It’s been two months now. Protests have erupted. Most businesses are still closed, leading to a weakened economy, financial hardship, and Great Recession 2020 (if you need to file for unemployment or seek a stimulus check update, please click the preceding links). Shelter-in-place orders have been extended for our current pandemic and global crisis. The news is on 24-hour coronavirus time. Despite the obvious fears of you or a family member contracting COVID-19, and skyrocketing unemployment rates, there’s something else that gnaws at us on a regular basis; we miss people.
How to Be Social While Social Distancing
Even introverts get stir-crazy. Loved ones, friends, business associates, and our customers no longer have the ability to organize continuous, physical, face-to-face, social interactions. Whether or not we choose to admit it, it does affect us. How do you maintain relationships and stay connected when you’re told not even to leave your house? Here are some COVID-19 tips and social distancing methods for staying connected during our current world crisis.
1. Drive by and Keep Connected
People are orchestrating parades all over the world. A fleet of cars passes by your neighborhood – their vehicles are decorated with signs that say Stay Connected, We’re All in This Together, or a simple greeting like Hello. Some places, like Montgomery County in Dayton, Ohio, have issued a set of guidelines so people can participate without violating shelter-in-place orders, like one person per vehicle unless you live in the same household, no shouting, no participants who exhibit virus symptoms, and to stay in your vehicle at all times. You can view the entire list of COVID-19 vehicle parade guidelines here.
I’ve seen two social distancing parades already. People are doing similar parades to celebrate holidays and milestones – a relative with a birthday, Easter wishes, and more. A honk of a horn, a friendly wave, and some celebratory decorations is a small but effective way to show you care.
2. Window Love for Staying Connected
A fun project to do with your children is to create window signs for your windows or door signs for your doors.
More people are out walking their dogs and exercising as a way to break up the monotony indoors. Place a decorative sign in your window that expresses we are all in this together!
An alternative would be to grab some sidewalk chalk and create a colorful message on your driveway. Your neighbors will appreciate a cheery greeting to brighten their day.
3. Sing a Song, Play an Instrument, or Clap Your Hands
Music always brings people together. Since in-person concerts are shut down until further notice – artists have taken to performing digitally. People and even celebrities have also joined together to create music videos from their homes. See the spliced rendition of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ from various performers across the globe. The ‘Imagine’ video is created in the same style as the Playing for Change videos, which I happen to favor; take a look Playing for Change Stand by Me, a great Ben King cover!
In addition, people have organized their own concerts, neighborhood by neighborhood, from balconies, windows, or doorways to stay encouraged. The craze seemed to start in Italy as a way to bring hope to a place ravaged by COVID-19 with a performance of the Italian National Anthem and has since moved all over the world, including the United States. Residents of apartment buildings or neighborhoods have joined in unison to belt out tunes like Bill Withers’ ‘Lean on Me’ in Dallas or a very on-the-nose ‘New York, New York’ by Frank Sinatra in New York City. Among other activities that people are doing in unison during the stay-at-home order are clapping for essential workers, toasting a glass of wine, and exercising, as ways to circumvent social isolation, show their support, and stay connected.
4. Take a Walk to Stay Connected
This may seem like an obvious one, but get out there and take a walk while remembering to stay six feet apart. A simple walk is a great way to connect with your surroundings, see people at a safe distance, and breathe some fresh air while getting a nice dose of exercise. Just last week, I saw a girl pushing a truck up a hill while her housemate sat in the driver’s seat and steered – I asked if their car had died – “Nope, gyms are closed,” they responded and smiled. Personally, I like rollerblading with my dogs, but whatever works for you; push a stroller, take your children for a bike ride, or do a solo walk and wave to your neighbors.
5. Play a Game to Stay Connected
An ode to the days where friends played chess matches by mail with a technological twist fit for 2020 – play a game! There are plenty of online games that people can play together from the safety of their homes – you can even host a Zoom meeting to see your friends and family play in real-time. So far, Jackbox TV and Cards Against Humanity or Remote Insensitivity online have been my favorites, but choose something you like and invite everyone you know!
