Advice Column, Health, Parenting

Beating the COVID-19 Blues

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5 tips to stay connected in a socially distanced world

We have all been cooped up in our homes for weeks, so cabin fever is real! For most people, there is nothing better than getting together with family and friends and when these interactions are taken away, it is natural to feel off.

To beat the COVID-19 blues, Rioma Cominelli, Director at First Loyalty Plus, believes that now more than ever, it is important to take care of your mental health by remembering just how resourceful you can be.

“While lockdown has certainly put a damper on our social lives, social distancing doesn’t have to mean cutting yourself off from the world. We are living in a digital age and we have tools that we can use to instantly connect with people around the corner or across the globe,” Rioma explains.  

The internet can unlock our communications superpowers and provide a variety of opportunities to connect through multiple social activities. While nothing beats sitting next to someone you care about and having a conversation, online tools provide the next best thing – being there for each other without physically being there.

Rioma offers her top five ideas for staying connected with friends and family in a socially distanced world:

1. Online watch parties

Unleash your inner movie critic! Send your family and friends a Google Hangout link or Zoom invite that they can open on their laptops, tablets or smartphone and watch a movie together. The hardest part of this will likely be getting everyone to decide on a movie. Once that’s settled, pick a method of communication – video calling, voice chatting, text messaging – and start watching at the same time. And don’t forget the popcorn for a real movie experience.

2. Take a virtual vacation

If you are dreaming about taking a stroll on a sun-drenched beach or hiking in the mountains, whisk you and your friends away onto the world wide web and travel at the click of a mouse. Decide on your destination beforehand and then give each person an opportunity to share their destination through pictures and video. It could be somewhere you’ve already visited or your dream vacation. And the more people you get involved, the more travel destinations you will visit in one sitting. Around the country, around the world in one day.

3. Cook together

Does your mouth water every time you think about your dish of choice at your favourite restaurant? Why not find the recipe online and then challenge your friends and family to make it together at the same time? Agree on the recipe, make sure that everyone has the same ingredients and set up a video call so that you make the meal together. The proof however will be in the tasting – so get together online when the dish is ready and compare tasting notes too.

4. Virtual happy hour

Grabbing a drink at your local bar or restaurant is a great way to decompress but unfortunately, it is off the cards. If you are missing this as part of your weekly routine, you can throw a fun virtual happy hour from home. Throwing an online happy hour is very similar to an online watch party. Everyone can enjoy a drink and spend time gossiping together virtually.

5. Social distance workouts

A workout regimen can boost your immune system but solitary exercise can be a lonely endeavour and it’s difficult to stay motivated. Try setting up a regular, common workout time with a friend or loved one. You can even attend online exercise classes together. This way, you can motivate each other in real-time and hold each other accountable to push toward new goals.

So give your COVID-19 blues the boot. Humans are capable of incredible things, but our ability to adapt and overcome is perhaps the strongest. Use these tips to stay connected with those close to you, whether it’s to learn together, check-in or simply listen.  

Rioma concludes: “Spending quality time with friends and family is just good for the soul. Being happier, healthier and learning more are all advantages that should motivate even the most dedicated of loners to get out there and mingle.”

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