With social distancing in place it is more important than ever to stay connected with friends and family. The key is to keep your social life on track and to help friends and relatives who are alone. Luckily there are plenty of options available, so why not think about who might need to stay connected during isolation. Take a look at our guide, we’ll go through:
Top tips for staying connected
Struggling with fun ideas to interact with your friends and family online? We’ve put together the following ideas to help you stay connected, check them out and make a plan!
1. Have a cup of tea with your grandparents.
Sit down with a cup of tea (and a biscuit of course) and have a good old chat. It’ll feel just the same as meeting up!
2. Have a cocktail party with friends.
If possible, all of you should make the same cocktail – then you can shake it together, talk about how delicious it is and then dance together after a few!
3. Have dinner with your family.
You may be far away from your family, but there is no reason why you should not be able to enjoy sitting down for a meal together (don’t worry if one of you is eating breakfast and the other is eating dinner!) You can catch up, laugh and have a lovely time together.
4. ‘Go to the cinema’ with a friend.
You may be self isolating, but you can still take a trip to the cinema with your bestie! Choose a film (or series) together, pop the popcorn in and sit down to watch and chat about it.
5. Get into teams and have a pub quiz.
We love a good pub quiz and this weekly social doesn’t have to stop. So many pubs are hosting online pub quizzes – so get a group of friends together and join in.
6. Host an online games night.
Is gaming more your thing? Or maybe you should give it a try? Hold a weekly gaming night on XBOX Live or PlayStation Plus.
7. Start a book club, or a music club, or a movie club!
Choose a book, album or film – give everyone time to read, listen or watch, then catch up on a video call to discuss over snack and maybe a drink or two.
The Best Online Apps For Staying Social In Self Isolation
There are so many apps available to make socialising online easier. From the basics like Skype and Facebook Messenger to the new Netflix Party and Houseparty check out our favourites below.
1. Netflix Party
Our current favourite! Netflix has recently launched Netflix Party which allows you to sync your screen with friends so you can watch a film, all at the same time! Make sure you make the most of the group chat function which allows you to catch up as you go! Then all you need is popcorn and it’s just like you’re at the cinema.
Netflix Party is a Google Chrome extension so requires both parties to be using desktop, more info here.
The screen sharing, video conference meeting platform turned family catch-up software. You can host a meeting or catch-up with up to 100 people (if you have that many friends!) so this is a great tool for quiz nights or party evenings! You can install the app free on your phone or computer, set up a meeting and share the code with friends to get started. One thing to bear in mind, free sessions are capped at 40 minutes, but you can pay to upgrade your account for unlimited video catch ups.
3. Google Hangouts
An old favourite and simple and easy to use for anyone with a Google account, you can use it for text chatting or video calling!
A long established face to face social network that is currently enjoying a revival. You can dive into chats or lock your room for no one else to enter. Play games and catch up. Rumours have surfaced recently about security; however, these are unfounded and unlikely to be true as it is now owned by Epic Games, the company behind the Fortnite phenomenon.
5. Whatsapp Video Call
Most of us already have WhatsApp, and it is an easy app to get an elderly relative to download (providing they have a phone). The messaging platform now has the ability to hold video calls, you can even set up a group video chat to call more than one person at a time. End-to-end encryption means your chats, phone calls and video sessions are private, always a plus.
6. Facebook Messenger
Much like WhatsApp, you can video call friends and family one-to-one or part of a larger group.
The original video call platform and the most widely used. Skype is available on desktop or an app on your smartphone. A great platform for sharing dinner over – it’s even nice to cook the same thing at the same time and then sit down to eat together!
8. XBOX Live
Are you more of a gamer? Connect with friends and family over a games night on XBOX live – you can chat via a headset whilst playing your favourite game!
9. Spotify Playlists
Take advantage of Spotify’s collaborative playlist feature to share your favourite songs or new albums with friends or family. Make a playlist, click collaborative playlist and send the playlist link out for others to add to the list.
There are so many ways and reasons to keep in touch at this time, and what’s great about learning to connect with family and friends online is that you’ll be able to keep it up once the social distancing measures have been relaxed, helping you to keep up better relationships with both friends and family who may live far away!
Take up a hobby online
Sometimes, of course, time difference or other things might get in the way and limit your social time. So here are a few ideas of things to do online when you can’t get hold of your friends and family – you never know, you might make some new friends doing it!
Are you a musician? On Jamjazam you can form a band, rehearse online, co-write and produce music online, join open sessions to jam with others, record and live broadcast sessions, connect with other musicians and bands. You can even take music lessons if you are looking to learn an instrument.
Gareth Malone’s Great British Music Chorus
A new initiative to bring together both amateur and professional performers around the UK. Join up and sing along with likeminded people.
Learn yoga, it’s great to stretch the body (particularly as we are spending most our time in bed or sitting down) and also the mind. There are loads of platforms offering free yoga but we love the Down Dog app – it’s great for all levels.
Get cooking. Follow Mob Kitchen on social media – they upload new healthy but exciting recipes daily and are hosting Instagram live cooking sessions.