The global social landscape has changed almost overnight due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are both recommending self-isolation as much as possible, and social distancing when it is necessary to go out. Some states have even implements stay inside orders to slow the spread of this virus.
If you are someone who spends time with other people regularly, or who is close to friends and family, it’s easy to feel loneliness and isolation even after just a week or more. People, however, are creative and innovative, and many people have come up with ideas to stay entertained and connected during the pandemic.
#1 Have Regular Video Chats with Your Friends and Family
Google Hangouts and Whereby both have free video chat options for smaller groups of people. You can share your feelings and thoughts and check in on those you love. You might find yourselves comforted by familiar laughter – medicine we all need at this time.
#2 Move Happy Hour Online
Many now spend their days working from home during the pandemic but miss the connections with co-workers and the social aspects of our jobs. If you regularly gather at a local restaurant for after-work parties, meet online. It will be BYOB and bring your own snacks, but it’s a fun and easy way to alleviate the stress of working alone.
#3 Shower the Birthday Person with Calls and Video Chats
Do you have a family member spending their birthday in isolation? Coordinate family members to inundate them with phone calls and video chats to make what could be a sad birthday celebration a much happier one.
Set up a group call and sing the birthday song!
#4 Many Groups Have Moved Online
Support groups for nearly anything have efficiently moved their typical meeting times to Facebook live. AA, Nar-Anon, Al-Anon, grief groups, illness-specific groups, and interest groups like cooking, art, and knitting have all moved online to make it easier to stay in touch.
You could be a pioneer in your social circle by starting a virtual book club. Since books are available on audio and digital formats like Kindle and Apple books, you don’t even have to leave home to buy your next book.
Some neighborhoods have set up online needs/wants groups so that neighbors can exchange supplies to one another using the door drop method. With supplies at stores running low, the barter system gives your neighborhood a way to connect and care for one another.
#5 Make a Grief Plan if You Have Someone in Hospice
Because of limited group gatherings, even funerals have been interrupted, which consequently interrupts the grief process for many people. If you have someone in hospice or end of life care at home, making alternate arrangements now can help the family stay together virtually in the event of a family death. Even regular computer webcams or newer phone cameras can capture video of eulogies, fond memories, poetry readings, thoughts, and music to honor the loved one.
While few would consider this option ideal, it can help alleviate the feeling of aloneness during a family loss and can help loved ones honor the decedent in the best way possible right now.
#6 Meditation and Prayer Practices
Staying connected to ourselves and our own needs is more important than ever. If you already have a daily meditation or prayer practice, by all means, continue. Mindfulness can help alleviate anxiety and fear. It can bring peace, improved sleep, and even boost your mood.
If you never had time for prayer and meditation, now is a perfect time to start as we find ourselves spending more time in the home, and less time running around in the world. If you are unsure where to start, plenty of churches are holding online services, and many mindful meditation apps are free to download. Or you can simply sit quietly and focus on your breathing.
#7 It’s Still Safe to Shout and Wave
You might see a neighbor while taking out the trash, working in the yard, shoveling snow, or walking the dogs. You can maintain a safe distance and give a friendly wave or a shout hello. You never know, it might be the only contact that person has today. A smile always makes you feel less alone.
Reach out on Facebook to share your ideas for staying connected.