Quarantines and shelter-in-place orders may be important, but they can also be a bit of a buzz kill. When folks hunkered down during the Spanish Flu over a century ago, they had a fairly limited selection of entertainment options to choose from. Reading books, spending time with family, and perhaps playing a game or two topped the list of quarantine fun.
Fortunately, in the 21st-century, technology has made both entertainment and socializing a lot more enjoyable — not to mention diverse. If you’re having trouble finding ways to engage socially while still following social distancing rules, here are a few ideas to jump-start your imagination … and the good times!
Don’t Underestimate Virtual Events
When you’re months into a quarantine meeting up with someone over a Zoom call may sound exhaustingly unappealing. However, there are quite a few ways that you can add a new spark into those video chats, especially if you’re looking for ways to socially engage with a group. For instance, you can:
- Host a Zoom dinner party.
- Plan a game night using an online game option like Jackbox Games.
- Have a movie night.
- Plan a gaming event over Discord.
- Collectively (and virtually) take a cooking class.
There are literally endless ways to adapt previously in-person events into virtual alternatives. All it takes is a little ingenuity and a willingness to see the activity as a unique chance to make memories.
Volunteering isn’t just a way to help your community, it’s also a great opportunity to socialize and make new friends. A few suggestions for ways to volunteer while still staying socially distant include:
- Offering to make wellness check calls to the isolated elderly (either those you already know or others through a charity organization.)
- Pulling together crafts, hygiene kits, and other items to donate.
- Writing support letters and well-wishes cards to send via snail mail.
There are plenty of ways to make a difference by volunteering without ever having to get too close to anyone.
Write Music Together
If you’re musically inclined (and even if you aren’t), this is a great time to learn a musical instrument — and why not do so together? If you already have an instrument, pull it out. Otherwise, pick up a used or inexpensive one that you’re interested in learning.
Remember to consider your surroundings. An electric guitar and amp or a drum set won’t go over well in an apartment complex, for example. Instead, look for something like a Ukelele, acoustic guitar, or even a harmonica.
Once you’re comfortable with the instrument, connect with friends and play some music together. You can try this live over a video chat, but recording each part and sending the file to the next person typically works best. If you want to get hardcore about it, you can even mimic indie-pop supergroup The Postal Service and send the files by regular mail.
Start a Virtual Book Club
Everyone may read during quarantine, but it’s never been easier to talk about what you’re reading with others.
If you’re feeling that you can’t turn another page on your own, consider forming a virtual book club to read through your novels “alongside” you. Then, plan Skype calls periodically to discuss the book at a safe distance.
Go for a Walk with Someone
If you’re craving in-person conversation, one of the best ways to safely indulge your desire is through a good, old-fashioned walk.
Meet up with a friend in an area with minimal foot traffic, such as a rural country road or an out-of-the-way beach, and then go for a walk while remaining at least six feet apart. Just remember to wear that facemask!
Have a Vehicle Meet Up
If going for a walk (or finding a private enough space) doesn’t work, you can also try meeting up with friends right in your vehicles. Find a quiet area, park in spaces within hearing distance of one another, lower your windows, and have a conversation.
You can add to the experience by hitting up a drive-thru beforehand. Heck, you can even go all-in and head to the drive-in together. Again, if you go this route, park side by side and bring some lawn chairs. If you get there a little early, you can spend time chatting beforehand and then enjoy the feature without ever stepping foot inside a cramped theatre.
Remaining Both Safe and Socially Engaged
It can feel challenging at times, but it’s certainly possible to remain both safe and socially engaged as the COVID-19 pandemic runs its course.
With so much still unknown, and the potential to keep social distancing up for longer than people may be comfortable with, at this point, everyone should make a deliberate and positive effort to remain engaged with their communities. Isolation can be debilitating for any human being, especially when it’s prolonged. So look around, choose what activities serve you and your communities best, and then start being the mover and the shaker that turns those acceptable socially distant events from theory into reality.