How are you holding up these days?
We’ve talked a lot about taking care of ourselves in quarantine already, whether that’s through taking care of your body, setting boundaries, and tending to your mental health. One thing we haven’t gotten into yet is the big question of: how can we stay social while self quarantining?
Now that it’s warm and sunny and things are opening up, our longing for social activity is only growing. This is the time of year we usually get to spend with friends, go on trips, go to festivals and art shows and concerts. But we can’t do most of that now, so we’re stuck trying to figure out how to cultivate a social life while still abiding by social distancing guidelines.
Because, as we have probably seen in the last four months, staying by ourselves all of the time is not good for our health! Humans are social creatures, and a sense of community and belonging is so crucial to that experience.
So how can you balance both being social and being safe in a pandemic?
Below I’ve created a list of suggestions and tips to help you navigate your social life while still social distancing.
These of course aren’t the only things you can do, and it’s important to remember that while you may be comfortable with a certain level of socialization, your friends and loved ones may have a different comfort level than you! Since COVID has presented a situation we have never dealt with before, what may feel safe and okay for you might not feel that way for someone else. And that’s okay! Remember to respect the boundaries of your friends and loved ones just as you would hope they would respect yours (even if you really miss seeing them!)
Keep it outside
This is one of the things we know for sure–it’s safer to be outside than inside now. Luckily, we’re also in the season where many of us want to be outside anyway! Now you might not be able to go to a concert or a party, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay shut away in your house.
Think about what you typically do with your friends. Do you have a book club? Do you do Sunday brunch? Shift them to be outdoors! There’s no reason you and your friends can’t meet in a park or someone’s yard (six feet apart, or with masks, or both! Whatever you’re comfortable with) and talk about the latest book you read. Or you can all bring your own food and utensils and shift Sunday Brunch to a Sunday Picnic.
Weigh the risks
There are a few things we know help lessen the risks of spreading COVID, which are:
- Staying six feet away from others (most effective for short interactions)
- Wearing masks
- Limiting the number of people in enclosed spaces
- Staying spread out outdoors
- Washing our hands regularly
With that knowledge, you can make more informed decisions on what is safe to do and what isn’t. If your friend invites you somewhere, just run down the list. Ask:
- How many people are invited/going?
- Of those people, have they been social distancing?
- Is the event outdoors?
- Are people being asked to wear masks and bring hand sanitizer?
- Are the people invited essential workers who have not been able to quarantine? Have they been tested for COVID?
Make solo activities into shared activities
With the extra precautions, we of course won’t be able to be as social as we would like to be. But to help this a bit, we can look for things we do at home or on our own that we can begin treating as a shared activity.
Do you cook alone? See if a friend wants to start a cooking club–you can pick a meal a week to make together on Zoom. Do you like to workout with a buddy? Call a friend while you both do a home workout! Even if they can’t be there, it will be nice to hear them experiencing the activity at the same time as you. While it won’t feel the same as it would if you were in the same room, it can help to lessen the feeling of loneliness and isolation that comes along with quarantining for so long.
Keep to your pod
Who of your friends and loved ones have been able to quarantine? Who has stuck strictly to social distancing guidelines? You can begin to incorporate a little normalcy into your social life by restricting your social engagements to events with people in your “pod”. This means everyone is quarantining, social distancing, taking precautions, etc. And the only time you don’t do those things (wear a mask, stay outdoors, etc.) is when you are together.
With this option, please remember: if you have a social pod with a group of people, that has to be the only “pod” each one of you is a part of. If each of you begins engaging in the same behavior with other groups, the effectiveness of the pod goes down drastically, and it ceases to be an effective form of safe social interaction. Check out this article for more specific do’s and don’ts for forming a social pod.
Do you need help dealing with loneliness and isolation during this COVID-19 pandemic? We can help! Contact us today.