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Staying Connected in this Time of Social Distancing

Because of the current health crisis, all our usual habits are being disrupted—most notably our social habits.

Gone are the days of stopping by your favorite coffee place before work, catching up with a friend over lunch, or bringing the kids to the park after dinner. We’re all having to get creative or even re-imagine the ways we usually connect now that we’re spending so much time cooped up.

For most of us, the routines of everyday life provide plenty of social engagement—even when we don’t necessarily want it! But now we must actively create that engagement. Technology certainly allows us all stay connected in more ways than one, but there are many other ways to connect with a little creativity. Here are just a few tips to stay connected during this period of social distancing.

video

FaceTime, Google Hangouts, Zoom, or Houseparty can all help us stay connected and engage with other people. If you have own a business, you could go live on Instagram or Facebook to keep your clients updated, provide them helpful tips when placing orders or just to let them know the overall wellbeing of the company.

Here’s a fun idea: Gather a group of friends and celebrate a birthday, go on a “double date” or just enjoy each others company during a cocktail hour.

Have the kids use Zoom to create a classroom atmosphere with some of their friends. While doing their work, they can see each other, so they feel together. In this way, they’re recreating the feeling of being at school working together with the classmates around them.

Text

Group texts can be great, because there’s a lot of conversation, humor, and information flowing with everybody chiming in. You can ignore it when you want, or jump in when you want—and when you do, there will probably be someone to respond to you. It’s just comforting to know that you’re part of a group and can always get someone’s attention.

call

Call a friend or neighbor, but don’t worry if  you may not have much to report to each other. Right now, we like the saying “no news is good news”. Just the social connection of hearing a friendly voice can brighten anyone’s day even if there’s not much to say. It’s more helpful to have quick, frequent check-ins than less frequent, longer check-ins.

One thing we’re all missing is companionship—just the quiet presence of other people.

Offer help

Although some people are familiar with today’s technology, most are eagerly adapting to the new tools that can be used to maintain engagement.  While working from home, you might naturally feel the impulse to connect with others, so consider reaching out to offering support.

For instance, show your parents how to watch videos on YouTube or maybe just use FaceTime for the first time. It will be time well spent and maybe you’ll get a lot of laughs out of it too!

Cook up a meal or pick up a few things at the grocery store for an elderly neighbor. It can be any simple task that can make someone’s day.

Stay Positive

Day after day it seems that the only news we’re seeing is bad news. Go out of your way to boost moods by sending funny meme’s, videos of your dog or a funny comedian. The Timehop app offers great flashbacks of what you posted on social media “on this day” 5 years or more ago.

Get Creative

Mail postcards, letters or care packages to friends or family out of state. Have the kids paint a self portrait and send it to a friend or their grandparents. It doesn’t matter how old you are, it’s always fun to get something unexpected from a friend in the mail.

final thoughts

Every generation is trying to adapt to this time of disconnectedness, so we may need to adapt to each other’s preferences as part of our efforts to stay in touch. You might even find you’re spending so much time communicating on the phone or video chatting, it has actually been nice to be in so much contact even when we feel so far apart.