by guest blogger, Kristen Cowart @LadyKay_00 on Twitter
As we’re practicing social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic, it can be tricky staying connected with friends and family. However, I find it’s important to check in on the people around us and make time for fun and celebration. With this in mind, I’ve put together 10 ways that I think are helpful for staying connected with friends and family.
#1 Call, Text and FaceTime Others
This one may seem like a no-brainer, however, calling, texting, and FaceTiming our friends and family, church family, even our hairdressers or barbers is a good way to show that we care. One thing that I’m doing is calling my grandmother more regularly. She lives by herself, so making sure she stays uplifted during this pandemic is important to me and my family. I encourage you to develop a schedule to check in on your friends and family.
#2 Celebrate Milestones
My brother turned 31 last month, and unfortunately, we couldn’t go to a restaurant to celebrate due to social distancing. So – we had to get creative. My mom cooked one of his favorite meals and baked him a birthday cake and we all sang happy birthday. We also FaceTimed our extended family members to join in. This made me think: As our 2020 seniors across the country graduate, they too will need to find alternative ways to celebrate. We may have to celebrate differently, but it is still important to celebrate special milestones.
#3. Host Virtual Parties with Friends
A few weeks ago, I hosted a virtual happy hour via zoom with my friends who live in different cities. We took turns updating each other on our lives and it was a helpful way to stay transparent about everything going on. We also shared recommendations on fun things to do to stay busy.
Tips: There are several fun games that you can play over zoom! My favorite is Heads-Up trivia game. You can download it through your available App store.
#4. Host a Themed Night Party
While it’s also good to stay connected with friends and family outside the household, it’s just as important to stay connected with everyone inside the household. With our iPads, cellphones, and other reading devices available, it’s easy to go off and do our own thing, even in a house full of people. My family and I have hosted Game Nights, Karaoke Nights, Disney Night … and this Saturday we plan to have a Salsa Night and learn new dance moves on YouTube. It’s a fun way to get everyone involved and make the most of our time together.
#5. Exchange Recipes with Friends
My friends and I grew tired of cooking the same dishes every week, so we created a Dropbox account and exchanged our recipes. This was a great way to try something new, and if we ran into any issues, we could call each other.
#6. Workout Virtually with Friends
My apartment complex is offering virtual workout classes for residents, since the gym is closed, which has been super helpful. And I know there are tons of virtual workout classes available on YouTube and with a quick Google search. Finding a way to get a good workout in can help minimize our stress and keep us healthy. And, it’s even more fun when you try it with a friend!
#7. Connect with Your Church Community
Churches across the country are offering virtual sermons. On Sundays, my family and I gather in the living room and watch service together. And the cool thing about it is that we can watch our local service earlier in the morning, and then catch up on more services later in the afternoon.
#8. Leverage Spiritual Devotions on The Bible App
One of my favorite apps is the Bible App, and it’s perfect during a time of social distancing because you can read daily devotions with other people. My aunt, sisters and me started reading a new one called “Faith Instead of Fear in The Pandemic” and it’s nice because the app tracks our readings and we can share insights in the notes section.
#9. Send a Care Package
I was chatting with one of my friends last week and he mentioned that he sent a family member a weeks’ worth of meal kits – that came with all the ingredients to cook a dish. My family also received a supply of homemade masks from my Aunt. Both were super kind gestures and nice surprises to receive in the mail.
10. Take an Online Class
There are lots of classes that are being held virtually. My aunt for example has started taking a writing course with about 15 other people and an instructor who reviews their work. And, my mom and I have been brushing up on our Microsoft Excel skills. Use this time as a way to really hone in on your craft and get others involved!
These are my ten ways to stay connected with friends and family. Check out other strategies that our Facebook friends shared this week on the Vlog. I also encourage you to add to our list in the comment box below!
Submitted by Fran Bell
- “You can just look up Jackbox TV, online game and purchase the app. It’s best used on Zoom and as many as 8 people or so can participate simultaneously. It’s fun.”
- “We schedule a friend call every Saturday morning, a family zoom call every Saturday afternoon and another zoom call every Monday with my husband’s family. We play games with my husband’s family called Word Spud on Jackbox TV.”
- “I’ve been sending a love offering to my hair, eyelash technicians and send them notes of thanks and support”
Submitted by Wanda Jackson
- “Black TV Trivia & Charades”
- “Netflix Party – Netflix Party is a new way to watch Netflix with your friends online. Netflix Party synchronizes video playback and adds group chat to your favorite Netflix shows. Join over 1,000,000 people and use Netflix Party to link up with friends and host long distance movie nights and TV watch parties today! https://www.netflixparty.com.”
Submitted by Chloe Squalls
- “Mafia Mystery Game”