While most of us probably had never heard of social distancing until recently, it has come to define our reality. While the concept of keeping our distance from friends and family may be absolutely heartbreaking, it is a small price to pay to ensure the health and wellbeing of ourselves and others.
That being said, there are ways to stay connected with those who are important to us without violating the social distancing recommendations encouraged by health officials. Whether utilizing the many interactive apps, tools, and gadgets available, or sending thoughtful gifts to cheer up loved ones, here are 16 ways to promote connectivity and put a smile on the faces of those who are closest to us in spirit.
Communicate Via Video Chat
You can still hang out with your bffs, family members, and coworkers from the comfort of each of your homes. All it takes is a smartphone, computer, or other tech gadget with a video camera and a little creativity. “With many consumers practicing social distancing, Google Hangouts and FaceTime are becoming a key vehicle for friends and family to keep in touch. In fact many are planning virtual happy hours and game nights to stay connected!” Sara Skirboll, Shopping & Trends Expert at RetailMeNot, tells MyDomaine.
Set Up a Group Chat
Our kids use group chats to stay connected, why shouldn't we? Set up a few different chats with various “groups” of pals, and use them as a tool for connectivity. “We vacation with the same group of friends every summer and a friend set up a chat loop on What's App so we can all feel connected to one another,” explains Trae Bodge, smart shopping expert for TrueTrae.com. “I have another text chat with a different group of friends where we send mostly funny videos and memes. Definitely good for a laugh if I'm feeling low.”
Or, Become Pen Pals
Now's the time to go old school and communicate via letters. Getting snail mail will definitely brighten up anyone’s day. Make sure to include little added extras in your letters. A few ideas? Spritz a little of your trademark scent on the envelope, include some cool stickers, or maybe a few old photos. And if you've got calligraphy skills, why not show them off on the envelope?
Surprise Them With a Tasty Treat
Just because you can’t break bread with your loved ones on special occasions right now, doesn't mean you can't gift them with celebratory treats. “For friends who are celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions while stuck at home, a delivery of treats from retailers like Edible Arrangements or Baked by Melissa are sure to cheer them up,” suggests Skirboll.
Light Up Their Day With Candles
Since we are all going to be spending plenty of time indoors, there is no better time to stock up on candles. If your friends grew up in the '90s, or are simply obsessed with the decade, order them a candle from Otherland's Carefree '90s Collection, which includes Blue Jean Baby, a scent that encompasses washed denim, white musk, and mimosa flower (basically, that perfect pair of Calvins), Dreamlight, a blend of wild freesia, plush plumeria, and juicy tangerine, and Glosspop, a strawberry gloss, hard candy, and frosted rose scent that will remind you of that tin of strawberry lipgloss you couldn’t get enough of.
Take a Tandem Walk
Just because you can’t go to the gym or exercise classes with your pals, you can still stay connected via exercise. “Have a catch-up call while you each take a long walk,” suggests Bodge. “The walk will do you both good and it will feel even better because you're connecting.” Also, keep in mind that you can still go on a hike or a walk with one of your friends, if it's allowed where you live, as long as you keep a six foot distance between you.
Have a catch-up call while you each take a long walk. The walk will do you both good and it will feel even better because you're connecting.
Take an Online Exercise Class Together
You can still take an exercise class with your friends—just make sure to do it virtually. There are so many workouts, both live and streaming that you can do with your BFF. From Peloton and Echelon—where you can actually see your friend’s name on the leaderboard—to the innumerable free videos on YouTube, taking the same class will make you feel like you are together in spirit and give you something to talk about post sweat session.
Send Wellness in a Box
If your loved one is struggling, send them some treats to help them with their oh-so-important self-care routine. TheraBox was founded by a therapist to make it easy for people to discover and maintain self-care rituals that inspire joy and fulfillment each month. Each box includes a happiness activity meant to be practiced throughout the month (or longer!) in addition to 6-8 full sized wellness items for the mind, body and soul. Packed with over $100 in value, products are curated by therapists and include aromatherapy, natural/organic bath, body, skincare products, and other lifestyle goodies. Happiness Plans range from a single month to a full year and range from $30.99 - $34.99 per box.
Sweeten up Someone’s Day With Chocolate
Chocolate makes everyone happy, right? GODIVA is currently offering a buy one, get one 50% off special on select items online, so you can treat everyone in your life to a little something-something to indulge their sweet tooth. You can also add their personalized ribbon option as a great special touch to help you feel even more connected to your loved one.
Send Some Succulents
With all the indoor hours we are docking, a little bit of green will go a long way. We love Olive & Cocoa’s Zen Garden Succulent, $74, which provides a little bit of an indoor oasis with an array of succulents planted in a distressed metallic potager.
Or, Send a Fresh Bouquet
A great bouquet of flowers never fails to put a smile on your friend or loved one’s face. There are so many options of where to order fresh, fabulous flowers. Some of our favorites include San Francisco-based Farmgirl Flowers and The Bouqs Co. However, you can also help stimulate a local economy by ordering directly from a florist in your pal’s town.
Make Them a Photo Book
If you have a little extra time on your hands, you can use it to start organizing all of your photos—and giving your loved ones the gift of memories. Curating a Chatbooks photo book will help you relive memories with your loved ones. Whether for your BFF, who you recently played bridesmaid to, or your grandparents, who are currently separated from their grandkids, this fun and easy to use photobook system is the perfect way to show your loved ones that you are there in spirit.
Try Using Connectivity Bracelets
No matter how much distance is separating you from your friends, family, and other loved ones, you can literally feel their presence with Bond Bracelets. These connectivity bracelets are sold in a set: one for you and one for them. When you touch your bracelet, no matter where they are, they will feel it with a slight vibration and their bracelet with light up in the designated color of their choice—and vice versa. Also, if you open your Bond Touch App you can follow your partner’s status and get notified when you miss a touch.
Play Online Games Together
Elizabeth Pearson, executive career and life coach suggests playing interactive games online with friends. “It can help you feel connected and bring a little fun back into your day,” she explains. “Some can be played whenever you have free time, and some can be played online and over video chat.” A few of her favorites include Words with Friends, Cards Against Humanity, and Uno.