With the new normal being all about tier style living, lockdown restrictions and social distancing, we can’t be the only ones feeling disconnected from our usual friendship circles. Louise Chandler shares tips for how you can stay connected.
Make no mistake about it. Our day to day lives have changed in ways that we could never have imagined at the start of the pandemic earlier this year in March. Having a social life, opportunities to spend time with friends, work colleagues and family – in real life – has become rare. So, how can we stay connected and shake off pangs of loneliness and feelings of isolation?
Try some of the tips in the following guide to help you stay connected with friends and loved ones.
Apps and technology are the real champions during this pandemic, allowing us to be COVID-considerate, to connect and stay in touch. Whether you want to touch base with work colleagues or have a giggle with your mates, the virtual world is a chance to see each other’s faces and catch up.
Using your laptop, a mobile phone or tablet gadget, you can choose to use video call options for one to one or group calls. Apps and software such as Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts or WhatsApp video makes you feel like you’re in the same room – well, almost.
Your regular dine out experience could easily be turned into a virtual dinner date or you can try to cook together.
Fancy some fun and games? Don’t forget to try Houseparty! It is the face-to-face social network that helps you be social with your friends and it’s a fun way to connect for fun video calls, and in-app games.
Listen and learn
Podcasts have become ever more popular this year; all you have to do is find your tribe who share similar interests and engage. You can listen to audio books, discussions and debates online using your laptop, tablet or mobile phone and it’s a great way to have company in the room with you while learning something new.
Are you a fan of the great outdoors? Yes, the weather is cold and damp right now, not to mention that it is practically pitch dark by 4 o’clock! BUT – time spent outside is vital for physical and mental wellbeing. If you miss seeing a friend or family member, arrange to meet up for a socially distanced stroll in a local park for some exercise and one-on-one quality time to boost your mood.
Exercise is a great way to boost mood and with many private gym and leisure centre classes now having gone online on the ‘gram, taking an exercise class, be it boxercise, yoga, Pilates or aerobics, is a great way to be sociable.
When was the last time you wrote a note to someone? Also, when was the last time that you received a note in the post (that wasn’t a takeaway menu or bill to pay)? Bring a smile to someone’s face and send them a handwritten note or buy a card with fun photo as a nice way to stay in touch.
Become a party planner
Turn yourself into a master host and organise an event online: try a quiz, be the DJ at your own music party, gig or homemade festival, host an online book club or cooking club to bring people together and have fun.
If you’re looking for inspiration, you can try “Meetup” or “Eventbrite” to find organised events that you can join to broaden your social network and build a bond with others over a shared interest.
Is there a film or TV boxset that you’d love to watch? Host a live streaming watch party with your pals in real time so you can chat and enjoy it together using apps such as Facebook, Netflix, Zoom and Amazon.
Give back to get back
Volunteering is a great way of giving back and making new connections in your community. Do some research to find out if there are volunteer opportunities in your local area. Perhaps you can join a befriending service to make new friends on the phone.
If you love dogs volunteer to walk your neighbour’s dog for exercise and a chance to enjoy time outside.
Keep an eye on local newspapers, social media forums and websites to see if there are people in your community that could use your support – socially distanced, of course.