COVID-19 is a form of the Coronavirus that’s easily spread through physical contact with or close proximity to those who have the virus. For this reason, the Government of Canada has recommended social distancing throughout the outbreak. Social distancing means voluntarily staying away from others, particularly in large groups. While this can create a lot more time at home, it doesn’t have to mean suffering physically, mentally, or socially. Here are some ways to stay happy and healthy while practicing social distancing.
Find New Ways to Chat
Social distancing calls for individuals to limit their in-person interactions, but you can still stay in touch using technology. There are several platforms that facilitate voice and video calling. Some focus on connecting just two individuals while others can help you reach an entire group
- Facebook video calls: Facebook supports video calls and voice calls. You can chat one-on-one or host a call with up to 50 people, six of which can be included on video at one time.
- Skype: Skype allows you to interact with up to 50 people at a time using their messaging service. You can also use Skype’s MeetNow feature to host meetings where you can present information to attendees. This is a handy resource for teachers who want to stay connected to students or coworkers who need to make virtual presentations while working remotely.
- Zoom: Zoom is a video conferencing platform for virtual meetings. This service even allows you to record your calls so others can watch them at a later time. You can share your screen and allow participants to add annotations for streamlined collaboration. This is great for professional or recreational groups that want to meet remotely while practicing social distancing.
- Discord: Discord is designed for people who want to chat while gaming together. The app allows for a high-quality audio chat during gameplay. Discord also features forums that make it easy to organize events and set up your next game. This is the perfect stand-in when you can’t play together in person.
Start a Common Interest Group
Confined to their homes, many people are finding that they have extra time on their hands to pursue personal interests. A number of new groups are popping up on Facebook and other online platforms that allow people to share their interests and collaborate while still practicing social distancing. Some examples of groups that you might seek out or start include:
- Recipe-sharing groups that provide creative recipes for those who are stretching their supplies through potential quarantines or periods of self-isolation
- Local groups that organize deliveries and assistance for those in need
- Art or craft groups where members share project ideas and work on similar projects together virtually
- Music groups where bands share their virtual content
- Support groups that take their 12-step programs online so members can stay connected while practicing social distancing
Engage With Livestreamed Content
Livestreaming has long made it possible to get a glimpse into other peoples’ lives from around the globe. During this period of social distancing, livestreaming is finding a more important role than ever before. Musicians who have had their concerts cancelled for the foreseeable future are now choosing to livestream their performances instead. Artists are streaming classes that participants can follow along with. Plays and operas are even taking to the livestream format so people can watch from home what they would have otherwise seen on a stage.
Seek out people who are streaming their art and find opportunities to support these individuals. Virtual tip jars or other types of donations can help support performers who are otherwise out of work at this time.
Start a Project
Social distancing offers the perfect opportunity to start a new home-based project. Perhaps its time to fill the holes in the walls and finally add that fresh coat of paint. Maybe you have a closet full of yarn waiting for you to settle down and start knitting. Start reorganizing your closet, preparing your garden, trying new recipes, or reading those books that have been waiting on the shelf.
Seek Out Those Who Need Extra Support
Most people can practice appropriate social distancing and still run essential errands or go pick up a take-out meal. However, those who are at higher risk, such as the elderly or people with compromised immune systems, are advised not to leave the house at all. If you’re able to offer extra support to these individuals, this is a wonderful time to reach out and strengthen your community connections. This could mean delivering food or toiler paper to a neighbour and leaving the items on the porch or volunteering to call residents at a nursing home to provide more social interaction.
Social distancing can be managed while still staying in contact with friends and family. Using these strategies, you can stay healthy and still keep in touch.