6. Video Chat, Email, and a Phone Call
It’s been great to video chat with friends and family. Just last week, we sang Happy Birthday to my mother-in-law – placed a cake in front of our tablet – and even had her blow out the candles (with a little help from us on the other end). Whoever you choose to get in contact with, use your digital modes of communication like video, email, a phone, and social media to stay connected and stay in touch. Try to reach out to someone new once a week, it’s a great time to catch up with loved ones we don’t talk to as often as we’d like. You may not realize, but your single effort to stay in touch could change someone’s entire attitude for the week. Anxiety and depression are amped up right now – check up on people you know who suffer from these afflictions – that one small act of kindness could save a person’s life.
7. Connect with Customers
Keep up with your business while you stay at home, even if it’s on hold right now. Adapt your products and services to help people during COVID-19. While your business may not be an essential business, you can still be essential to your customers, which is why you must stay in touch. If you can’t offer services for our current times, continue to let customers know you’re there; offer hope for the future, maintain your relationships, and reach out to show you care. Use your business to help out your country or world in some way during coronavirus. Keep up with customer relationships, use phone calls, direct mail, emails, social media, and more to stay in touch. Be authentic – be empathetic – be relatable – we’re all in this together!
8. Send a Card, Letter, or Care Package
There is something cathartic about writing a letter – it brings insight. Letter writing conjures memories that we’re often too busy to reflect on. It doesn’t have to be someone’s birthday to send a letter or a greeting card. Sit down, draft out what you want to say to those most important to you, and drop it in the mail. Send a thank you card or encouragement card to customers, colleagues, and friends or purchase some pretty letterhead and craft a message to loved ones. Tell mom and dad or grandma and grandpa how much you miss them. Write letters or cards for people in your own household – leave it at their bedside for when they wake up – your husband or wife, your children, your partner, your roommate, they will all appreciative some kind words.
Another thing you can do to stay connected to people while you self-isolate is to put together a care package – tailor your gift basket or care package to their interests and your shared interests. Put some thought into it. You can also send gifts like personalized candies or food items, flowers, custom stationery sets, wine, essential household items, and more. If you and the recipient share the same sense of humor – you can even send gag gifts. We offer some of these things here.
9. Do Something You Wouldn’t Normally
- Make homemade hand sanitizer with your household – it’s basically just rubbing alcohol and aloe vera – you can find the recipe here.
- Meditate. This could mean any number of things. You can do formal meditation, yoga, or take a bath by candlelight while focusing on your breathing. Practice mindless – try to appreciate what is going on around you right now – it’s a great way to stay connected to yourself and will help you to form a deeper connection with the people around you.
- Have shelter-in-place date nights. Just because we are social-distancing doesn’t mean the romance is gone. If you live with your partner – pick them fresh flowers, get them a card, cook their favorite meal, dance in your living room, and more. If you and your significant other live separately, organize a remote date night by video or other means.
- Read a bedtime story – to your niece or nephew over the phone – or share lines of a story with your immediate family. Make up your own stories. Grab flashlights and sit by the fire in your own backyard while telling ghost stories.
- Take up gardening.
- Do an arts-and-crafts project with your family.
- Write, take an online painting class, learn a new skill, and connect with people who want to do the same.
- Organize your photos and videos into a slideshow and share it with friends, family, and business associates.
10. Live Your Life
People are still getting married during the global pandemic; a soon-to-be husband and wife stood below the window of a friend, who also happened to be an ordained minister, and said their vows. People are still attending meetings while working remotely; they just happen to be remote meetings using any number of global communications software. Therapy sessions will still go on during quarantine to combat times of loneliness and isolation. People are doing a million things that bring them joy and peace while they shelter in place – we just have to be a little more creative. While an actual hug during self-isolation may be out of the question, there are still so many ways to embrace people, stay connected, and stay in touch.
For more ways to stay in touch, take a look at CardsDirect.com; we’re happy to help in any way we can.