This post is part of our special series on the Coronavirus outbreak.
This whole thing is W I L D, y’all. I mean really, whoever is currently losing at Jumanji out there needs to CUT. IT. OUT.
But until that happens, we are all social distancing together. For introverts like me, this feels a little easier than it does for my extroverted friends, but even the most hermit-like of us need human connections. According to Psychology Today, social connection is not only good for our emotional health, it can have huge physical health effects as well. So right now? We need to get creative in how we connect with others.
Some of us are social distancing with our families or with roommates, so there’s some forced togetherness happening. But for those of us who aren’t, or even for when you need to take a break from the people in your house, here are a few ideas on how to get connected.
Schedule virtual appointments just for socializing.
Some of us are having a LOT of virtual meetings for work. But those aren’t the same thing as just sitting around and shooting the breeze with someone. Schedule time intentionally for socializing, whether a happy hour, or coffee, or a quick check-in. I had happy hour with some of my BGCA friends last week, and it was a much needed time of laughter and encouragement and even NEWBORN BABY CHEEKS.
Tip-within-a-tip? Use video whenever you can. Sometimes connection is spotty and so it won’t work, but don’t let your quarantine hair keep you from starting that camera. We ALL currently have quarantine hair, but seeing others’ faces and expressions makes a difference.
Binge a new show or watch a movie with an online watch party.
With all of us being at home more during evening and weekends, we can finally catch up on the shows and movies we’ve missed. Even better? Watch them with others! You can low-tech it and hit play at the same time and then text message, or try the new Google Chrome extension Netflix Party on a desktop or laptop computer. Sarah’s recommendation is to rent the new adaptation of Emma, which is delightfully odd and a pastel treat.
Hit those reading goals you always set but never make by hosting a virtual book club.
At the BGCA national office, we host a book club twice a year, and it is one of my very favorite things. Reading is one of my own daily routines, but there is something special about getting together and discussing what you’ve read with others. Hearing other viewpoints and discussing questions have always enhanced my appreciation of the book. We’ve read some great ones, including A Man Called Ove, Between the World and Me, Before We Were Yours, and An American Marriage. Other lists to get solid recs from are Oprah’s Book Club, Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club, or I personally read along with the Nerdette podcast. You can also find lots of discussion guides online for just about every book.
Since sports aren’t a thing at the moment, play games online.
I’ll be upfront here and say that I don’t have a lot of experience with online gaming and esports, but its a HUGE industry. The BGCA Youth Development team is currently doing research into how we can leverage it, and talking to Clubs who already are like Boys & Girls Club of the East Valley, but now is a great time for you as staff to start getting familiar with it. From more traditional video games to online versions of games we already play, and even role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons, there are tons of resources to teach you and your buds how to get started.
Do things you usually do, just with others through a camera.
Think about just moving the things you already do on a regular basis, like cooking a meal or working out, online! For cooking, pick a recipe everyone has the ingredients to, then hop on a group video to cook and then eat it at the same time. Same for your physical activity- pick a workout like yoga or even a cardio routine, and encourage each other through it. If that feels too intense, our friends at Planet Fitness are live streaming workouts every day, so you can connect with others in a slightly more anonymous way.
Unplug by writing actual, real letters.
Not everything has to be digital! Sitting down with screens off to write a letter is not only a way to stay connected, its good for your brain! And who doesn’t absolutely LOVE getting mail that isn’t an ad??? You can order stamps online from the USPS, or use a service to print them at home, so you won’t even have to go to the post office.
However you choose to connect with others, it’s the actual connecting that matters. None of us are alone in this, even if you are actually by yourself in your apartment like me. I love this quote from an article by the Mayo Clinic:
“Finally, recognize that when we act together to maintain safe distance during this pandemic, we are connecting and bonding. We are acting out the best parts of humanity.”
Check back in with the ClubX Blog often for more ideas and resources on how to maintain your mental and emotional well-being during this challenging time. Stay safe. Wash your hands. Take care of yourself. We are in this together!
Get the latest updates from BGCA at BGCA.net/Coronavirus, find programming ideas at MyFuture.net, like the BGCA Youth Development on Facebook for YD updates including video from Sarah, and join the brand new BGCA Youth Development Community also on Facebook to connect with other Club staff on programming through coronavirus.