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Need help staying connected while social distancing? You’re not alone! We’ve found some tips that can help.
Humans are wired to be social. When you think about your crotchety Uncle Bob – an old hermit who happily lives alone in a cabin far beyond Bagdoodle Creek – you might second-guess this statement. But the truth is – going way back to caveman days – most of our ancestors lived in groups such as families, tribes, and villages. Hence the ancient proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.”
We have been given guidelines and laws to help protect us during this time of uncertainty.
While introverts are rejoicing over the current quarantine, some of us are likely to get pretty lonely- and that’s not good.
What can we do, during this time of seclusion, to stay connected, interact with our loved ones, and keep that social tap flowing?
1. Connect With Old Friends.
How long has it been since you hit up your college buddy from wood working class? You know, the one you used to go out with for drinks every Friday? Or your childhood best friend that you promised would always be a soulmate? Or that neighbor who lived next door 15 years ago, who was so supportive when you and your spouse went through a miscarriage?
Make a list of old friends from bygone times. People you spent time with a have fond memories of. Pick one friend per day, and call ‘em up. See how they’re doing.
This most likely is an extra difficult time for them. Isolation can lead to replaying negative thoughts, staying inside reduces exposure to sunlight, and worries over health can create extra anxiety. Text to let them know you’re thinking of them. Call to catch up – staying off of heavy topics like fears over getting sick. You never know what kind of difference you might make in their life at this time.
2. Host a virtual watch party.
Just because we are social distancing it doesn’t mean we can’t still throw parties!
Now more than ever there are numerous avenues and methods to connect online, whether on your phone, iPad, laptop or PC. There are also many streaming platforms that are also simple to use and have different benefits.
See our post “Virtual Watch Party Ideas” for more tips and ideas for throwing a bash the virtual way.
Video Chat/Video Conference platforms:
3. Hold a Driveway Party
What we really mean when we say “social distancing” is “physical distancing.”
But we can still chat with our neighbors across the driveway or over the fence while keeping a safe and recommended distance.
Plan with your neighbors a set time of day. Set out lawn chairs on the driveway or lawn. Set them up in hearing distance, as long as it’s 6 feet apart.
You can even do this tailgate-style, get out the BBQ and crack open some drinks. You know as they say “Where there’s smoke, there’s flavor!”
4. Take Up The Pen
When is the last time you got a card in the mail?
When we think of communication by mail, we think of the romantic by-gone days of our grandparents who sent heartfelt letters during the war that they kept in a box sealed with a rose for the rest of their lives.
Those days may be past, but who doesn’t LOVE getting something in the mail? It’s such a unique way to say “I”m thinking about you.” Just about anyone would be delighted.
Here are some ideas for topics:
– Memory Note – Let your loved ones know how much they mean to you. Write individual letters explaining the impact they’ve made on your life, and why you’re grateful to have them. We often don’t get the chance to really explain this in detail. They can keep this token for always, referring back to it at times when they really need a boost.
– Card – Use the scrapbooking website above to make unique homemade cards to send out to friends and family. A “just because” card in the mail is almost more fun and unexpected than receiving a holiday card! Or make up your own funny holiday to celebrate.
– Craft Story Book – Go to a thrift store and root through the picture books. Pick out a few – they should only be $1-3 each. Cut them up and create a little homemade children’s story booklet to send to the nieces and nephews in your life.
– Recipe Book – Go through your favorite recipes or old family recipes you have made over the years. Pick out the best ones and type them up with pictures. Or, contact family members and request their favorite recipes for a family recipe book. Ask for funny stories that accompany these recipes. Print out the recipes with the stories included. Bind the books with ribbon or string. Mail them to your family members. Check Pinterest for ideas on styles and methods.
– Sketch – Do you enjoy sketching or drawing? Using a small sketchbook (find cheap at Ross or even at your local thrift store), make a small drawing or sketch and send it to your loved ones. Color with colored pencil or watercolors.
– Origami – Head to your local craft store or if you live in a metropolitan area, there may be a Japanese variety store with very low cost items. Pick out some origami paper. At home, write messages and notes on the paper, then make them into your origami shapes of choice. Fold them tightly and mail them to loved ones (with a note explaining that there is a message inside). Easy Paper Origami has dozens of free tutorials on all kinds of cute little animals and shapes.
– Secret Admirer – Up the intrigue by sending an anonymous letter of admiration or love to a friend or acquaintance who could maybe use an uplift right now. Or if you’re really feeling daring, send a love letter to a secret admirer. Here are some tips on this daring topic.
