The world this past month has been hectic. Everyone has been told to practice social distancing in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. I am sure a lot of people are hesitant to do this. What about my friends? What if I go stir crazy? I thought so too. And well, yes, I am going stir crazy. But here is a few things I have been doing (that can also involve friends) to help the time pass that I hope gives ideas to those struggling with social distancing.
Group Chats and Calls
The next best thing to talking to friends face to face is group chats and calls. If your friend group does not already have a group chat, make one! You will regret it later if you do not. My friend group uses Discord to chat, and there are 40+ people participating in it. We have been using the server since March 2019 and is still going strong. People do group calls it in almost daily and we have used it to work on homework together, play games or just socialize.
There are plenty of apps to choose from in order to do this. All of the apps I am about to suggest have an app version and a browser version or Google add-on version.
- Discord is a very customizable and easily organizable app can have different chat channels for specific stuff if you make a server. You can video call, voice call, text and share your computer screen. Only individual group chats have the video call feature, but all servers have the voice call feature.
- Skype is more on the professional side of group chats. You can video call, voice call, text and share your screen. It is very easy to navigate.
- GroupMe is a very standard group chat app. There is no call or video feature, but it is an easy-to-use app.
- Line is another standard group chat app with a bit more stuff than GroupMe. There is a call feature and cute stickers to use for chats.
Watching Movies and TV
If you have been meaning to catch up on a TV show that you set aside three years ago or start the show that everyone has been talking about, now is the best time to do it. There are plenty of streaming services like Netlflix and Hulu as well as YouTube for fun creative content. Jenna Marbles has been helping me get through this tough time and honestly her content never gets old.
Want to watch shows with friends? There are ways to do so! You can either go the old-fashioned way and start a group call and everyone start the video all at the same time or use websites like Netflix Party or Kast to watch videos together.
Clean Your Surroundings
I know it sounds like a huge chore, but I assure you cleaning up around you will help you feel better both mentally and physically. As soon as my campus announced that it was shifting to online classes until further notice, I thoroughly cleaned my room because I knew it was going to become my new classroom. I washed my bed sheets, vacuumed the floor, dusted every surface and disinfected everything that I knew I would touch. You are probably going to be stuck in your home for a while so might as well make sure you it is the type of environment that you want to be stuck in for months on end.
Bond with Family and Pets
If you have the opportunity and mental capacity to do so, social isolation is a good way to help bond with family. Establish movie nights, game nights or group meals. Your family is probably going to be one of the few social interactions you can get, so might as well utilize it. I am taking this time to bond with my pets since this past semester I have rarely been home to spend time with them. My parrot is beyond thrilled that I have been able to hang out with him for extended periods of time now that I do not have to go to campus daily. If you do not have any pets, the next best thing are plants.
Go Outside (within reason)
Being cooped up inside is not great for anyone’s mental health. I know if I do not leave my house at least three times a day I will not feel great by the time it is dark. If you have a yard or a safe side-walk, go for a walk from time to time. Sit outside on your porch or balcony, or just go on a drive to nowhere and come back home just to feel some normalcy again. But if you feel sick and are likely to run into people, stay inside.
Whether it be via online or something tangible, games are a great way to engage your mind without having to leave your house. The other day my friends played Jackbox Games with Discord and it was honestly the best night I have had in a few weeks. Jackbox Games is a series of miscellaneous games that involves one host with the visuals on a screen and then mobile devices to answer prompts that are on the screen. It has a wide variety of games from Quiplash where you respond to prompts to Trivia Murder Party where you answer trivia questions but with a dark twist. In order to do this while everyone is so far from each other, the host of the game will have to screen share their computer screen so everyone can see what is on it. Other than that, as long as everyone has internet connection, they can join the games through their computer or mobile device.
Another game that I have gotten back into recently is Webkinz. Several of my friends and I got hooked on it recently, and it is a very nostalgic way to pass the time. My current goal is to decorate every room my 10 year old self purchased but never fully furnished.
These things are just a few ways that I have been practicing social distancing. It may not re-create the way things were before, but it is better than nothing.