We’re all observing safe social distancing guidelines as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19), but that doesn’t mean our relationships have to suffer. Even though we’re not able to be with our friends and family physically, keeping our social connections is necessary for our wellbeing.
We often think about wellness as one generic concept, but experts say that it’s a multi-dimensional state of wellbeing. Researchers at the University of Maryland say there are eight dimensions of wellness: physical, emotional, spiritual, financial, environmental, vocational, intellectual, and social wellness. That means that establishing a connection with others is crucial to good health!
We realize that social distancing is making this pretty tough, so we compiled a list of different ways you can connect with your loved ones and even meet new people. As we’ve come to see it, the quarantine is actually providing us with some unique opportunities for deep social connection. Check them out below.
Play a virtual game.
Virtual games are a great way to interact with others while we’re staying at home. You can play with people you know or even play with random people in virtual game rooms! You can play games like poker online at PokerStars, inviting friends or joining large game rooms with folks from all over the globe.
Other sites like Playingcards.io allow you to create your own virtual game room and invite your friends and family to play with you. This one has a few classic games like Checkers and Go Fish!
Have a virtual hangout.
If you’re one of the few people who hasn’t downloaded Zoom yet, go ahead and do so or join your friends and family on another platform and take advantage of the virtual hangout! Nowadays, families and friends all over the country are able to gather together for birthdays and happy hours in a way we’ve never seen. Use this time to catch up with your best friends from any and everywhere — all while staying in your comfy pants.
Donate to a humanitarian effort.
Another important part of social wellness is feeling like you’re a valuable part of your community, and a great way to do this is to give something of yourself. If you’re one the lucky folks who still have an income right now, consider donating to a local relief effort. If all you have is time, give some of that to a friend who needs to vent, or use that time to make and donate face masks to hospitals in need.
Write a letter.
Maybe you don’t have to send an actual paper letter, but hey, it could be fun! Write a heartfelt letter to a friend or family member you miss spending time with. I was recently inspired by this post about a father who writes his daughter a letter everyday. How sweet!
If there’s no one you really want to write a letter to or you’re interested in the idea of writing a letter to a stranger, try out digital pen pal services like Pen Pal World! The digital space has made connecting with others so easy. Sites like Pen Pal World connect you with others from all around the globe, and you can write to them via their messaging service! Apps like PenPals also allow you to write to a pen pal right from your phone.
Take virtual classes.
Experts in a variety of fields are hosting digital classes via services like Zoom where folks can tune in via video chat to connect and learn. If you’re into fitness, try looking for classes to take online that offer that sense of community, rather than just completing a workout at home alone. Fitness expert Denise Austin, for example, is offering free workouts via Facebook Live everyday! If that’s not really your thing, try joining a virtual book club — the New York Public Library has one! — , meditation session, or dance class.
Here’s to staying sane and social during the quarantine!