Maintaining friendships in a time of social distancing

26 March 2020

Phi Phi Nguyen

Phi Phi is the Communications Officer at YWCA Canberra

As we each play our part to reduce the spread of COVID-19 through social distancing, it’s normal to experience waves of loneliness and anxiety. With new restrictions put into place every day, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to practice the things we love, around the people we love.

But who said self-isolation had to be borinGraphics of two friends social distancingg? Thanks to the power of technology, and a little bit of creative thinking, we can all stay connected while practising safe social distancing. Here are some fun ways.

Start an online book club

Been dying to start a new book? Why not share it with your friends and start an online book club? Nothing is better than sharing an amazing book with someone you love and being able to talk it out chapter by chapter.

Books we are lovingLittle Women by Louisa May Alcott, Too Much Lip by Melissa Lucashenko, and Eggshell Skull by Bri Lee.

Watch a new series together

Thanks to online streaming services such as Netflix, we now have access to thousands of movies and tv shows at just the touch of a buttonWhy don’t you start a new series with a friend? And a range of apps like Netflix Party mean you can watch it all together! Just make sure you don’t jump ahead and reveal any spoilers because you might not come out as friends afterwards.

Our TV show recommendations: Sex EducationThe Bold TypeGrace and Frankie.

Curate and share playlists and podcasts

When in doubt, jam it out. Curate the perfect playlist to lift the mood or have a friend surprise you by creating a personalised playlist. Better yet, two minds think alike, so why not collaborate and make the best feminist playlist of all time!

Prefer something that’ll get your brain thinkingShare your favourite podcasts! Podcasts are great for knowledge sharing and perfect for when you and your friends need a little bit of brain fuel.

Our recommendations‎A Podcast of One’s Own with Julia Gillard, Shameless podcast anything by Dolly Parton.

Play online games together

Feel like escaping reality? Maybe it’s time to dust off the old console and restart your favourite multiplayer game. Nothing says friendship quite like defeating the evil boss on that level you’ve been stuck onOr if traversing the virtual countryside is more your thing, Lord of the Rings Online has temporarily been made completely open to everyone for free.

Don’t have a console? Don’t fret! There are still plenty of games you can play online together or even through your phones.

Our recommendations: Words with Friends 2, Animal Crossing pocket camp, Geo Guessr.

Share cute animal videos

If there is one thing that helps us get through hard times, it’s looking at cute animal memesDid you know that just by looking at cute animals your brain can release dopamine? And you know what’s better than watching cute animal videos? SHARING cute animal videos.

Our recommendationsThe_DodoSquees for all and Prissy_Pig

Video calls

Sometimes, a phone call just doesn’t cut it. Video calls are the perfect ways to keep in contact with your friends with the added benefit of seeing each other, and there are plenty of free online services like Skype. Why not start an activity together?

Recommendations on things to do include sharing a cup of tea, working out together (like this kid-friendly workout), doing mindful colouring in.

Make care packages for each other

Nowadays, people are getting all kinds of creative with homemade care packages and gift hampers made to spoil your loved onesAt this pointa care package might just be the perfect thing to help lift the mood of any friend or family member. Just make sure you leave it at their front doorstep. Maybe you can get creative and make a quarantine survivor kit.

Our recommendations: handwritten note, a book you love, a scented candle, a roll of toilet paper.

Start a creative project together

Sometimes, spending a lot of with yourself can make you do things you’ve never tried before (like, knitting a teapot cosy because, why not?). To make things more interesting, you could invite a friend to start a creative project too. You can share your tips, tricks and progress with each other. Make it a competition if you’d like and share photos online.

Our recommendations: cooking, knitting, compose a song together.

So, whether you’re a street apart, a city apart or even a country apart, there are still plenty of ways you can stay connected with your friends while practising safe social distancingJust because you’re inside alonedoesn’t mean you have to be lonelyAt the end of the day, we’re all in this together, so let’s make the most of it.

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