By Corey Lewis, CPT, CSCS
COVID-19 has changed virtually everything about our lives. Many of us now work from home. We socially distance if we go out, no longer get together with friends or go to birthday parties, nor do we go to movie theaters or concerts. The good news is that technology can help make your digital life more closely resemble your old life—it’s just a question of connecting the dots and understanding how to maximize that tech.
One of the most critical technologies in the new normal is the ability to video conference. From Zoom to Microsoft Teams, we’re now getting together virtually for team meetings, conferences, virtual happy hours, and webinars. Whether you’re struggling with work productivity or you need to connect with family members, there’s a digital solution for you.
Families are using video conferencing technology to stay connected. Friends hang out virtually or use this tech to play board games with one another, to have karaoke parties, and so much more! In fact, we keep coming up with innovative ways to do more with it and to stay connected.
Perhaps the most challenging aspect of the pandemic is the sense of isolation, of being cut off from everyone and everything in your old life. They’re still there, just out of physical reach. The good news is that social media and communication tools can reconnect you with others.
Why is communication important when social distancing? Without social interaction, it becomes very easy to feel alone. You’re cut loose from your ties and floating adrift in an unfriendly world.
If you’re one of the few people not yet using Facebook and Instagram, sign up to enhance your digital life. Find your friends, coworkers, family members, and old school friends there and begin reconnecting. Social bonds connect and support us, which is vital for both social wellness and emotional and mental health.
Social media can be exhausting with all the current political posts and propaganda. It’s understandable if you want to limit your exposure to those negative forces, but that doesn’t mean you have to cut ties with friends and family. Instead, consider a Netflix watch party.
Netflix Party is a new capability rolled out just for the pandemic. It gives you the ability to sit down (virtually) with friends or family to watch a movie or TV show together. The video feed is synchronized, so you’re always on the same frame, and there’s even a group chat feature available so everyone can take part!
With gyms closed around the country, many people lack the means to stay physically fit. The good news is that virtual training programs can help you burn calories and beat “lockdown bod.” Or, if you’re not into virtual training, you can go another route. Now might be the time to purchase a home gym.
We’re not talking about dedicating an entire room to a weight bench, barbells, dumbbells, and all the rest. Portable home gyms offer lots of potential with resistance bands and take up just a few feet of space. Plus, with something like the BodyBoss Portable Gym, you can just fold it up and store it away when it’s not in use.
With that being said, there’s a lot to be gained from having other types of workout equipment at home. You might find a set of dumbbells is all you need, or perhaps you’re more interested in what you can accomplish using the best fitness apps for your smartphone. There’s no reason that the gym being closed should derail your physical fitness regimen.
It’s important that we all social distance whenever possible and limit where we go when we leave the house. Grocery shopping is perhaps the one common activity that most of us have to engage in, but it can be dangerous. You’re crammed into a store with hundreds of strangers, many of whom refuse to wear a mask or stay six feet away from others. It’s enough to make you want to pull your hair out.
The good news is there are ways to skip the grocery store. Thanks to online grocery shopping services like Instacart and the like, you can have your groceries delivered right to your door for a small fee. Don’t want to pay extra but still want to avoid the crowds and folks refusing to wear masks? Go for curbside service.
Most grocery stores offer this at no cost—just order online and choose curbside pickup. Your groceries will be ready when you get there and you can simply grab them and go. Other retailers are now offering this too, including drug stores and even warehouse stores like Sam’s Club and Costco.
Most of the technology we’ve talked about here has been focused on helping you connect with others in your digital life. However, there’s a definite need to unplug and get away from it all at times. Books can help, but what do you do when bookstores are closed and the library is shut down? You can read books online!
You’ll find a wide range of books from all genres available through Amazon, but also Barnes and Noble. Google Play is the place to go for Android users, and Apple Books has you covered if you’re an iOS fan. You might want to sign up with a service like Audible if you like audiobooks.
The world might not be the same as it was back in January and February. However, that doesn’t mean you completely lack any form of human connection. There are plenty of ways to reconnect with family members and friends, tools for work productivity and collaboration, and ways to improve your physical and mental health, all while remaining safely socially distant.