Find yourself working from home, studying from home, or otherwise unable to leave the confines of your apartment?
Being forced into isolation, whether through this current pandemic crisis or for other reasons, really takes a toll on your mental health, physical fitness, and other aspects of your life. And, to top it off, it also makes it hard to socialize with the people you love who could usually give you the support you need to help you get through these difficult times.
But, it’s not impossible.
With a little extra effort, creativity, and the help of a few apps and tools, you can get your entire dose of socializing in without leaving your home.
Here are a few ways on how to stay connected socially when stuck at home:
1. Scroll Through Your Social Media Feeds
Social media is the obvious way of connecting socially with your friends and relatives over distances, so let’s get this out of the way now 🙂
For more than a decade now, the world has moved more and more to socializing online, currently through the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other apps. This makes it easier than ever before to stay connected socially, even if you’re quarantined for weeks (those who had to go through the 1918 Pandemic had it much rougher!).
However, don’t just scroll through your social media feeds as usual. Since you have extra time (and distance) on your hands, spend that time and bridge that distance by being more active and writing longer, more heartfelt comments, replies, and messages. According to Psychology Today, people who use Facebook more actively (commenting and posting versus simply looking) are more likely to have lower levels of depression.
Speaking of depression and anxiety, try to make those of your friends and family members who suffer from such at the front of your mind. As we live, work, and play in our own homes for the time being, these people will be especially vulnerable, and your support will go a long way.
Related Read: 25+ Tips on Working From Home Productively
2. But Don’t Overuse Social Media
Social media might be a blessing for us as we’re forced to stay inside, but too much social media can still be negative, as with too much of anything, really. Social media overuse has been linked to increased anxiety, depression, inability to sleep, lower self esteem, and reduced focus.
Also, if you constantly see updates, videos, and images of people you follow or are friends with out and about being social and active, it may only make you feel more isolated and disconnected with everyone else. Though good for you for not joining them and flouting physical distancing and stay-at-home rules and advice, but still, this social media exposure might just have you making bad decisions or disregarding health guidelines. If that’s the case, sign off from social media altogether, or at least stop following updates from these few users.
3. Have a Netflix Party
Over one million people have downloaded Netflix Party, one of the coolest ways to stay connected with friends during the coronavirus crisis.
Love having a Netflix movie night but can’t for obvious reasons?
If you and your friends all have the Chrome browser (only on laptops and desktops), you can each download the Chrome extension made by Netflix Party. This lets you all watch the same Netflix shows or movies together with multiple friends all while keeping video and audio playback perfectly synchronized!
One alternative to this is Kast, which lets you share whatever is on your phone or computer screen with your friends and family members you choose to share it with. However, sharing or casting your screen across the internet, especially these days when the entire planet is stressing the global internet infrastructure, may cause you more difficulty than fun. Want even more alternatives? Try Twoseven, Gaze, or Watch2Gether.
4. Host a Virtual Happy Hour
You could use your Skype, Zoom, Hangouts, or other video conferencing software to simply have a great conversation with your friends and family around the world.
But, you can also make it a fun time by turning your video chat into a virtual happy hour. Get one friend or several, grab a bottle of your favorite beverage each, whip up a group conference, and let the good times roll, virtually!
Just keep in mind that Zoom has been pretty naughty lately, with many private companies and security researchers finding faults with the way they handle user data, share private information with other companies, and make it easy for “Zoombombing” to happen. So, use Hangouts or Skype to be safe.
If your virtual happy hour (sometimes called a “quarantini” 😀 ) isn’t enough, use it as “pregaming,” and move your group over to a “cloud club” with virtual dancing and DJ sets after!
5. Join a Virtual Book Club
Joining a book club is a great way to socialize with others and expand your knowledge, but they don’t have to take place at your local library or a neighbor’s home! Online book clubs can be just as great, plus you don’t have any location-related boundaries to consider, meaning you can join one thousands of miles away, if you so choose.
Don’t see one you like or they’ve started without you? Start your own!
Starting your own book club online isn’t so hard, and it could be a private group with just some friends, classmates, coworkers, and family members, or you could open it up to the general public. For more information on starting your own virtual book club, check out this guide by Book Riot.
