Whether you're an extrovert or an introvert, like me, you're a human being and you require socialising. For extroverts, like most of my family and friends, social distancing has felt like absolute torture. If you're an introvert, you can hold out a bit longer before you start to feel depressed but that feeling is inevitable without people to interact with. Bound to the house, what can you do?
My friends, family, and I immediately started brainstorming ideas of how we could stay connected without physically being with each other. We wanted to keep each other safe while still feeding our basic needs for relationship. So, here are a few basic ideas to start you off with.
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1. Have a Dinner Date
Two of my husband's and my close friends are a couple in Los Angeles. They moved from NYC to LA only a few months before we made our move to London. So the four of us, not having much of a community yet in our respective new homes, immediately sought each other out when social distancing started.
We now have a standing Friday Couples Date Night (late night for us in London while mid-afternoon for our friends) via FaceTime. We eat a meal or snack together over a bottle of wine. It's great to exchange recommendations of new wine with each other, check in on how we're doing, and share laughs. It doesn't replace physically being together, but it's the next best thing for now.
2. Cook Together
Alternative to eating together through video chat, you can also cook together. Take turns with your friends where each of you brings a recipe for all parties to attempt. Ideally, you want to offer simpler recipes, for the novice cooker, consisting of common household foods (ie. flour, oil, eggs, etc) considering certain groceries might not be easily available for everyone.
Meaning, you don't want a recipe that requires something like quail eggs. buffalo meat, or an uncommon cheese. You will challenge each other to learn something new while enjoying each others' company. If your recipe requires a splash of wine, feel free pour yourselves a glass and cheers into the video camera!
3. Stream a Movie Together
Yes, I had no idea what this was until recently. I made a new friend in London two weeks before social distancing was recommended. We hit it off and had plans to meet again but now, we're stuck in our respective homes. We're both still getting to know each other and are desperate to build a community in our new home country, but how in the world do we do that? Do we just put a new friendship on hold for the next several months? I know what's you're thinking. Yes, it's an odd situation.
So, my new friend suggested we stream a movie together. This is absolutely new to me, but apparently is very popular. You can find several options for applications that allow you to stream together as if you're in a movie theatre. Technology is amazing! If this didn't exist, I was going to suggest that my friend and I count down to press <PLAY> on a movie streaming app and pray that one of us doesn't have a speed lag in their wifi for the next 2 hours. It's not the best idea. So, I've opted to try the movie streaming apps. One of the most popular apps is called Watch2gether. Here's a list of many other apps.
4. Online Group Board Games
My friends and I love, love, love to play board games! Name it, we love it: Settlers of Catan, Monopoly, Exploding Kittens, Tickets to Ride, Sushi Go, and the list is endless. We literally just bought some new board games to play with friends a couple of weeks ago. It's been used once and now will collect dust indefinitely. But once again, technology is amazing!
5. Online Video Games
If you or anyone in your household has a Nintendo Switch, you can easily play with friends on the internet. I mocked my husband when he purchased a Nintendo Switch last year, calling him a child. Who's laughing now. Hint: It's not me. I don't particularly love video games when you're going up against each other, but I love working together in games. It forces us to make a plan, execute the plan, and communicate the entire way through.
My husband and I are trying out a game called Overcooked. I'm obsessed! It's a cooking game where you can team against each other or work together to cook meals against the time clock. It forces us to effectively communicate to go on to the next levels. I find this much more therapeutic to get your mind off of the current crisis occurring outside of your home and you're building on your communication skills and reaction time instead of just passively watching another TV show vegging out on the couch.
You can also play with friends online! To learn how, you can find out more information on the Nintendo Switch website.. My friends and I are planning to try this out online since you can play with up to 12 friends.
6. Book Club
If video games are not your cup of tea, but you enjoy reading, why don't you start a book club? First, you and your friends create a list of books you want to read. I'm sure you have a few in mind that you've been wanting to read for some time. You can either stick to a specific genre as a group or mix it up.
Then, combine those lists together and take a vote on the top 2-5 books you definitely want to read (the number will vary based on the size of your group and how quickly you want to read through these books).
Next, create a schedule of how often you'll virtually meet via a video chat to discuss the book. It could be once a week or even more frequently now that you may have more time on your hands. Make yourself a cheese plate and pour a glass of wine in your respective homes during your meeting at Book Club to make it feel more official.
There are a ton of other ideas out there if you search. I know some friends are having virtual Happy Hours with colleagues, which is a great idea as well to maintain camaraderie despite not being in the office. Just be sure you plug into some form of virtual community since, as the poet John Donne stated, "no man is an island".
It's my hope and prayer that you are doing well and staying home during this time. If you need any tips on Keeping the Peace in your household or tips on Boosting Your Immune System, please read my previous blogs for free and easy tips. If you want to reach out to me, I am more than happy to hear from you via comment or e-mail. Stay safe and be well, friends!
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