One would think that staying home away from others would be an introvert's dream. As an introvert myself, I felt that self-isolation would be great. But, after self-isolating for over two weeks, I've realized how wrong I am. As human beings, we crave social connection, which looks different for everyone. It wasn't until I started staying home that I began to realize how much I needed to incorporate social connection into my daily routine to feel at ease and be able to get through the day.
Most of us are fortunate to live in a day and age where technology makes it easy for us to stay connected, even when self-isolating. There are many resources and options out there to help you maintain a social connection in a time where it's crucial to be practicing physical distancing and self-isolating as needed.
Here are my top five ways to feel more connected to those around you:
1. Schedule Video Calls
Video calls are the main way I stay connected with my friends. For me, it's essential to have the right balance of alone time and time spent interacting with friends throughout the day. Make sure that when you do schedule your calls, you're not staying up late and compromising your sleep or work schedule. Instead, try scheduling your calls after completing specific tasks from your to-do list. I found that when I planned my video calls with friends, I was more motivated to finish particular tasks before my video calls. In a sense, my video calls felt like rewards for being productive and completing my to-do list throughout the day.
2. Have a Movie Night
One of my favourite ways to stay connected with a friend is to start a Netflix series with them. Not only does this give us more things to talk about, but it also helps pass the time when you don't have a lot to do. A great tool I enjoy using is Netflix Party, a Google Chrome extension that allows you and your friends to watch things on Netflix in real-time. It also comes with a fun chat function that will allow you to interact with one another while watching your movie or show. Something about watching shows and movies with friends in real-time from the comfort of my home brings me so much joy, and I hope it does the same for you. If you don't feel like downloading the Chrome extension, the traditional counting down to play a video method works well too!
3. Do a Social Media Challenge
We've all seen them. Be it either drawing an orange, doing 10 push-ups, or playing Bingo, social media challenges are a fun way to keep connected with friends. It's also a great way for you to reconnect with someone you may not have spoken to in a while. I encourage you to be the one to start a social media challenge and watch the chain of people doing your challenge grow!
4. Play an Online Game
Playing games with friends is another fun and easy way to maintain a social connection. From inviting friends over to your island on Animal Crossing to playing online card games like Uno, the options are endless! A personal favourite app of mine is Houseparty. This free app allows you and your friends to have a virtual party on your phones. You can play games such as Heads up and Draw Something or do some fun challenges with each other from the comfort of your own home.
5. Have an Online Craft Session
Some of the best online hangouts I've had with my friends are those where we are doing a relaxing activity. It's nice to sit back and do some relaxing crafts with others, enjoying one another's presence without any forced interaction or conversation. If you need an online craft buddy, SFU Health & Counselling's Creative Collective is currently hosting several online virtual craft sessions. These sessions allow people to drop by in a safe space, meet new people who are a part of the SFU community and do some relaxing crafts as a way to maintain their well-being. Sessions are happening April 2, April 8, and April 14, so make sure to drop by one of these sessions and create something great!
It's at times like this where we all need to stay connected and support one another. I hope these tips help you better incorporate social connection into your daily routine. You got this!