Socially Distant but not Disconnected

21 Apr, 2020

In a short time, the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically transformed the way we live and communicate. In recent weeks, populations across the globe have been staying at home as much as possible. For most, that means working and studying from home. It also means socialising from home. Social distancing policies mean that we are largely restricted from seeing our friends and family, and importantly, our key support people - unless it is through a screen.

As humans, we are social beings and we crave connection - it is a central part of our wellbeing. It is important to acknowledge that the sudden drop in opportunities to socialise can be uncomfortable and tricky to navigate.

So, what are we all doing to get virtually out and about?

Many people have been connecting with their loved ones online, via video conferencing. It is not exactly the same as face-to-face catch ups and big bear hugs – but it’s a pretty good substitute for the time being!

Playing games or hosting themed trivia nights, with one friend acting as quizmaster, is a great way to get a dose of that much needed connection. Another idea is to watch a movie or television series while on video chat and have an e-drink together.

We have also heard of some companies that have organised a “lunchroom” Zoom meeting every day, so you can catch up during your meal break like old times. This might be something you can implement with your workmates.

If you are still feeling isolated or you have exhausted your list of contacts - there are many online social activities where you can meet new friends.

  • Bumble

Download the Bumble app and select "friendship" - Bumble is not just for dating! Bumble BFF is a way to meet new people in your area.

  • Meetups have gone virtual!

Some activities include board games, trivia nights, book clubs and meditation groups.

One of the groups has a discord server they use, so you would likely be able to chat to people at any time of day, as well as playing games.

Remote workers coffee group might be a nice way to have a virtual office kitchen catch up.

  • Do a live online art class

Some services deliver a box of supplies to your door and invite you to complete the project with an online class.

  • Join an online community.

There are also many positive, friendly and empowering online communities that you can join (for example, The Shameless Podcast page on Facebook has difference topic threads each day that might be interesting to you).

  • Go to a party (at home)

Hot Dub at Home is an epic 2.5 hour dance party that you can do at home and it happens every second Saturday night.

  • Join a group chat

headspace hosts regular group chats that are moderated. The themes of some upcoming chats include relationships, getting active, preparing for the winter blues.

Although socialising looks different now, there are many ways to connect with other people. It can be helpful to remember that the social distancing policies in place right now are only temporary - they will not be in place forever.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to your loved ones if you need company and remember to check in on your friends. Keep connected to others, daily social contact via text or facetime is needed. Let people know how you are doing, let them support and help you, even if by just being there.

We are all in this together and there will come a time when our lives will return to normal.