The COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic started as something many of us sort of played off. We felt… optimistic, let’s say, that this wouldn’t hit as hard as it has.
Nevertheless, in the past few weeks, COVID-19 has made its presence undeniably known. Everyone’s been left feeling isolated due to social distancing and quarantine, and it’s starting to affect our wellbeing.
This is why we’re reminding you that now, more than ever, we must take measures to connect. You may not be going into the office every day, or seeing your friends at book club every week, or attending your regularly scheduled happy hour… but it’s still possible. Human connection and interaction are key components to ensuring both our physical and mental health stay intact.
So while we’re waiting for things to get back to normal—or the new normal, anyway—here’s how we can stay connected.
Video Chatting, Texting, and the Good Old Fashioned Phone Call
Google Hangouts, Zoom, FaceTime, texting, and of course, the ole phone call. There are so many ways to stay connected and talking to the people you love right now—hearing their voice the way you would if you were hanging out IRL.
Your preferred method of chatting really just depends on what you and your friends want to use, or what works best on your device and connection of choice.
Some of the ways we suggest chatting are:
- Calling someone every day! Whether it’s your best friend, your mom, or someone you’re used to seeing at the office daily, just call ‘em up. Hearing their voice and not just seeing their avatar on your computer has a different effect. Trust us.
- Host a virtual happy hour or dinner party. We suggest sending out an actual invite for this type of thing, too, whether that’s via text or email. And especially if you want to get fancy with an email (you know, with all that time you have on your hands at home…) we commend you.
- Watch a movie together… virtually! Press play at the same time, and then call each other afterwards to discuss. It’ll feel like you went to the movies and then chatted about the film as you left the theater. You can also text throughout the film if you prefer! It’s your living room, you make the viewing rules.
- Get jiggy with it. Start a collaborative playlist on Spotify and move that body. We actually started our own #WFH playlist which you can find here. It’s a vibe, trust us.
Send a Letter
If you never had a pen pal growing up, now’s your chance to give it a go. There’s something about putting put pen to paper that feels totally different than just shooting off a quick text, or drafting up an email. Writing a card or letter feels intimate in a way those close friends you miss seeing so much will really appreciate.
We are going to flip the script on you a little bit with this one, though. Some postal service workers are concerned about the cleanliness of snail mail right now given the virus. And we totally get that. So consider this extra-safe, extra-clean pen pal option! Write that letter, then take a photo of it to send electronically. Coronavirus-clear!
Take a Workout Class (Online)
So many studios and gyms have begun offering remote classes via video chat, Instagram Live, or YouTube… if you want to move, there are plenty of means by which to get to it.
We suggest taking an exercise class online with a friend. Just plan via text or phone call which one you’re going to do beforehand, and then a time to do it. It feels so nice to know someone else is working hard at the same time as you.
Our favorites virtual classes right now are from Forward Space (dance classes, which really feel more like parties) and Y7 (sweaty, flow yoga). But If you’re more into on-demand workouts, 24 Hour Fitness is offering totally free content on their app (Les Mills classes and audio coaching); the same goes for Life Time gym (cardio, strength, and yoga classes).
Practice Self-Care & Patience
Normal life, or what we all knew a few weeks ago, may feel far away. Recognizing that, and then remembering to practice self-care by doing what you love, is key to keeping calm in the midst all of this.
And of course, being patient with yourself is paramount right now. This reality is not what we’re used to, and there are so many unknowns it’s impossible to know what to expect moving forward. Breathe deeply and give yourself time to acclimate.
Help Those in Need
The fallout from COVID-19 has already gravely impacted hundreds of thousands of Americans; in times like these, it is paramount we take care of ourselves, yes, but each other as well.
Consider those hourly workers who have suddenly found themselves without wages. Now think of your favorite local restaurant. Look them up and see what they’re doing to help their employees. Many are offering discounted gift cards to be used when they re-open and donating some of the funds to employees’ immediate relief. You may also have the option to simply donate!
Likewise, lots of food banks are in need of support—you may be able to contribute in the marking of meals, or even just financial support. Do this by looking up how to best lend a hand in your specific area.
If you’re not sure where to donate, but still want to help, visit the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization (WHO). Donations support WHO’s work to track and understand the spread of the virus, and both ensure patients and frontline workers are receiving the care and supplies they need, respectively. You can learn more at the link above, or check out this NY Times article for ideas on ways to help.
Give the above suggestions a try in order to stay connected, get into a groove ‘til things iron out, and try not to let the bad get you down! You got this.