-Written by Rianna Jamieson
While social distancing has been declared a necessary practice across the world during these uncertain times, its label can be somewhat confusing. Though we must physically distance ourselves from one-another as much as possible, now is the time to increase our levels of socialization, just not face to face like we might be used to.
Social distancing can lead us to feel more isolated as we lose access to support systems and centers for socialization. In particular, sheltering oneself at home has the potential to reduce opportunities to engage in the creative arts, such as attending music rehearsals or dance classes. Fortunately, we live in a day and age where there is an abundance of communication and social media platforms. It has never been easier to reach out to friends, family, and co-workers from the comfort of our own bed or even restroom!
So, without further ado here is a list of 6 creative ways to stay social, when social distancing.
1. Facetiming and calling
For years now, calling and ‘facetiming’ has become increasingly popular for people of all ages and technological capabilities. However, while this may be an obvious resource for younger generations, this simple feature can make a mind-blowing difference to the elderly or those living alone. Take time to send a quick video explaining how to answer or make a facetime call. These explanations can take time, but it’s important to remember that this can be new for some!
These tools can also be used for people who are hard of hearing and can understand sign language or lip read, so it’s important to practice patience when teaching and speak slowly and clearly.
For those that can’t access these features, calling is just as beneficial. A good rule to practice is to call those who you would normally text. You’ll be amazed at the comfort that an actual voice can bring.
Some good apps to use are:
- IOS facetime (only available on apple devices)
- WhatsApp video call
- Facebook messenger video call
Once you get the hang of video calling your loved ones, don’t be afraid to bring art and media into your conversation! Video calling allows us to share so much more than our faces and voices. Flip your screen and show your friend your latest artistic creation (maybe a project from ITA’s blog?). Use apps that allow for screensharing, like Zoom or Skype, to show your friends and family your digital projects, such as photo albums, song recording projects, or digital art.
2. Send a card or letter
A friendly face and voice are the next best thing to a real–life hug; however, sometimes traditional methods are the best. Make sure that your hands are clean when writing and mailing your note but a simple letter or ‘thinking of you’ card can go a long way to put a smile on someone’s face.
If you’re feeling creative, you could even make a card and fill it with some novelty drawings, sweets, or even teabags. For a fun design idea, check out our PositiviTEA card activity.
3. Join an online forum or group
Online groups and forums are not a new idea; however, they are definitely not something to be overlooked. Social media websites provide endless opportunities to connect with people with similar opinions, likes, and dislikes to you. If you can’t find one you like…make one! Blogs, groups, and forums are a simple way to get your message heard, engage with others, or just make yourself smile with a funny cat video. Because hey…everyone loves a funny cat video. Some blogs are even dedicated to mental health and well-being and can be used as an anonymous or open support network. Others can inspire you to engage in creative arts projects, such as crafting tutorials.
Some resources are:
- Soundcloud – Find and upload new music
- Soundtrap – Create your own music
- Beyond Blue – Online mental health support forums
- Mental Health Forum – An online forum to anonymously discuss metal health concerns with peers
- Blogger.com – Create your own blog or follow others
- WordPress – Create your own blog
- Facebook Groups – Find a group that interests you
- Tumblr – Create your own blog and follow others
- Reddit – Online forums about any and every topic
4. Play online games
Most recent gaming systems come with an integrated live chat system that allows gamers to interact and socialize with friends while gaming. PlayStation live and Xbox live have been around for generations, allowing people to meet and play with other gamers across the globe. Some games, like Dungeons and Dragons, can allow for creative expression through play and story building, and online platforms can help you play this game with friends online.
However, if you do not own any gaming devices, there are apps and websites that allow anyone to connect with friends online. These apps can be easily downloaded to any device and played with or against multiple friends.
Examples of online games:
- Xbox live
- Playstation live
- Roll20 for tabletop gaming
- 22 of the Best Online Games to Play with Friends
Remember to not share your personal information with strangers online. These tools can provide opportunities to connect with others, but if a situation or person seems unsafe you have every right to disengage. Take a break and maybe try a different online group or take some time for yourself to start a project.
5. Organize long distance date nights with a friend or loved one
Long distance relationships with friends and loved ones are hard enough when there isn’t a quarantine to keep us apart. However, hard does not mean ‘impossible’ and date nights can be a fun and creative way to continue to get to know the different sides of people during stressful situations. By providing continuous support, you are reassuring them that you are still the same person as before and providing a sense of normalcy through familiarity. While the ideas are endless and unique creativity is definitely key here, here are some ideas.
- Watch a movie or new series together. These can be synced up through Netflix party or DisneyPlus party.
- Order or decide what the other person should have for dinner. This could be the same or different than what you order, it can be as cheap, expensive, or inventive as you like!
- Facetime them when out on a walk. While it’s nicer to be talking to them in person, you can still walk and talk together.
- Play a game together. This could either be from an option above or a board game, one person will have to be trusted to move the other person’s pawn though!
- Find a dance challenge on the TikTok app and learn it with a friend over video chat, or better yet, create your own dance! Whether or not you post it on TikTok, you can enjoy socializing while engaging your body creatively.
6. Get creative with friends online
Staying in touch with your creative side when stressed is very important, as it helps you process and manage negative thoughts and feelings in a productive and fun way. Below are some free apps and websites that you and your friends and family can get involved with online.
- Multiplayer Piano
Play piano with people all over the world.
Draw alone, with strangers, or send your personal link to your friends and draw something together. Best used on PC or Mac.
Jam out alone or with people in your local area. Pick from funky sounds and beats that keep you perfectly in time with one-another. It can be used via PC, Mac or smart phone.
An easy platform to share your fabulous creations and photos with thousands of people across the world. Make tags and collections with friends online, and comment and follow the ones you like. Pinterest is also a great place to gather ideas for your next great creation.
If you struggle to write stories but it’s always been a passion of yours, storium allows you to work with other people to write a story, using various stimuli and challenges to evoke new plot lines.
- Online Book Clubs
Finally, if making art is too much to bear right now, why not appreciate someone else’s? There are lots of book clubs available online that recommend various genres of books to poke at your imagination and give you a chance to gossip with others about the latest plot twists!