Stay Emotionally Connected While Social Distancing With These Fun (And Mostly Free!) Ideas
By: Becca Samuel
Staying connected is so important, now more than ever. Even though we are socially distant, we can still be emotionally connected. We’re all going through this together, and reaching out for a simple conversation can mean the world and make us all feel a little less alone in these uncertain times.
It’s easy to sometimes take for granted how accessible we are to each other because of the internet, so here are a few ways we can keep in touch and stick together during this time of social distancing.
Pajamas optional, but recommended. 🙂 (I’m not saying you have to do this, but you could be sitting on your bed, in your favorite PJs, with your giant stuffed teddy bear, and no one has to know…)
This is great for a little friendly competition in the comfort of your own bed! (P.S. If anyone wants to play Anagrams, I’ll never say no.)
Download the GamePigeon app from the AppStore and text a friend an invite to your favorite game! Some games can even be played with multiple people in a group chat!
Watch your favorite movie or TV show at the same time as your pals while chatting off to the side about what you’re watching!
All you have to do is download the “Netflix Party” Chrome Extension from Google Chrome on a computer! Go to netflixparty.com, install, and party!
There is a Disney+ Chrome Extension but it costs money 🙁
Pick up a good book you’ve been wanting to read for awhile and send a favorite quote or two to a friend!
If you don’t have a library card, borrow a friend’s to get access to the local branches! While the physical buildings might be closed, the EVPL’s online services—Hoopla and Libby—are still accessible!
If physical books aren’t your thing but you still love to read, head over to stories.audible.com because Audible is making their site free for students while schools are closed!
Create a shared playlist on Spotify or Apple Music so you and your friends can listen to the same music and jam out even from afar!
For Spotify, just create a playlist, tap the three dots, and make it collaborative!
Sadly, Apple Music doesn’t let you make a shared playlist, but if you make your playlist on Spotify (anyone can do this, even with the free version), you can use the free app SongShift to transfer a playlist to your preferred platform, avoiding Spotify ads!
Friendly tip: If you like to study or hang with friends at a coffee shop, look up “coffee shop playlist” and brew some homemade coffee while facetiming a friend to recreate that feeling!
Feeling a little old fashioned? Find some postcards or just a regular piece of paper and send some snail mail to a pal!
How to: Address an Envelope!
How to: Address a Postcard!
Buy stamps here!
Let’s face it, texting or writing a friend is great, but what we really want is to see what our friends are up to—seeing their faces, hearing their voices, and most importantly, seeing if they’ve cut or dyed their hair—so here are some fun (and safe!) ways you can do that:
Share social distancing activities and lots of laughs without downloading an extra app or creating another account!
Have a little fun with it by changing the effects on your phone! You can change the filter, add stickers, and even type some words! You can also group facetime with all your friends that have iPhones!
Wanna chat with up to 100 friends at a time? Zoom is the way to be!
All you need is the app on either your phone or laptop! Only the host of the meeting needs an account so they can send the meeting link to everyone else, and then you get 40 minutes of hanging! If you want to chat longer, just create a new meeting the same way as the first!
If you’re on your laptop, you can see more people at once and even change your background so it looks like you’re in space or out in a field of grass!
This is a classic way to keep in touch and laugh with your friends using funny face filters, voice changers, and lots of GIFs!
If you don’t already have it, download the app and pick a username you’re 100% okay with because you can’t change it. If you made your account in middle school like me, I am sorry and I feel your pain.
Grab a couple friends and you can have a party right from the comfort of your own home!
Just download the app on your phone or computer and grab your friends along with you! Get notified when your friends are online and group video chat!
If you’re a little like me and forget what your Snapchat conversation was about unless you respond right away, Marco Polo might just be your new best friend!
All you have to do is download the app (get your friends to do it, too!) and create a group!
You can send little videos between you and your friends that can be replayed as many times as you want at any time. They’re never deleted!
1 Second Everyday
If you’re looking for something to do on your own, I encourage you to check out the “1 Second Everday: Video Diary”. I’ve been doing it for all of 2020, and it has pushed me to find at least one good thing to take with me out of every day. It helps me shift from a mindset of worry and stress to one of gratitude, even if just for a second.
My personal favorite ways to connect with others during this time apart have been Zoom and a mini book club! I’ve seen so much of my YR fam over Zoom and it’s such a great reminder that we’re all in this together. At the same time, being a part of a book club has been some nice encouragement to read and spend time away from the screen, while still deepening my connections with others.
Hearing people’s voices has definitely made the difference for me. Texts and snaps are great, but hearing someone’s voice makes it all feel a little more real, like they’re almost right there next to me. I know we’re all navigating this unfamiliar situation at the same time, but the only way we figure it out is together. Right now we have to love each other even more. That’s what YR really is, right? Love. We love each other when we’re together, but especially from a distance. If we change our perspective just a little, social distancing is really just some distant socializing.
Stay safe and stay connected!
About the Blogger
Becca Samuel is a junior at Signature School. She currently serves as TAC’s Vice President and was elected to be President of the Council for the 2020-21 school year. She is also a member of TEENPOWER Youth Staff and volunteers regularly with Vanderburgh County Teen Court.