During a crisis, it’s crucial that we reach out and keep in contact with our loved ones. Yet social distancing has made this so much harder than usual… What do you mean I can’t go out to bars and drink wine? Or go to the gym just to gossip?
Due to fears of the virus spreading, many of us have been ordered to stop socialising in large groups, traveling and avoid going outside. Most shops are closed and we can’t get our nails done. But the real tragedy is that Netflix has stopped production on any new shows. What are we gonna do when we run out of trash TV to watch?? I can’t possibly subject myself to “Love is Blind” a second time around. But if I have to, I will.
Our only saving grace is that supermarkets/grocery stores remain open meaning I can still get my Oreo fix. The world isn’t ending yet, lads. Although I hear the biscuit isles in the UK have been empty of weeks. If anyone needs biscuits let me know… American ones aren’t as good but you’ve gotta take what you can get.
What a time to be alive
Now don’t get me wrong, this is completely how it should be as we work to curb the spread of this deadly pandemic. Many people are still suffering and if strict measures were not put in place, the situation could have gotten much, much worse. I’d rather be safe than sorry.
For many ex-pats or military families stationed abroad like myself, we are familiar with how difficult it is to be isolated from friends and family. And these extra restrictive measures on travel are making it harder than ever before. There’s a lingering feeling of helplessness when you are unable to hug and comfort your loved ones during such an uncertain time.
Yet I continue to be blown away by the positivity and resilience you are all showing, whether you are separated by 5 meters or 5000 miles.
However, isolation and social distancing is hard and its putting severe a toll on my social life. I haven’t seen another 3D person aside from my husband or the (amazing) supermarket workers in 2 weeks. My already limited social life is completely dead.
Or is it?
Who else has called their grandparents more than they usually would? Anyone else digging out that Skype user name or figuring out a new video chat app with distant friends?
Your hands better all be up.
Keep in contact with your friends
The most amazing this about this social distancing thing is how we are all reaching out waaay more than usual. Yesterday morning, my Uni (college) friends and I discovered the genius app, Houseparty, that allows you to instantly video call with friends. But it’s not just that… you’re notified when a friend is on the app or “in the house” so you can jump on calls, you can invite friends to your room/call, send facemails and even play games together. We spent a glorious 2 hours mainly playing Pictionary. Time well spent if you ask me. And by the end of the day, I had convinced everyone else I know to get it.
I even discovered my mum was on it and was planning a prosecco evening with her friends through the app that evening…. Next time I’m bringing a nice glass of gin to improve my drawing skills or to explain my lack of such talents.
It sounds ridiculous but it was brilliant to just hang out online. I had one of the best days in a long time, all because I spent time with friends.
As someone who has lived abroad for a few months now, I’m acutely aware of how valuable a simple 30-minute call with my friends can be. It may be selfish, but what’s great about the quarantine is that everyone else seems to understand and feel this now. And they are making the extra effort to keep in contact and check in on each other.
And it’s all because of social media
Social media is often seen as the root of all evil. Believe me, certain aspects of what happens on it were born in those fiery depths. But if there is one positive thing to come from this, its that we can see the power social media has to bring us together during such upheaval and fear.
How can we keep in contact and social distance?
The key to keeping in contact is not just picking up the phone or sending a text. Its remembering to do it. And doing it regularly.
Now I’m not saying you need to contact everyone on your phone every day. That would get a little annoying for the person receiving these daily check-ins… You know what is regular for you and how much time you need to put into a relationship to keep it strong so I’m gonna let you be the judge. Just make sure you remember that person is there and if you wanna keep in contact you should probably check in now and then.
Honestly, with the crazy whirlwind that the last 6 months of my life have been, I’ve not been all that good at replying to messages. Sometimes I have been, but often I’ve let other things get in the way.
So to finish off, here are a few tips to help you keep in contact with everyone, both during this crazy time and for when we return to regular programming…
- Finding yourself scrolling through Facebook more than usual? Why not switch over to messenger and find out how the people you actually care about are doing.
- Schedule a weekly call with your parents – when I was driving to and from work I’d use that time to call my mum back in the UK as it timed perfectly with just before she would go to bed.
- Isolated from that significant other? Pretend you’re in a period drama and send a love letter. It’ll be something cute to show the kids when this is all over.
- Find a youtube workout you and a friend have been thinking of trying and do it at home each morning…. Then catch up later to compare aches and motivate yourselves to keep moving.
- Dreaming of a girls trip? Make those plans! There’s no need to set dates just yet but do some research and compare ideas, it’ll be so much harder to put it off once you’ve picked out a specific area to explore. And you will have some quality time together you can enjoy in person once we’ve beaten the virus.
- Get Houseparty! No, they aren’t sponsoring me, I just LOVE IT. Or another app that lets you play simple games with friends. Sometimes its fun to laugh at your groups’ collective lack of artistry.
- Into video games? Go online with a Nintendo switch and get some multiplayer games like Mario Cart or fall into the beautiful black hole that is Animal Crossing – great for passing the time and to feel like your visiting friends, even if it is just their virtual island…
- Get the Netflix Party google chrome extension and binge watch that new release on Netflix together. Gone are the days of trying to start it at the same time, the extension synchronizes playback and even offers a group chat (but now shhh, it’s starting!!)
I hope you’re all coping during this such a strange time… keep in contact with each other and reach out if you’re struggling. It may seem ironic, but in this time of isolation, we need to lean on our connections more than ever.
So how are you navigating quarantine or social distancing? And what are your tips for keeping up with friends and family when you can’t chat face to face? Share in the comments below!