As you know, this is an uncertain and albeit eerie time amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The University of Texas extended spring break by another week and has officially announced that classes for the remaining weeks of the semester will be presented online. You can revisit this official announcement here. While this period is uncomfortable for all of us, it is in everyone’s best interest to socially distance themselves from one another and to continue practicing good hygiene.
In the midst of this difficult time, it is also still important to stay socially engaged. Fortunately, we have the gift of smartphones, the internet, social media, and all sorts of platforms at our disposal to stay connected and entertained while most of us are at home.
In the next blog post, I will share some healthy recipes to stir your imagination so that you can avoid the “Quarantine Fifteen” (like, the “Freshman Fifteen”) as all the gyms are closed! Stay tuned, but for now, practice social distancing with these…
5 Ways to Connect with Friends Amid COVID-19
One of the most obvious ways to virtually connect is to video chat! You can use Skype, FaceTime or Zoom to meet up with your friends…almost face-to-face. You can get creative with this and have tea time, dinner, drinks (I, myself, am having my 21st birthday very soon and sadly all the bars are closed), or just a regular-ole chat together. Another great aspect of this is that you can also video chat in groups. If you’re still working on a group project for class or just miss all of your gal-pals, linking up in a group can be a wonderful way to offset stress and have a laugh (which supports your immunity, by the way).
We thought that the days of snail-mail were lost, but nay. Have you ever sent a letter or a goodie-bag to a friend, just for fun??? Now is your chance because many of us won’t be able to see one another now that classes are online and most everyone has moved to their hometown. You can write a thoughtful letter to your best friend, send some printed out pictures, send a box of cookies that you baked, send a potato!? The possibilities are endless. If you’re sending letters back and forth, you should create your own letterbox for safe-keeping so that you have all of the precious letters that you’ve received to review at a later, less-quarantine-y time. The anticipation and suspense of receiving mail makes the experience 10x better; something that our generation has forgotten as we are used to instant communication.
You’re saving so much time on your commute (as you’re no longer commuting), that you can invest all that time into reading! Reading is a great way to learn, to be entertained and even to bond with people. There is no better time to create a virtual book club with your friends. You and your book club attendees can agree on a book to read and schedule times to discuss certain chapters. You can discuss over email or video chat. It may sound like homework but it can be engaging and fun, especially when you call the shots!
Online and Video Games
The internet is vast and nearly every social media platform has some type of social online gaming in place. Facebook has loads of games available to play, but there are hundreds of websites available to you. One of my favorite sites is freeonlinegames.com. If you actually own a gaming console that is not a computer, you already know what to do. If you have a PlayStation, Xbox or Nintendo, you can connect with friends online and play for hours.
Netflix Party is a free extension on Google Chrome that allows you to chat with your friends while you watch Netflix! It “synchronizes video playback and adds group chat to your favorite Netflix shows”. All you have to do is Install, Open Netflix and choose what to watch, and then Create or Join a party! You will have a URL that you can share with friends. We already know that Netflix is an excellent way to pass the time, so now you can enjoy with friends effortlessly and without the lag of trying to watching something together on FaceTime.
BONUS: Social Wishlist
There’s nothing like not being allowed to do something that makes you really want to do it. There are things I never considered doing before that now that I can’t, it’s on the list of things to do! Something that I enjoy doing, in general, is making a wishlist or list of experiences that I’d enjoy. If your lack of going out is triggering this in you as well, I would suggest making a list of all the experiences that you’d like to do once life gets back to normal. Make this fun by collaborating with friends! This could be going to a new restaurant, exploring a different part of town, going shopping at a store you’ve never visited, taking a dance class, getting a massage….Of course, we don’t understand all the repercussions of what is going on and it may take a long time for business to resume as usual. Until then, this still isn’t a terrible way to entertain yourself and may bring some excitement and inspiration into your day.
Remember to wash your hands, cover your sneezes, keep your distance and take care of yourself! Eating well and resting well cannot be overstated. If you need some alternative ideas on how to take care of yourself, see the resources below.
Visit Dr. Axe (draxe.com) to find out about immune supporting foods.
Visit Deepack Chopra (chopra.com) for mental wellbeing.
Visit everydayhealth.com for tips on healthy living.