Staying Socially Connected While Physically Apart
Written by: Becky McGraw, CFW Health & Fitness Program Manager
Whether we personally identify ourselves as introverted or extroverted, humans are naturally social creatures. During this absence of social events – no group fitness, concerts or barbeques – many may struggle with maintaining a level of connection with family, friends and coworkers. Compared to pandemics of the past, we are fortunate to have a digital world where engagement with others can still exist. With little effort, we have the opportunity to connect to nearly anyone we’d like, anywhere in the world at any time we’d like.
While some may not feel comfortable simply sitting behind a screen and chatting, there are a multitude of activities we are able to do while being physically separated. The social environment may feel a little different, but fostering relationships with others is literally at our fingertips. Using free online video conferencing platforms, such as Zoom, Facebook Messenger, or FaceTime, provides an easy way to connect with others and share many experiences we may feel we are missing. Most activities we enjoy in a small or large group setting can still be shared from behind a screen.
Do you enjoy crafting? Organize a time when you and a friend can virtually craft together. You may be able to take advantage of this downtime to get a jumpstart on crafting holiday gifts. If you and your friends quilt, work on creating individual blocks which can eventually turn into a large quilt to be raffled off to support a charity of your choice. Scrapbooking can be a collaborative project by digitally sharing photos and ideas to create a family memory book to gift to a grandparent.
If you are an avid reader, create a virtual book club. Thanks to e-readers and digital books, books are still accessible to everyone, whether classic or hot off the presses. Choose a genre, a book and set a standing virtual meeting to discuss the storyline. Like games? Try the “Houseparty” app to play trivia or other activities you may have enjoyed during game nights.
Leading an active lifestyle may have you missing out on group exercise classes. Select one of the CFW Signature Sessions, set a time for a video conference and work out together. If you miss running with your friends, choose a predetermined distance and plan to head out for your miles at the same time. Once you return, chat about your run online. Feel competitive? Challenge one another in a virtual race or fitness challenge.
The kitchen is one of the most social rooms of our households and we often bond over food. At this point, you may have exhausted your personal cookbook and need fresh ideas. Ask a friend for a tried-and-true recipe, gather the ingredients and work on preparing together virtually. Sharing new meal ideas each week can help expand both of your personal cookbooks and take the dread out of meal prep time! Want a creative challenge? Pick 3 ingredients as a “surprise basket” and do a fun cooking competition like the Food Network’s “Chopped”.
At this time, we probably know a child or teenager who is being educated by online school. If you know a youngster, ask their parent if the child can practice reading to you on a video call. For older children, offer a virtual lesson in a subject you may be well versed – maybe science, marketing or accounting. Most children are homebound with immediate family and may enjoy seeing a new face and chatting with someone outside their family unit.
While all these ideas may sound fun but don’t speak to what you enjoy, create your own. Social connection improves our physical health and our well-being. Find a way to reach out that speaks to you and stay connected!