Related Read: Best Books to Read Before College 📖
6. Join Online Events
Coronavirus has brought out the creativity in humanity, which is one great aspect of the disease. One example is that, for almost any group activity you can think of, there are virtual versions available.
Want to keep up your fitness routine? Join a virtual gym class or yoga class. There are online conferences and seminars to get your learn on with others. Take online classes together, whether it’s to advance your education, learn a new language, or simply pick up a new hobby.
Oh, and for those of you who live to travel, you can even travel virtually together with friends (shameless plug!) to dozens of world-renowned destinations, such as NYC’s MoMA, the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, or tour all the grandeur of Yosemite National Park!
Similarly, you can join online groups with a great mission-based focus. For example, with your spare time, you could send letters to someone going through chemotherapy, get the word out by sending postcards to voters, and give and receive emotional support.
Related Read: When stuck indoors, it’s important to keep healthy. You could join a virtual yoga class, or check out our guide on how to stay healthy when WFH for other options!
7. Send a Handwritten Letter
You’ve got a lot of time on your hands these days, most likely, so make good use of it by sending some snail mail.
Whether it’s to your grandmother in a different state or your pen pal in another hemisphere, handwritten letters and postcards will be a nice touch, especially when everything is typed and rushed these days.
It’ll give your friend or relative something nice to look forward to, plus, it’ll serve as a nice souvenir of these weird times we’re in.
8. Keep Friends in the Background
If you like chatting with your friends or family members, there’s no need for you to ever really end the call! Consider keeping a dedicated room and device or computer which is indefinitely connected on a call with someone else.
What this means is this: in your kitchen, say, or your living room, if you have an Amazon Echo or a spare computer, use it to connect with one special someone and leave the connection on as you go about your daily lives. Whether you are missing your significant other in a long-distance relationship or just want to keep mom and dad company, a constant virtual presence could be a nice touch.
9. Remember Your Colleagues
Also, when connecting with your friends and family members, you may forget that you’re missing out on valuable connection time with your office coworkers and school classmates.
Don’t forget them!
While they may not be your first choice for interaction with, they are still important people in your life. For your professional and academic life, networking is vitally important, so schedule a call once a week or every two weeks, at least, so you don’t lose touch with these valuable connections.
10. Connect on Goodwall!
Second to last but not second to least, there’s us, Goodwall!
While other social media platforms promote communication and socializing with friends you already have (which is great, don’t get me wrong!), Goodwall lets you make new friends and connections that share similar interests.
With almost 1.5 million members in over 150 countries around the world, you’re sure to find the right people to help you through these difficult times. Built as a niche social network for students, young professionals, and entrepreneurs, Goodwall makes it easy to share ideas, give and receive feedback, ask questions, showcase achievements, and so much more, all from the comfort of your home!
Plus, as you’re on it, you can give your professional or academic self a boost by fixing up your web profile to show off your life experiences and accomplishments to future HR managers, employers, and college admissions administrators. If you haven’t yet, download our app (iOS or Android), sign up, and you’ll soon see how much you can benefit from joining the Goodwall community.
Oh, and another way to socialize during these difficult times is to take part with other members in our challenges. We’ve had great success in bringing people together with recent challenges, such as our #MyHomeOffice challenge and our #ThankYou #HealthHeroes challenge. We’d love to have you join us for the next one!
11. Other Options
There really are a lot of things you can do to keep up your social life without ever setting foot out the door.
Here are a few more options to consider:
- Play Games Online – If you already play Fortnite or other video games online, this is your wheelhouse. For those of you who don’t, consider dipping your toes in some simple RPGs, or even simply play chess, board games, or Battleship with someone over the internet.
- Pick Up the Phone – Sure, it’s 2020, but sometimes using the phone for making a simple voice call is a nice way to connect with others, and that feels especially true in these crazy times. Also, the two of you can get some exercise by taking a location-independent walk together while on the phone (just follow WHO and local guidelines!).
- Virtual Dinner Parties – Enjoy food and wine together, comment on the issues of the day, and just have a good time via the internet. IT’s BYOE(verything)!
Well, that’s our post on how to stay connected socially while forced to stay at home, and we hope it helps you make the most of this (hopefully short!) remainder of time as we keep our distance from one another. Got any other tips or ways to stay socially connected from home? Let us know in the comments below, and thanks for reading!