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How To Stay Social While You’re Social Distancing

Now, more than ever, is the perfect time to make an effort to connect…

These days, slowing the spread of COVID-19 is at the forefront of everyone’s minds. According to the CDC, social distancing means remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible. Sounds straight-forward enough, until it actually sinks in that you can’t have your weekly coffee date with friends, visiting your parents might not actually be a good idea, and happy hour with co-workers is cancelled for the foreseeable future.

With so much uncertainty about when life might start getting back to normal, it’s important to stay in touch with the people in your life even though you can’t be physically with them. In reality, we shouldn’t be trying to be less social right now, we should just be finding more creative ways to connect with each other while maintaining a physical distance. Here are just a few ways you can still have a social life without actually getting off your couch.

Lots and lots of video chats
Not being able to interact with other people for weeks on end has a way of getting even the most notorious introverts on board with video chats. From Skype to Zoom to FaceTime, there are plenty of apps that make getting a little face to face (screen to screen?) interaction easy.

Besides the periodic family dinner or get together with friends, most of us are used to communicating through text and email on a daily basis. That means you aren’t actually giving conversations your full attention. A video chat will force you to be present and fully engage. Not to mention, you might even be able to manage getting multiple people together at one time—something that seems impossible when everyone is on different schedules and has different priorities. Now is the perfect time to take advantage of everyone being at home and start getting into the habit of calling instead of texting.

Play more multi-player games
Gamers already have the concept of making friends and staying in touch with people from all over the world based on nothing more than sharing interests down. Now that we all have a lot more free time on our hands, playing a few games that include some collaboration or competition with other people could be a great way to spend our evenings. You don’t have to have an expensive gaming system to participate either. Just search the app store and you’ll find hundreds of options—there’s something for everyone!

Play with your friends, your colleagues, your family, or complete strangers. Or mix it up—you never know, you could end up with a few new friends you never would have met otherwise.

Watch a movie together
Movie theatres are closed and group movie nights are a thing of the past (for now), but have you ever noticed some shows and movies just don’t have the same effect when you watch them alone? Luckily, Netflix recently released its Netflix Party feature where you can add a group chat and synchronize video play back to watch something with multiple people at the same time. You can even pause for bathroom breaks and to discuss the craziest parts in unison! Sounds great, quarantine or not.

Share your experiences on social
Even when life is normal, a lot of us spend hours a day on social media, posting, scrolling and sharing memes. The COVID-19 quarantine is something we all have in common, so it’s only natural to turn to social media to share our experiences and feel like we’re not alone. There are always new trends to jump on (have you done the pushup challenge or drawn an egg yet?) and sharing relatable memes about working from home will never get old. Seeing the likes roll in can help remind you that you aren’t alone in feeling like you’re going to go crazy if you have to spend one more day inside.

Despite all the not-so-great news right now, there are always people who have a knack for spotting the humorous side of things, and we could all use a little more of that right now.

Do live social media workouts
So you can’t go to the gym or to your usual classes. Luckily, many fitness studios are using social media to stay connected to their loyal members—and inspire new ones. You’re of course free to follow along to a YouTube workout video or come up with your own at-home workout, but when you know there are other people struggling through the exact same lower body set you are in their living rooms across the country? Somehow it makes you push yourself just a little bit harder. And we all know it’s hard to stay motivated through a workout when there’s no one around to judge you (just me?)

Social distancing is an important part of slowing the spread of COVID-19, but it doesn’t actually have to mean you’re socially isolated. You might find yourself reaching out to people you haven’t talked to in awhile, and why not? We could all stand to get outside our social comfort zones a little more, even if it has to be while we sit on our couches in sweatpants we’ve been wearing for the last three days.

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