5. Learn A New Skill Online
Just because we’re all stuck at home, it doesn’t mean we can’t enrich those brain cells!
There’s also no need to completely cancel workshops and classes we already attend- take it online! This is a great time to develop some skills and keep that economy moving.
What is something you’ve always wanted to learn to do? Knitting? Pastry making? Creative writing? Needlework? Is there a craft you’ve always wanted to do but never have time? This is a great time to finally do it.
Here are some ideas with links to free resources:
– Scrapbooking Classes
Scrapbook.com is now offering free classes on a wide range of topics such as Card Making, Embellishments, and Stamping. The classes are free, all that is required is registration by email, and purchasing their products for your crafts is optional.
– Cooking School
Thekichn.com is an amazing free online resource that takes you topic by topic through the basics of culinary arts that many of us never learned in the first place- did you know that quickly searing meat and veggies before cooking them adds a layer of flavor? It’s called “caramelizing.” I didn’t!
– Creative Writing
Shaelin at ShaelinWrites has a great free youtube channel that has dozens of videos covering all kinds of helpful creative writing topics such as: How To Use Symbolism, Inciting Incidents, and How To Generate Plot Material. She also includes links in her descriptions to other resources that back up her writing topics.
– Essay Help
Lisa’s Study Guides is also a great free resource for your high school or college aged students on all things involving writing for school assignments and courses.
– Floral Arranging
Bloomsbythebox.com has a whole series of free videos to show you how to properly arrange flowers at home, with many options on a budget. Topics include: How To Make A Simple Daisy Centerpiece and How To Make A Summer Peony Bouquet.
– Bob Ross Painting Videos:
The Bob Ross channel on Youtube Bob Ross mania has re-ignited, and the Joy of Painting Youtube channel has dozens of free videos from his acclaimed tv series, which have trended like wildfire and are a great way to get started with painting from home.
6. Teach A New Skill Online
Y’know.. you’d be surprised what you know!
Were you the best macrame crafter in your summer course? Were you the one to teach all your friends how to make perfect friendship bracelets in college? Are you obsessed with fingernail polish art? Are you strangely talented at keeping your car clean, even with 3 kids?
If we really think about it, I think we all can find some quirky or rare skill or ability that others could be greatly benefited by.
Now is the best time ever to make your own tutorial and post in online. You’d be surprised how many people want to learn, and you’d be surprised what you have to offer!
The quality of video on our phones these days way out-strips any home camera in the past, and there are so many platforms to choose from. Here is one of many quick tutorials for setting up a cheap at-home studio.
7. Join An Online Community
Reddit and Facebook these days have huge online communities where anyone anywhere can offer suggestions, comments and opinions. It can sometimes be a bit disorganized, but you’d be surprised how specific some of these groups get, and how many resources you can find just from suggestions. It can be very enriching to participate in a community that is surprisingly obsessed with exactly what you are obsessed with.
Here are some options of targeted groups to get you thinking:
– Explain Like I’m Five subreddit (a subreddit where anyone can ask any question and receive answers that a 5-year-old could understand)-
/r/Futurology is a subreddit that is all about speculating about the future. Hmm, might be some good creative writing ideas here too!
– r/shoestring For those who want to travel, but can only do so on a shoestring budget, this subreddit has incredibly ingenious tricks.
– r/snackexchange Users all over the world can swap snacks from different regions and countries, accessing snacks that they can’t get at home.
– /r/Nostalgia A subreddit full of photos, videos and stories reminiscing about the good old days.
– r/EatCheapAndHealthy Recipes, advice and tricks for eating cheap AND healthy- not mutually exclusive terms!
– /r/UpliftingNews For those tired of the same old news cycle and looking for an uplift.
– /r/OffMyChest – Sometimes you just need to vent to someone anonymous who has no idea who you are or the people you are venting about. This group fills this need.
–/r/DoesAnybodyElse/ – Is there something quirky that you do, that you’ve always wondered if other people do? This is a great little forum to connect with like-quirky people.
8. Drain the swamp
Guess what no one noticed- It’s spring! It’s a great time to clean out that basement or garage that has been nagging you for months.. maybe years! You’d be amazed at how refreshed you feel after finally getting this done. Ever since the Konmari mania hit, there are numerous resources to help you approach this without feeling like it’s just a huge chore.
See our post “Spring Cleaning During A Pandemic” for step-by-step ways to do this without pulling out all your hair.