hero and friend to someone you love. You can reach out to friends and family on your own, and offer your company. Or, you can even run errands for people who can’t leave their homes due to COVID-19 restrictions. As you can see, going the extra mile to reach out to people can make a world of difference in one’s day!
BONUS: Learn A New Skill
The good news is, a lot of people are learning something new every day. From fast-growing trends to remote job opportunities springing up in response to the pandemic, now is the time to learn something new yourself. Even if you haven’t planned on learning a new skill, it doesn’t hurt to try. According to Forbes, people have taken the initiative in learning new skills, so that they could maintain mental health during the lockdowns brought on by the pandemic.
World Economic Forum lists the most popular skills to learn at home:
- Cloud and distributed computing
- Analytical reasoning
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
- UX design
- Business analysis
- Affiliate marketing
- Computer Science
- Video Production, and so on.
With that said, here are a few sites online that provide bastions of skills training and growth (and they’re FREE):
- Khan Academy
- Skillshare, etc.
While some of these resources offer free trials before the subscription paywalls, there is still much to discover when you start learning a new skill online!
As you stay home and social distance, it doesn’t have to be stressful and lonely.
With the rise in technology, new possibilities are on the horizon, which can help you stay social with the people that you love. Remember that you have options, when dealing with isolation. Technology can help you stay connected no matter where you are.
By taking into account these 10 ways to stay social, you can still have a social life. Just hang in there, and have fun!
Remember: If you or someone you love is dealing with stress and isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, know that there are many resources that you can reach out to. Don’t ever wait for the problem to worsen to ask for help. Here are some excellent resources to contact, should you or a loved one struggle during these tough times:
- Betterhelp Email: [email protected]
- CDC (800) 232-4636
- Crisis Text Line
- Text HOME to 741741
- (In the UK) Text HOME to 85258
- (In Ireland) Text HOME to 50808
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1 (800) 273-8255
All resources listed are available 24/7 to ensure that people can get the help that they need right away.
Elizabeth Hines is a writer at Write my dissertation and Write my paper. She is also a contributing writer for OX Essays. As a digital marketer and writer, she writes about latest tech and marketing trends, innovations, and strategies.