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If we had to take a guess at the 2020 phrase-of-the-year, we’d put out money on “social distancing.” The spread of COVID-19 has meant travel bans, closures of entertainment venues, and the cancellation of live events and gatherings. But just because we have to stay six-feet-apart doesn’t mean we have to ditch our social life altogether. After all, humans are social beings and we’d go insane without any human interaction in the long-run. We spoke with the experts and have come up with a list of creative ways to stay connected with friends and family – that are not just a video call because Zoom fatigue is real. Check out the list below and start reconnecting today!
1. Go On A Camping Trip
“We shared stories, played music, and were able to enjoy a pretty serene and healing environment without much physical contact.”James Bullard, Founder of SoundFro.com
We may be wearing masks, but that doesn’t mean we don’t get to have any fun this summer. As long as we maintain our social distance and keep our hands clean, the time-old traditions of roasting marshmallows by the campfire and pitching tents are not off the table. Laura Durenberger, the blogger behind Reduce, Reuse, Renew, recommends camping. Not only do you get to connect with friends and/or family but you also give yourself a mental break from the cyber world, which is great for mental health. According to Laura, “many group-specific campsites are quite large, and can accomodate a number of families, while providing enough space to social distance.” James Bullard, founder of SoundFro.com, also recommends embracing the outdoors. “We shared stories, played music, and were able to enjoy a pretty serene and healing environment without much physical contact,” he says. Just remember to bring your own tent, chairs, toys, food, dish-ware etc. so there is no sharing of physical items. Be sure to bring lots of hand sanitizer as well!
2. Create Your Own Co-Working Space
“Friend-working means working from your friend’s apartment or home with your friend while remaining appropriately distanced, which allows for a change of work venue and increased social interaction.”Stacy Caprio, Founder of Her.CEO
Can’t seem to stay productive at home home? Family members or your partner getting on your nerves? Consider creating your own office or co-working space by renting a nearby apartment or Airbnb with a couple of friends to work out of during the day. Just make sure everyone is healthy and safe. If renting an Airbnb is not an option, Stacy Caprio, founder of Her.CEO recommends giving ‘Friend-working’ a try. “‘Friend-working’ is a great way to replace co-working in a crowded space while the pandemic is still fresh in people’s minds. Friend-working means working from your friend’s apartment or home with your friend while remaining appropriately distanced, which allows for a change of work venue and increased social interaction.” David Bakke from National Air Warehouse also recommends working outdoors. “We have met at local parks with our laptops (fully charged, of course) and we get a few hours of work done and squeeze in a bit of socializing too,” he says.
3. Have An Outdoor Picnic – Six Feet Apart
“I’ve been taking my picnics to the next level by doing an “around the world” series with friends, since we can’t travel these days. We all bring food from a particular cuisine, play music from that country, and dress as though we were vacationing there. It’s been a lot of fun and gets us out of our routines!”Allie Adamis, Co-Founder of the Agus and Allie Blog and Better Because podcast
Ready to venture beyond Uber eats? Start with a simple picnic with friends or family. Scope out an uncrowded hill or park space a few days in advance. If it’s a park or space you’re familiar with, plan ahead to pick the least populated areas and times to spend there. When it comes to the picnic food, make sure to keep it summer-friendly and pack in as much separate Tupperware as possible. Starters could be as simple as hummus and breadsticks or vegetables – a cheese board if you’re feeling fancy. While sandwiches are the obvious go-to for a picnic, maybe try elevating them with some crusty bread, prosciutto and sides of olives or grapes. Or go all out with your new baking skills and bring along a pasty or sausage roll. And for dessert? Well, there’s never been a better time to put all that banana bread to use. To up your picnic game, try out what Allie, co-founder of the Agus and Allie Blog and Better Because podcast, is doing. Allie recommends hosting an “around the world” series where each person brings food from a particular cuisine, plays music from that and dresses as they are vacationing there. “It’s been a lot of fun and gets us out of our routines,” she says.
4. Take Advantage of The Areas In Your Neighborhood
Distancing from culture does not imply complete alienation. While large gatherings are still not an option, consider making use of your driveways, yards, and sidewalks which, according to Lesley Reynolds, Co-Founder of The Harley Street Skin Clinic, not only make setting boundaries easier, but also allow neighbors to get out and connect with one another.
Some options include:
- Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt
“Create a scavenger hunt in the neighborhood, searching for a specific item (such as a flag, Christmas decoration, balloon, etc.) placed somewhere visible from the sidewalk.”
- Rooftop BBQ
“Now, when one of our close friends is struggling with the lockdown or desperate for some sunshine, we have a barbecue on our rooftop. Sometimes this includes chatting and a few drinks, sometimes it includes work, and sometimes it’s a nice mix of both. We’re able to do this safely because we have a small close-knit friend group. We all agreed when social distancing began to limit our interaction with strangers or people outside of our small circle of friends.”
Bryan Truong, Founder of GameCows
- Driveway Socializing
“Set up chairs and tables in the driveway of your house with 6 feet distance between everyone. This is great for inviting friends and family who stay close.”
Girish Dutt Shukla freelance digital marketer and founder of the Girish Dutt Shukla blog
- NERF War
“Use the street itself as a DMZ of sorts. Each family sets up their table and chairs on their respective side, with snacks and drinks and what not. Distribute NERF guns to each side and have a shooting match as the main entertainment.”
David Mead, Founder of LinkdHOME.com
- Traveling Bar
“Gather the ingredients for a few signature cocktail drinks, pack them all up with a folding table, tablecloth etc., and travel around your neighborhood creating drinks for your neighbors.”
Stefaine Haug, mindfulness and play-based psychotherapist
5. Host A (Socially-Distant) Networking Event
“Just last night, I met up with 4 other female entrepreneurs on a friend’s outdoor deck for a ‘Power Ladies Meetup.’ It was my first official business networking event since the pandemic began and made me realize where my missing inspiration has been over the past several months.”Lori Cheek, Founder and CEO of Cheekd
Networking can feel really scary and hard right now, especially if the only person you’ve talked to in person this week is yourself. But just because large networking events aren’t happening, doesn’t mean relationship building has stopped. In fact, now more than ever, people are craving community and connection. It’s a great time to whip out those business cards and get networking! One idea recommend by Lori Cheek, founder and CEO of Cheekd, is to organize your own small networking meet-up. “It makes the day in the life of our entrepreneurial journey during this socially removed time much less lonely,” says Lori. “Just last night, I met up with 4 other female entrepreneurs on a friend’s outdoor deck for a ‘Power Ladies Meetup.’ It was my first official business networking event since the pandemic began and made me realize where my missing inspiration has been over the past several months.” Now is the perfect time to start rekindling those business relationships!
6. Take An Outdoor Workout Class
During a pandemic, it’s more important than ever for us to take good care of our bodies. If streaming online workouts isn’t your thing, try taking a socially-distant workout class. Contrary to public belief, many companies have not settled for virtual offerings and have actually begun hosting outdoor yoga, Zumba, barre, and boxing classes. Pure Barre, for example, has been getting innovative by partnering with local businesses for open-air pop-up classes. These classes not only allow you to stay active but also offer you the opportunity to meet new people. Start looking around and exploring nearby in-person workout classes!