Here are Some Tips to Stay Together while Being Apart...
As most of us wrap up our second month of social distancing, one thing has become certain – we, as humans, need social interaction. Even the most introverted of introverts need some form of human contact to maintain proper mental health and wellness. And, right now, we’re not getting that.
So, the question is – as we face an uncertain future, how can we take care of our mental health and stay together while maintaining safe social distancing practices? This is the question that the marketing team at ProServeIT strove to answer during our last weekly meeting, and in this blog, we’ll summarize some of our suggestions for how we can be apart, together!
Social Distancing with Your Teams & Colleagues
With many organizations requiring that shift to remote working, it may seem as though there is this massive disruption in the way you are interacting with your team members. Let’s face it – the “new normal” way of doing things takes a bit of getting used to!
Here are our suggestions for how you can stay connected with your team members, while maintaining social distancing:
- Utilize video every chance you get. It’s very important to see each other to know that we’re not alone, so take advantage of tools like Microsoft Teams video calling, or other communications platforms that allow you to turn on video.
- Set up a social call a few times a week. At ProServeIT, our organization has implemented a social time for half an hour on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. This drop-in option is a time for people in the organization to jump on a call, shoot the breeze, and share a drink and a laugh or two with each other. Family (children) are welcome to participate as well.
- Virtual lunches. Are you used to eating lunch with your colleagues on a regular basis? There’s absolutely no reason why you can’t continue this practice - just take it virtual! Utilizing technology like Microsoft Teams, you can still share lunch with your colleagues while maintaining the appropriate social distancing.
- Appy hour. Grab your favourite cocktail & snack and join your team members for a chance to discuss your favourite phone apps (or the ones who are truly helping you through this pandemic). From health & wellness apps, to fitness apps, to shopping apps, now’s the chance to explore what your phone has to offer – together!
- Find ways to have fun & be together apart! Whether it’s engaging in a game of “Remote Work Bingo”, or building and flying a kite together, or hosting a cocktail hour with your team, it’s important to find fun and creative ways to stay in touch with each other throughout this time.
Social Distancing with Your Families
Birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, religious holidays – with social distancing in effect, many families are finding that they’re not able to interact with those family members who are outside of their own household (aunts and uncles, grandparents, etc.). This can be quite hard on families who are, historically, quite close to one another.
So, it’s important to come up with ways that your family can stay together apart during this time. Here’s what we, at ProServeIT, have come up with:
- Virtual Dance party. Dancing is fun for people of all ages, so, why not have a virtual dance party with your family? Jump on a video conferencing solution, like Microsoft Teams or Zoom, put some music on, and dance together!
- Virtual Family Games Night. Got some favourite family games, or looking to try new ones? Games night doesn’t have to stop just because we’re social distancing - look into ways that you can take your family games night virtual!
- Virtual Photo Shoots. Birthdays? New baby on the way? Anniversaries? Engagements? Life, even in the middle of a pandemic, goes on, and virtual photo shoots are a great way to continue to celebrate life in all its glory! While some photographers are offering these virtual photo shoots, that doesn’t mean you can’t have your own fun at home with your own equipment, too.
- Take a virtual museum tour together. Several museums in other parts of the world have opened up virtual tours during this time. As a family, check out such museums as The Getty Museum in Los Angeles, Musee d’Orsay in Paris, or The British Museum in London, then start a discussion about your favourite pieces or what you learned!
- Take in a Broadway show! The arts can really bring us together during this time, and right now, The Shows Must Go On is offering free full-length productions of all of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musicals via YouTube. Check out their channel to learn more and invite your family to watch with you!
Social Distancing with Your Friends
To stay grounded and to ensure mental health & wellness, it’s very important that we maintain as many of the connections we’ve made in our lives. Our friends are our lifelines, and they become that much more important to us during crises, so finding time to unwind and relax with your friends is incredibly beneficial at this time.
The good news is, some of the suggestions we’ve made in this blog can also work for time spent with friends! Hosting a virtual games night, or a cocktail hour, or dance party – these are all ways for friends to stay together while social distancing during this time. Here are some additional activities that you can try with your pals:
- Virtual book clubs. This is a great idea for those who are already in a book club, or for those who want to start one! Using a communications and collaboration tool like Microsoft Teams or Google Hangouts, you can create your own virtual book club. With Teams or Google Hangouts, create schedules of the books you want to read (and suggestions for which books will be next), post discussion questions for others to weigh in on, and, of course, use the platform to host your virtual meetings, too!
- Virtual Quarantini Nights. Same idea as a cocktail hour, but much more fun to say! Set up a night with friends to try out new drink recipes & enjoy some relaxed conversation.
- Virtual Craft Sessions. Into crafting, quilting, knitting, or crocheting? So long as you have your own equipment at home, there’s no reason you can’t keep up your hobbies with your friends (and many mental health benefits as to why you should). A communications platform, like Microsoft Teams or Zoom, can be the perfect way to host these virtual sessions.
- Take Wine & Painting Virtual! Similar to craft nights, you don’t need to go to a restaurant to enjoy a glass of wine and some fun bonding time with paint – host those virtually instead! Plan ahead for this one and ensure that you have supplies in the house (Amazon has some great acrylic paint starter kits for adults!), then grab a bottle of your favourite wine, decide on a picture you want to replicate, and get to painting!
- Virtual Band/Jam Sessions. In a band with friends? If the Backstreet Boys can do it, so can you!
Social Distancing: We’re All In This Together
The difficulty is, we can’t really know when all of this will end and we’ll be able to get back to life as we knew it before COVID-19. But socializing with others is very important to our mental and physical health, so during this time, we encourage you to try some of these ideas to stay connected and stay together, apart!
Want to share what you’re doing to maintain your social life during social distancing? Give us a shout – we’d love to hear from you!