Today is my first post in a new series, all about the different struggles we are all facing during the pandemic and subsequent UK lockdowns. I want to discuss issues such as social life, online learning, and health anxiety- and I also want to offer tips and advice to staying positive, and ways to keep looking out for ourselves during this tough time.
I understand that everyone is experiencing a myriad of issues in lockdown– and every person will have a different experience of what this pandemic means for them.
But I hope this series can offer a few ways to stay positive for the future, looking ahead to a time when restrictions are lifted and we can return to normal. This won’t be our lives forever, and I hope this series shows you that whatever you are feeling or experiencing- someone else is too!
My first post is all about social life- or during the pandemic, what social life?!
I don’t think many of us have much of a social life at the moment- and that’s okay. We’re doing our bit until cases start to go down and we can safely mix with others. But I think it’s important to acknowledge the impact this lack of socialisation can have on us all, with lots of us experiencing loneliness and loss of hope during these troubling times.
If you’re extroverted and love going out, this is a hard time- and I really miss going for nights out or even just popping to the pub for some drinks with my friend.
While at the moment it may seem like we’ll never be able to enjoy care-free parties or nights-out again- we will get there one day, and in the meantime we need to make the most of the things we do have. Most of us have phones and access to the internet, and we are lucky to have excellent ways to stay in touch with our friends and family while things get back to normal.
Below, I’ve put together 5 ways you can still be social, even during these tough times
Go For a Walk with Someone
I think we’re all a bit fed up of going for what feels like our millionth walk- but while it’s one of the only things we can do at the moment it’s a great idea to make the most of time outside. When the weather isn’t too bad, meet up with a friend for a nice walk. Spring is on its way, and hopefully we’ll be able to make the most of the nice weather as we did in the summer months.
Walking while sharing company with someone you like is bound to perk you up, and even just seeing someone’s face after spending hours alone in your house is a great way to combat loneliness.
Take Part in an Activity
Just because you and your friends are separated right now doesn’t mean you can’t still have some fun! At the start of the first lockdown, I watched a few films and series’ with my friends, and it’s lovely to watch something at the same time as someone else- it makes you feel like you’re kind of spending time together, even while you’re apart.
You could also play video games together if that’s something you enjoy, and there are plenty of apps that allow you to play games, take part in quizzes, or do an activity with others from afar.
At the start of lockdown, I read that when we video-call someone our brain has the same emotional reaction as when we see someone in person- and afterwards we feel as though we spent time with that person, even though it was just on camera. I’m not sure how true this is, but it’s always a good idea to video-call your friends once in a while.
It can be more draining and it’s definitely not the same- but catching up with someone you love even from a distance is brilliant for your socialisation and mental health.
Get Some Exercise
At the moment, we are only permitted to meet someone outside if we are exercising- so make the most of that! If you’re into fitness, you could meet up with a friend for a run, for example, or even an outdoor workout if it’s safe to do so.
Exercise is a great way to release endorphins, and it can be great for your mental (and physical) health. Make sure to involve your friend next time you want to exercise, and you’ll hopefully feel a bit more “normal”.
Host a Zoom Party
I think we’ve all had enough of Zoom parties and quizzes, but they can be a great way to connect with others. I think one of the things I miss most about meeting friends is the atmosphere- it’s about the ritual of getting ready and going to a pub atmosphere.
So try and recreate that online. Take some time getting ready for any “parties” and invite quite a few people along for few drinks over Zoom, or even a pub-quiz style night that hopefully makes you feel a little more normal. It’s not the same, but it’s a great way to stay connected and distract yourself from the situation.
These ideas are not as good as in-person socialisation, but there are still great ways you can stay connected with your friends and family. I think our lives at the moment are all about feeling some semblance of normality until we can get back in the pub, restaurant, or our best friend’s house.
Stay tuned for the second post in this series, where I’ll be talking about online learning- who’s affected, how does it work, and how can you help make it slightly easier?
How are you helping your social life survive the pandemic? Do you have any creative ideas for spending time with others at a distance? What’s your favourite thing to do with your friends in normal times?
Let me know all your thoughts in the comments below 🙂
Happy reading x