By Corey Lewis, CPT, CSCS
COVID-19 has changed the world, and these changes and the new rules we live by will likely be in place for some time to come. It’s a challenge, to say the least. For many, being socially distant has negatively affected their social health. They may begin to feel depressed or they might feel their stress levels beginning to rise. Fortunately, there are ways to continue to stay socially active while still being safe.
To maintain safety and to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, you must follow the CDC guidelines, and you must keep apprised of any new rules or requirements in your local area.
Below are some of the many ways that you can continue to stay socially active and healthy even during the pandemic. There are fun things to do at home and things to do when you are out and practicing the proper safety tips.
A large number of people are starting to feel cooped up in their homes. The place can begin to feel a lot smaller when there is nowhere to go. When others are living in the home, whether family or roommates, even the littlest things can sometimes lead to arguments. Sometimes, emotional health means giving one another some added space or even getting out of the home together to enjoy an activity outside. As long as you maintain your distance from people who do not live in your household, you keep your risks low.
Some of the best types of activities are walking or hiking. If you want to meet up with friends and family who you don’t live with, it’s possible, but you will want to follow the same safety guidelines as elsewhere. Namely, you want to stay at least six feet apart from one another and you want to wear masks. You will still be close enough that you can talk and see one another and get that feeling of social engagement that you miss.
Another option for physical activity while social distancing is through the web. Consider getting together online with some of your friends who enjoy fitness, for example. You can all work out together online. You could grab your yoga mat, and all go through a routine. There are plenty of options.
Of course, you don’t need to go outside to enjoy better social health during these times. The internet has made it possible to connect with people from all around the world. There are many hobbies that you can learn or get back to that are done completely online.
For example, there are many online video games where you can meet with your friends and play a few rounds or work together in a cooperative game while talking and enjoying one another’s company. You can do this all from the safety and comfort of your own home.
Another social hobby that can be done online that you might not have ever considered is roleplaying games. In recent years, games like Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, Vampire: The Masquerade, Cyberpunk, Star Wars, Star Trek, and more have found renewed interest because of the power of the internet. It’s easier than ever today to find people online who want to play, as well as people you already know who might be interested. Some tools help to make online play easier, such as Roll20 and DND Beyond.
If you’ve never played before and assumed these are just weird games that kids play in their basement, think again. After all, Joe Manganiello, Khary Payton, The Big Show, and plenty of others you wouldn’t expect love this hobby. Check out a few online videos and learn more about some of the personalities in this field such as B. Dave Walters, Krystina Arielle, Matthew Mercer, and more. You might just find that getting into your imagination helps you get “outside” in a virtual way that’s unlike any other.
Some videos to check out include Rivals of Waterdeep, Critical Role, and L.A. By Night. Not only are they great stories to watch, but they can give you some basic insight into how the games can be run. It might be just the inspiration you need to find the right friends and embark on some dice rolling adventures of your own.
Perhaps you enjoy reading. You might want to look for some online book clubs that you can join or start one of your own. You could do the same thing with films. Once you have read the book or watched the movie, get together with people on Zoom or a similar platform, so you can discuss it. There are plenty of ways to nurture your social health while social distancing. You don’t have to be alone in this.
During this pandemic, it can often seem like one day simply rolls right into the other, and before you know it, several weeks have passed. If you have a phone, it should be easy to stay in touch with your loved ones. Communication is important, and a quick call or text message conversation to see how they are doing can help lift your spirits and theirs.
As you can see, there are many ways you can stay connected while still maintaining safety. The pandemic is a massive problem right now, but there are ways that you can still improve and maintain your emotional health even while practicing social distancing. To ensure you are at your best, mentally and physically, consult the Wellness Wheel and follow some simple but effective tips that can keep you feeling as good as possible despite the pandemic. We know it’s tough, but we also know that you can make it through.