During the Covid-19 pandemic, safety has been the first priority—and for many, this has meant limiting or removing extracurricular social activities, events and interactions. While important, this has also left many feeling isolated or alone.
As human beings, we are meant to stay connected to one another. Shared Emma Seppälä Ph.D., psychologist, “We are profoundly social creatures. We may think we want money, power, fame, beauty, eternal youth or a new car, but at the root of most of these desires is a need to belong, to be accepted, to connect with others, to be loved.”
1. Level up with multiplayer video games.
In a recent survey, nearly 81 percent of respondents shared they’ve tried a new online gaming activity during the pandemic. Whether you’re new to gaming or a seasoned professional, video games are a great way to connect with friends over a shared experience. Many games like Fortnite, Apex Legends, Spellbreak or Watch Dogs Legion have great co-op online modes that allow you to join in the fun with friends. To maximize your time online, we recommend investing in a headset and microphone so you can collaborate with your friends, or just talk about your day. Whatever you choose, it’s a great way to reconnect.
2. Engage with your friend’s social media content.
For those who might not be interested in facilitating a virtual social event or aren’t sure how to have a stronger presence in their friend’s lives, don’t forget that social media is a great tool to keep up on how your friends are doing. These platforms were originally designed to connect people, no matter how far apart.
A simple like, click, comment or response to a story can open up a conversation, without the pressure of an IRL conversation. Platforms like SnapChat, Facebook and Instagram also offer games through their platform or filters that can be shared with friends.
3. Host a virtual game night.
When was the last time you played Cards Against Humanity or Pictionary with friends? Thanks to Backyard Games, you don’t have to be in-person to host a virtual game night. With a good selection of fun group activities, you can share drinks, laughs and memories together—all from the comfort of your home. If you really want to commit to a theme, consider sending packages to friends ahead of time with pre-mixed cocktails, snacks or other party favors.
4. Plan a Covid-safe camping trip.
While some of your holiday vacations might have been cancelled, there are safe ways to still get out of the house (and spend time with friends or family). Before you plan anything, ensure that your group is small enough to follow the Covid-19 protocol, and all participants have quarantined appropriately or have been vaccinated.
To get started planning your weekend away, start with the following:
- Location: Pick a spot that has socially-distanced cabins or camp sites that address all the amenities your group needs.
- Meals: Instead of opting for eating at restaurants or buffet-style dinners, consider planning take-out options or packing individual meals to risk potential bacteria spread.
- Activities: Research your destination to see what activities are available and Covid-safe. In the summer, this can include anything from hiking to tubing down the river or having a picnic in a local park.
- Packing List: Create a recommended packing list for all participants and split up some of the larger equipment among the group (so you’re not stuck bringing it all).
- Covid-Precaution Research: Remember to look up and follow the regulations set by the national park or campsite you’re staying at. Be respectful of other visitors and make sure safety is your top priority.
Some time away in the mountains might be just what your friend group needs to reconnect and get away from their homes for a few days.
5. Start a virtual music league.
Have you ever created the perfect playlist and wanted to share it with your friends? Music League App can help you turn your music taste into a talent competition! Using links of songs from the Spotify streaming service, you can create a league with weekly themes and challenges for song submissions among friends. Once all the songs are in, you can downvote, upvote and re-share your favorite songs from the playlists. Who knows, you might even discover a new favorite genre or artist!
6. Host an outdoor exercise session.
Exercise is one of the best ways to boost your mood, and when the weather warms up, you can take your workouts outside! Consider trying out a yoga or cardio session outside with friends: you can maintain a safe distance and share a fun experience. If you’re new to working out and aren’t sure where to start, try using an exercise YouTube channel to get you and your friend’s hearts pumping!
7. Learn something new with a virtual experience.
If you had to cancel your last-minute flights to Italy or Argentina, don’t fear: you’ll one day be able to go again, but in the meantime, why not try a virtual experience from those countries? Thanks to Amazon Explore, groups can book time with artisans from around the world and learn about their craft, culture and food. Whether you’re learning an Argentine tango or making homemade pasta with an old Italian recipe, you and your friends will have a fun, virtual memory to share.
The Power of Connection
No matter what you choose to do, it’s all about how you connect with your friends. With mass distribution of the vaccine coming closer and closer, a regular hangout at a local brewery might be closer than you think. Until then, use some of these ideas to keep the communication lines open and create opportunities for fun memories. These connections will not only help you to maintain a positive attitude but build the support network you need to help you when things are difficult. Good luck!