It’s important that we all continue to stay home and minimize the spread of germs, but it’s also natural to feel a little stir crazy right now. Especially if you’re an extrovert and thrive on staying social. And stir crazy is just the tip of the iceberg — you may feel scared, anxious, lonely, invigorated or exhausted — I know I’ve felt all those things at various times on a daily basis!
Harvard Medical School psychologist and author Susan David recently said, “Not to try to brush aside or belittle or judge yourself if you’re experiencing difficult emotions. This is a tough time. But rather if we can use strategies to enable us to be with those emotions in healthy ways… this is what will ultimately enable us to bring our best selves forward.”
So, if you’re feeling alone right now, I want to offer you some easy ways to stay social — share your thoughts, emotions, and downtime together. And don’t feel like you always have to put on a happy face. Just bring an open mind and heart, and let the sense of connection replenish and uplift your spirits!
Read on for my activity guide to help you stay social while staying separate.
First, let’s talk about platforms. There are quite a few options for a video conference with your family and friends. Google Hangouts is free for people who have Gmail accounts and Google Meets for those with Google Suite. Both Skype and Zoom are available across smartphones and computer platforms, so once installed, it’s pretty easy to use. Both also allow you to share your screen with everyone on the call. A free Zoom account lets you host meetings of up to 100 people for 40 minutes, while Skype has a free web-based option available as well, for your grandpa who doesn’t want to install an app. And there’s always FaceTime too.
Birthday (Candle) Blow Outs
While it’s a total bummer to spend your birthday home alone, there’s no need to cry in your cake (unless you wanna, it’s your party). 😉 Invite all your best buds to a virtual party, and ask them to each have a candle ready to blow out with you after everyone sings “Happy Birthday”. Or as one of my friends did recently, had a parade of cars filled with her friends driving by wishing her a happy birthday! Music and party favors are allowed. ????????????
Major Movie Night
Normally, you’d want to watch a movie without a lot of chit-chat, but when you’re social distancing, the commentary is welcome! You can catch up on your favorite binge-worthy shows together with the Chrome extension Netflix Party. This app syncs the playback, so no need to coordinate 10 screens at once, plus it creates a chatbox on the side of the screen so you can all gasp virtually at once at the shocking bits.
Or create a Facebook Watch Party, which allows you to put out a bat signal on your News Feed, in a group, or on a Page (if you’re an admin), and see who else on your Friends List loves “The Crown” as much as you.
Virtual Game Nights
Nothing brings a group of people together quicker than an engrossing and entertaining board game, so it’s no surprise you can still find tons of this good ol’ fashioned fun online.
If you’re a fan of Cards Against Humanity, there are multiple ways to play the game online with your friends, for a hearty laugh or a well-timed cringe, and most of them are free. No expansion pack required!
You may remember the quiz-based party video game “You Don’t Know Jack” series. Well, the makers have a whole slew of interactive games crammed into their Jackbox Party Packs, from trivia to Pictionary to charades, and the company provides instructions to easily play with friends over video-conferencing. The packs involve a small investment (between $12-21) but are well worth it for the variety of options and the production quality.
If you prefer classic board games (or you’re playing with older family members who may not appreciate the crassness of Cards Against Humanity), the old standards like Scrabble, Clue, Boggle, Monopoly and Uno are available on your smartphone to play alone or with others. Check them out here and here.
Even before the global lockdown, online book clubs were bringing together readers from around the globe. Some of them require monthly subscription fees to cover the cost of the books, but here are a few free ones to check out.
The Perks Of Being A Book Addict
This group boasts +23K members and offers two book options each month, one based on a theme as voted on by its community.
Poppy Loves Book Club
Poppy Loves Book Club is a celebration of women, bringing ladies together each month to read new female voices in literature. The author often joins the online discussions as well!
The Procrastinators Book Club
If you just can’t seem to get around to reading all those bestsellers you’ve bought, this is the group for you. Even if you don’t read the specific books selected each month, you can participate in challenges and read-a-thons to help you finally reach the end of that page-turner on your night stand.
If none of these options peak your literary fancy, start a club of your own with a few friends. It really only takes two people to discuss a good book over coffee, so you can even find a partner by putting a call out to your Facebook friends, on Goodreads or even on Reddit!
Long Distance Dinner Dates
The quarantine has forced us all to reevaluate and appreciate the ways we connect with one another. While it may be unconventional, love is still very much in the air! If you were in the middle of a budding romance when the pandemic hit, don’t let it put the kibosh on your plans!
Plan a romantic dinner date together over video conferencing. Cook your meals simultaneously (it doesn’t even have to be the same dish), and sit down for a candlelit evening. Just remember to plug in your laptop for all those long conversations.
If you’re single but looking to mingle, online dating apps have been adjusting their platforms to take social distancing into account and help you stay social. Both Bumble and Coffee Meets Bagel have begun offering virtual meetups for singles, as well as in-app video chat for members. Even 6 feet apart, it’s still possible to meet someone special in a big city; check out this couple’s cute love story.
P.S. You can obviously have dinner dates with your girlfriends or your family too. I’ve been cooking dinner virtually with a few of my good friends a few nights a week!
How have you been staying plugged-in during lockdown? Let us know in our The Badass Beauty Club on Facebook, and connect with our community of like-minded women.
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