How to stay connected, while keeping your distance

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Image shows woman with a laptop open in front of her, smiling and raising her hand as if greeting someone on the screen.

With the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic well underway, we’re being asked to step up our preventative measures in order to, once again, flatten the curve. Taking care of ourselves and finding new ways to connect with others is vital for our mental health and wellbeing during this challenging time. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Create an online club with friends and family. Whether you all read the same book, watch the same movie, or binge the same streaming program, schedule a time each week to meet online and discuss.
  • Take part in an online exercise class. The College’s Student Life team streams weekly live workouts on their Facebook page, as do some fitness centres. You can also find many options online on sites like YouTube. Plan to exercise at the same time as a workout buddy and then “meet” online afterward for a cool down and to talk about what you loved (or didn’t love) about the workout you chose.
  • Get some face time. There are a lot of options available for video chatting including FaceTime, Skype, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, WhatsApp, Facebook and more. Choose one and “meet” your friends or family members online for a chat over a coffee, tea, happy hour, or a meal.
  • Cook together. Do you have a culinary dish you have mastered and a friend or family member who’d love to learn to make it? Or maybe you’re the one looking for help with holiday baking? Use a video-conferencing app to create a virtual cooking class and whip up a delicious dish or dessert together.
  • Play online games. There are lots of apps available that let you play virtual board games, word games, or complete jigsaw puzzles with others. Or organize a weekly video-conferenced group game night and find out who is the master of Pictionary or Charades.
  • The holidays are coming! Brighten someone’s day by mailing them a card, a letter, or a homemade gift. You may be surprised how this simple act of kindness can connect you with the recipient.
  • Pick up the phone. There’s value in seeing each other through video chat, but if that’s not your thing you can still connect with others by picking up the phone. Your call to a family member, friend, or neighbour might just brighten their day, as well as yours.
  • Take a virtual walk with someone. Grab your cell phone and lace up your walking shoes (or boots!) and take a stroll around the neighbourhood while catching up with a friend.

It’s important that we follow the guidelines and orders outlined by provincial and federal authorities so we can get through this second wave of the pandemic. But remaining physically distanced does not have to mean being socially isolated. While nothing will replace face-to-face time with our loved ones, by prioritizing our relationships and finding meaningful ways to connect virtually, we can help combat feelings of isolation while remaining safe and healthy.

If you are a College of the Rockies student and you’re struggling with feeling socially isolated, the College counsellor is available for virtual appointments. The Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training’s Here2Talk free single-session service is available by app, phone, or online chat 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Download the Here2Talk app, visit here2talk.ca, or phone 1-877-857-3397 (direct: 604-642-5212, or outside of Canada: 1-604-642-5212).

Stay well.