Be Socially Different, not Socially Distant.
How to socialise with Video Calls
Across the world we need to stay indoors, work from home where possible, and not to leave the house unless it's essential.
In just a few weeks, different terms have entered our vocabulary – 'Lockdown', 'self-isolation', 'house-quarantine', 'social distancing'. Whether you're an introvert, extrovert or a bit of both; being isolated alone or 'isolating together' with others, in a small space for a long time, is likely to be stressful.
We've pulled together a series of tips, tricks, ideas, strategies and resources to help you cope! Situations are changing fast, so please make sure you are following the latest advice. Advice from the World Health Organisation is available here, and the NHS here. Our first tip is - using video conferencing to socialise. We all must follow the advice to stay 2 metres apart. That physical isolation is a barrier to infection. But getting into the right mindset is essential. Don't think of it as being 'socially distant', Think of it as an opportunity to socialise differently.
'Socially Different' not 'Socially Distant'
You may already be using video conferencing and conference calls for work. Apps out there like Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, Facebook messenger and others allow free or cheap video calls. Some have even lifted restrictions on their freemium versions for the duration of the crisis. There are lots of ways that video conferencing can be used socially. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Come Dine With Me
Arrange a dinner party with friends – you could make the same recipe, or theme the dinner.
A virtual coffee morning for your local community that people can drop in to - you can put an invite on a local community page. This could also be a vital source of local news.
Have a video lunch with your team, but no work chat! Keep up to speed with this equivalent of the watercooler.
Whose Round is it Anyway?
A virtual pub night. Apps like HouseParty allow you to mix party games with video chat – how about a virtual pub quiz?
Saturday Night at the Movies
Watch the same film together while you are in a group chat, or browser extensions can synch Netflix watching so that you can start, pause and rewind shows at the same time while chatting.
Come into my Parlour
Massive Multiplayer Online Games may be all the rage, but you can slow things down, save bandwidth, and keep things traditional with parlour games you can play over video chat. Think charades, chess - Guess Who?
These are just a few examples - we're sure you will have more, and we'd love to hear on twitter @Monster_UK if you try any of them. Above all, stay safe, and look after each other. If you feel like your mental health is struggling with isolation, support and advice is available from organisations like Young Minds - "looking after your mental health while self-isolating" and Mind - Lonliness and The Samaritans