As everyone does their best to practice social distancing and staying home, it’s easy to start feeling lonely. Instead of enjoying dinner out with friends or visiting relatives, you’re stuck at home.
The good news is modern technology makes it easier than ever to stay connected, even when you’re staying home. Below are some of the ways you can keep in touch with your loved ones without leaving the house.
Schedule Regular Check-Ins
You might think you’ll have more time on your hands now that you’re staying home. Without a normal routine, however, you could feel like the hours are dragging or all the days are blending together. You may end up even passing the time by doing endless chores.
Before you get too wrapped up in these tasks, be sure to reach out to loved ones and set up times to have a call or video chat. Scheduling your talk and actually putting it to the calendar, will help you build a routine while you’re staying home. It also helps you maintain regular contact with those closest to you.
Consider the elderly and young family members and friends first. If you have older family members who live alone, be sure to reach out often. They’re probably feeling especially lonely living by themselves. Younger friends or family, such as a college student living away from home, would also probably welcome regular check-ins, especially if they’re away from home for the first time.
Set Up a Virtual Gathering
While you may not be able to physically visit one another, there are plenty of opportunities to get together with friends or family using technology. Video chats, online games and conference calls make it possible to laugh with loved ones even though you’re apart.
Try hosting a virtual gathering with your co-workers, friends or family members, such as:
- Happy Hour: You can still keep your usual Friday afternoon happy hour with colleagues. Instead of going to a bar or restaurant, however, you can all hop on a video chat at home. Consider mixing up drinks or grabbing a pack of local craft beer that you might drink if you were out with your co-workers and not at home.
- Dance, Yoga or Fitness Class: It’s hard to get used to working out alone if you usually hit the gym or fitness classes with friends. Try signing up for an at-home workout class and go through it at the same time as your friends. If one of your loved ones is skilled as a fitness instructor, they could host a class from their living room via video chat.
- Dinner: You might not be able to go out to eat at your favorite restaurant, but you can still enjoy a virtual dinner with loved ones. Set up a time to have a video chat dinner with friends. You can coordinate a meal ahead of time and chat while you cook and eat the same meal. If you don’t feel like cooking, consider having everyone order delivery or carry-out from the same restaurant so you all get to enjoy a similar meal.
- Game Night: Whether you host a game night with adults or put something together for your children, getting together virtually to play games is a great way to relax. Many gaming consoles feature online access to play against family or friends in real-time. You could also consider video conferencing tools to play games like Pictionary or charades.
- Story Time: Young children might be feeling lost if their usual routine, such as seeing a grandparent regularly, is interrupted. Try hosting a virtual story time using video chat with your children’s favorite books. For example, you could have a grandparent read from a copy of the book while on the phone and you could show your copy to your children at home. You could also read the book and show the pictures over video chat with the entire extended family, such as cousins.
- Host a Live Stream: Do you dabble in cooking or DIY crafts? Try spending this time to share with your family and friends your hobbies on a live stream. Teach your viewers how to bake a coffee cake or how you draw favorite cartoon characters.
Pay Attention to Canceled Plans
Staying home may not have much effect on your daily life. If this is the case, it’s important to remember that many of your family and friends may be facing unexpected cancelations of big life events.
Go through your family and friends and identify those who may have had to put plans on hold. Weddings, prom, graduation or a big move could be postponed or canceled, and this probably leaves the hosts feeling lost or uncertain of the future.
Be sure to reach out to anyone who’s had to put big life changes on hold. Just a simple message on social media to let them know you’re thinking of them can make a big impact.
Send a Meaningful Gift
You may not be able to visit in person, but you can still let loved ones know when you’re thinking of them by sending them a meaningful gift. A handwritten letter or postcard is a great way to show you’re thinking of someone when you’re apart. If you have children, you can have them decorate cards or draw pictures to send to each of your relatives.
Another option is to have dinner or groceries delivered to a loved one’s home. This could be especially thoughtful for busy parents or elderly loved ones who may not be able to go to the store themselves.