With social distancing measures in place, it can be easy to slip into loneliness. It’s difficult to be apart from your loved ones, especially when you’re also experiencing health or financial anxiety and balancing extracurricular responsibilities.
Now more than ever, it’s important to stay in touch with your support systems, no matter the distance. Here are some ideas for how to bridge the gap.
Share Creative Pursuits
Lots of people are using self-isolation as an opportunity to delve into their creative side, whether that be through cooking, reading, or teaching themselves new things. Get your friends involved! Swap recipes and rate each other’s dishes, share book recommendations and make collaborative playlists so you can hear what songs your friends have been listening to on repeat.
Games are a fun way to keep laughing, even if you can’t be together. Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, Minecraft, Cards Against Humanity, Uno and other server-based, online gaming services are here to rescue your Saturday night plans! You could also have a Powerpoint Night: each friend is randomly given a topic that they make a five minute Google Slides presentation on, and then you all present on Zoom.
Netflix offers an extension called “Netflix Party,” which allows you to sync up with your friends’ shows and movies so you can watch them together and chat. Don’t have Netflix? Try Kast, Discord or Watch2Gether. Keep in mind that you also have access to Kanopy, a video streaming service, through your Mercer credentials!
Of course, it’s essential to keep up with your best friends while we are self-isolating, but don’t let other groups you’re involved in fall to the wayside. Have video chat coffee or lunch dates with those friends you usually catch up with weekly, host Zoom study sessions, and join in on virtual club meetings if the organizations you are part of are holding them.
If your heart misses your loved ones too much to settle for a text and you’re too exhausted from all-day virtual classes for a call, sit down and write some old-fashioned letters. Include the songs you’ve discovered, a small art piece, your current favorite tea — whatever makes you think of them. Even if you choose not to use the postal system right now, it’ll be a heartfelt gift to receive after the time for self-isolating has passed.
Plan for brighter days! Create a collaborative list of things you and your friends want to do when you can see each other again. Remember that things won’t always be this gray, and you will get through.
Remember, also, as you’re finding ways to keep in touch with people, to make time for your relationship with yourself. With time slowed-down, take the chance to get to know and nurture yourself. Treasure the rare opportunity to be alone with your thoughts for a little while. Then go forth and connect with your friends!
Ivy Marie Clarke ‘22 is an English literature and creative writing double major, double minoring in art and women’s and gender studies. She has served as editor of the Arts & Culture section of The Cluster for the last two years. She also interns with Macon Magazine and Mercer University Press and edits for The Dulcimer. She also enjoys drinking coffee and writing poetry.