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8 Ways to Stay Connected During COVID-19
For many parts of the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has been changing our lives since March 2020. Many countries have gone into lockdown, told people to social distance, and even quarantine when they feel any symptoms of sickness.
Now, the UK is facing yet another lockdown in order to flatten the curve and reduce the sudden surge of cases. The United States may not be far behind as case numbers continue to rise.
There is no denying that COVID-19 has changed nearly everyone’s lives in some way. According to Yelp, 60% of businesses that had to close due to the pandemic will remain shuttered for good. Other businesses have had to lay off workers to stay afloat or allow people to work from home.
Schools have also been affected throughout the world, with many kids doing eLearning options in order to stay safe.
Unfortunately, the physical effects of the pandemic aren’t the only thing to worry about. Already, there have been studies on the mental health effects of COVID-19 and how it might impact people on a long-term basis. Humans are social creatures, by nature. Loneliness and isolation can cause extreme problems that lead to things like anxiety and depression.
Thankfully, we are living in a time where technology makes it easier to stay connected to the people we love. If you’re struggling and feeling disconnected, there are things you can do to fight back against that isolation.
With that in mind, let’s look at a few ways to stay connected to the people that matter most in your life.
Ways to Stay Connected: Call Someone
This might seem like an obvious solution, but when was the last time you actually used your smartphone to call someone? If you live in an area that doesn’t have great service, do you know how to find your nearest cell tower location? Even if you have to leave your home to make a call, it’s often worth it just to hear the voice of someone you care about.
Texting is great, and it can make for an easy way to converse back and forth with someone quickly. But, when you are truly missing human interaction, there is nothing like actually talking to someone and hearing the inflection in their voice.
Whether you make a five-minute phone call or end up talking and venting for hours, you might be surprised at how something as simple and “old fashioned” as calling someone can make you feel so much better.
Start a Business
What? Start a business during a pandemic? Yes, it’s possible. It may even be exactly what you need to keep your mental health in a good place. Whether you lost your job due to the pandemic or you are now working from home, it’s a good time to think about your career and whether it might be time to make a change.
As stated above, COVID-19 has impacted businesses all over the world. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad time to start a business, especially if you consider yourself to be tech-savvy.
More people than ever are getting on board with the gig economy as a freelancer or contractor. Do you have specific skills that could be put to use as a freelancer? Whether you’re a writer, graphic designer, photographer, or even if you want to deliver food, you can essentially be your own boss by working in the gig economy. You can choose to do something as a side hustle or make it your new full-time career.
You might also consider starting a full-time business on your own if you have a passion for it. Doing so will allow you to talk to new people, connect with potential customers, and network – even if it has to be done virtually.
Join an Online Class
If you find yourself spending more time at home (even if it’s out of necessity), you might as well make the most of it. One of the best things you can do to better yourself and learn something new is to take an online class.
That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to ‘sign up for school’ or take part in virtual learning. Instead, find something you’re interested in, whether it’s cooking, drawing, design, etc. Do your research on any live classes you might be able to join virtually. Many times, the live-streamed video will allow you to chat with other people within the class or ‘chat room’, and you may even be able to ask questions in real-time.
Exercise With a “Virtual” Partner
One of the best ways to stay motivated when you’re working out is to do it with a ‘buddy’. Unfortunately, thanks to social distancing guidelines, it might not be possible to exercise with a friend right now, especially at a gym or other enclosed spaces.
Thankfully, you can still workout and find motivation even if you don’t have someone right next to you. Using a virtual partner to workout has become increasingly popular. You can seek out virtual partners through different apps, websites, or even social media. They are real people who just aren’t in the same room. But, they can have the same effect when it comes to keeping you motivated.
Additionally, joining online fitness groups can help you to stay focused on your health and wellness goals while connecting with people from all over the world. Now, more than ever, it’s important to take care of yourself and make your health a priority.
If you’re starting to exercise for the first time, looking into online communities or even utilizing the help of a virtual partner can go a long way in helping you reach your long-term goals.
Use Your Canine to Connect
Are you a dog lover? While your four-legged friend may be your best companion (especially when you’re stuck at home), you can use them to connect with other like-minded individuals while staying safe.
Visit your local hiking trails or dog park with your pooch. You can remain at a safe distance from other pet owners while still talking to them in-person. In a world where it feels like so much communicating is done online these days, actually being able to have a conversation with someone face-to-face, even from a few feet away, can help you to feel a sense of normalcy.
Use Technology to Your Advantage
Although nothing does beat face-to-face communication, that isn’t always possible in-person. But, technology has truly saved the day during this pandemic thanks to the different options we have for staying connected to loved ones.
Platforms like Skype, FaceTime, and Zoom have made it easier than ever to have conversations with friends and family while seeing their faces. Even if it’s not in person, it is the next best thing! These applications allow you to really feel more connected with people, no matter how far apart you may be. They take a normal phone conversation and make it something that means so much more.
If you’re feeling disconnected from the rest of the world, immerse yourself in different causes that mean something to you. Chances are if you’re feeling alone, there are others feeling the same way. By volunteering at different organizations or for different groups, you can meet new people (safely), help others, and feel as though you’re giving something back.
We could all use a few bright spots in our lives during these uncertain times. Knowing that you’re helping someone can make a big difference in how you feel, and you never know how strong you could be impacting someone else’s life. There are even opportunities to work at call centers (or even for a company at home), so people who are in need of someone to talk to can reach out to you.
Ways to Stay Connected: Check On Your Neighbors
Whether you live in an apartment complex, a small community, or just care about the people on your street, take the time to check on your neighbors. This is especially important if you live near anyone elderly or anyone that has to deal with a compromised immune system.
Some people may not be able to get out at all due to underlying conditions or their age. Talking to them on the phone or even outside from a distance can help to boost their spirits. You might also volunteer to help them in any way you can, such as going to get groceries or run errands for them. Now is definitely the time to be more neighborly and to take care of others!
This is really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to staying connected during the pandemic. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all of the uncertainties surrounding the world right now. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like this pandemic is going anywhere soon.
So, don’t be afraid to get creative when it comes to ways to stay connected. Be innovative in how you talk to people and stay involved with those that matter most. Reach out to help when you can, and be a source of comfort to those who need it most.