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There has never been a more important time to keep in contact with our loved ones than now. You don’t know when you will see your family or friends in person again, and you want to maintain the close connection that you’ve built. But with lockdowns keeping us isolated at home, banned gatherings, and social distancing measures in place, staying in touch is becoming more challenging. Dinner dates and parties have been canceled, travel plans are on hold, and public holidays feel like any other day.
1. Arrange a phone call
Despite being a rather traditional means of staying in touch, phone calls are worth mentioning right off the bat because they are often overlooked. With social media and messaging apps, it’s easy to think that you’re up to date with your friends and family. But when was the last time you had a long phone conversation? Suggest a time and date so you’re both in the right headspace for a nice conversation. When the time comes, get comfy with a cup of tea or a glass of wine and enjoy a relaxing time talking to those who matter to you.
2. Set up a Whatsapp group
Telephone anxiety is a very real thing, and people that experience it will avoid talking on the phone at all costs. With increasing work calls and social pressures, even those who love talking may not be in the right mood for a casual phone conversation. Having a Whatsapp group is a good alternative that makes it easy to stay in touch and have conversations on your own time. Whatsapp is also fairly simple to use, making it easy for less tech-savvy relatives to get the hang of in no time.
3. Hop on a scheduled video call
Zoom is a video call app that has been instrumental in keeping people in touch during the pandemic. With a clean user interface and a straightforward sign up process, Zoom is suitable for anyone with a digital device. Skype, Microsoft Teams, and Google Hangouts/Meet are other alternatives. It’s advisable to schedule a time for your video calls and check in with them beforehand to see if they still feel up to it. After all, the idea is to have an enjoyable catch-up with your loved ones – not to add more stress to the situation.
4. Write a letter
While receiving a package from an online order can certainly be exciting, there is nothing quite as heartwarming as receiving a letter from someone you love. We’re so used to getting stuff through the mail, but when was the last time you actually sent something out? A great deal of care goes into writing a letter, and even the cutest GIFs and emojis cannot replace that. Plus, a letter is a physical object that the receiver can return to whenever they like, making it a special memento for recipients of any age.
5. Throw a modern movie night
Whether you’re a film buff or just looking to spend time with friends, a modern movie night using Teleparty (formerly Netflix Party) could be a fun thing to do during the lockdown. Since the Chrome plugin is free and easy to install, there’s no harm in giving it a go. Simply create a Teleparty by choosing a movie or series to watch and share the party URL so your friends can join. You can use the group chat feature to send emojis, GIFS, and screenshots and enjoy some banter like you would if you were all in the same room.
6. Host a virtual game night
Get-togethers and parties might not be happening anytime soon, but apps like Houseparty bring social gatherings to your device in the meantime. The video chat app comes with plenty of features to make your isolated party experience more entertaining. For instance, you can play Heads Up and Pictionary as a group and even record party highlights to send to those who couldn’t make it. Unlike Whatsapp, Houseparty doesn’t limit the number of friends you can add on a video call either. You can even “lock” a room to have a private conversation with someone while other conversations continue.
Regardless of which tip you choose, the idea behind them is the same: find a way to stay in touch with loved ones despite the distance. Remember that taking care of your mental health, and overall health, is more important than ever during these trying times, so if you’re not feeling up for a scheduled call or if you need a bit of a break, that’s okay.
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