How to stay in touch with friends you can't visit
Connecting with other people is a really important way of maintaining your wellbeing and mental health during self-isolation. We have some tips on how to keep in touch in the time of social distancing.
Stream movies together
You can’t flop on the lounge beside your bestie to watch all of The Office, but you can both flop on your respective lounges and watch together. Now's a great time to stream those things you've been meaning to get to forever or binge some childhood favourites.
You don't need a special service to watch shows and movies with your friends. You don’t even need to have the same paid streaming service, as there are plenty of free ones on offer. Just agree on something to watch and a time to start it, then chat on the phone all the way through.
Get video chatting
There are many free and easy-to-use apps out there that will allow you to hang out virtually with your mates. These are just a few.
Google Hangouts: Hangouts is relatively simple to use for anyone with a Google account (most people). You can use it for text chatting, but it has a video chat feature that works across devices.
Zoom: It's free and straight-forward to use. The service works with up to 100 people per meeting on a free account. Just install the app on your phone or computer, share your code (or an invitation link) with your friends, and off you go.
WhatsApp: WhatsApp works around the globe, making it great for keeping in touch with people, no matter how far away they live. It also uses end-to-end encryption, meaning your chats, phone calls, and video sessions are private.
Party like its 2020
Houseparty is a video chat app that lets you play popular games like trivia and Heads Up! with friends virtually through its interface. The app has seen massive growth in downloads since the start of March.
Have a song in your head on repeat? Did a new album drop that your friends need to hear? Take advantage of Spotify's collaborative playlist feature. Simply create a new playlist and hit the three dots to access the menu. Click ‘Collaborative Playlist’ and then copy the playlist link within the same menu. Send it to your friends and they'll be able to add tracks using their own Spotify accounts.
Send snail mail
Put some isolation energy into creating greeting cards or writing letters to your loved ones. The recipient will probably love the gesture and getting creative is a good outlet when everything seems to be standing still. No stamps on hand? You can order some online.
Bask in a book club
Your social circle can still read together. Pick out a new ebook and set a date to discuss the plot. The Kindle app is free to use on computers and smartphones. Will you stick to one genre such as crime or Australian literature? Maybe you only want to read debut authors or classics? Or is anything on the table? Don’t forget to pick a memorable name!
If you and your friends like competitive cooking shows on television, you’ll like having your own cooking challenge. Simply pick some ingredients you all must use and then get creative. Make sure there is at least one ingredient that’s unusual to provide an extra challenge for competitors. Take pics of the final products and vote on whose looks the most appetising.
The most important thing is to not let this coronavirus stand in the way of human connection. If we stick together, we can get through it with better times to come.
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