Practice Physical Distancing Not Social Distancing
Physical distancing is a necessary measure that we all need to take seriously in order to tackle the spread of Covid-19. At the moment, neither events are allowed nor public gatherings, so we all need to do our part and #StayatHome!
Nevertheless, some of us have special occasions coming up, for example a best buddy’s birthday, your parents’ anniversary, a promotion, a celebration. Anything at all! For us social animals this is unfortunately not a time to be holding events. Do not fret! There are still fun ways to get together with friends and family from a distance and from the safety of your home.
Here are some ideas for beating the loneliness blues and keeping morale up, for us, our friends and our families:
1. Organise digital games-nights
Why play alone on our phone, when we can play online with friends?
Photo by Afif Kusuma
Over the weekend, I had 2 virtual games nights, each with a different group of friends. Both times we agreed a time to begin the video conference call and then we played games together online. Simple! Easy to set up too!
One great plus point about virtual games nights is that you can have them with friends all over the world. The first group of friends was a combination of friends based in Cyprus and South Africa. Now these 2 countries are in the same time zone so scheduling was easy. Of course, if you’re planning your games night with friends across different time zones, you have to factor in the time difference. I like to use timezoneconverterapp.com which makes it super easy to work it all out. Just add everyone’s nearest city, drag the slider to your target time and boom!
We set up the conference call via Zoom, a cloud platform for video and audio conferencing. Even though it took a little time to set up the conference platform and the games for everyone, it wasn’t tragic; it’s not like we had somewhere else to go! ;) Overall, it worked really well. We all used different devices, like for example our TV screens, laptops, mobile phones and tablets. We were all able to connect the video call on a screen allowing us all to see each other in real time, check each other’s facial expressions and refer directly to each other.
We played 2 games: Scribbl.io which is like a cross between Pictionary and Hangman, and Fibbage, a great game for finding out who’s the best bluffer! The sheer pleasure I had when the others bought into my utter fabrications is priceless! Both of the games were lots of fun and there was heaps of laughter. Scribbl.io is a free game and Fibbage is paid for.
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The following evening, I had a games night with a different group of friends. We were all in Cyprus, but indifferent towns, Nicosia and Larnaca. This time, we used Messenger for the group video call and our laptops and tablets for playing the game.
We played Tokaido on the Board Game Arena (BGA) platform. Due to the excessive demand on the game platform, as millions of people stay at home these days looking for ways to entertain themselves, you may not be able to sign up or sign in for a little while. At the time of writing this blog the BGA platform is able to take in 14000 users. In our case, we had to wait about 10 minutes and after multiple attempts we were able to sign in.
On both games nights, everyone taking part agreed that it was great fun and that we would repeat this regularly, during the coronavirus restrictions.
Keep in mind that you don’t need to be an expert to any of the above games. Actually, you don’t need to know how to play them. It’s part of the fun of trying out a new game! If one person knows the game, then just get them to explain the rules to everyone. If not, just read the rules of each game together online and just have a go at it. You’ll be playing away in no time.
2. Organise digital social gatherings
Another fantastic way of socialising is to invite your friends for a virtual brunch, coffee, drinks, cocktails or dinner. Whatever tickles your fancy is totally acceptable here.
Last Sunday, I invited a bunch of friends for brunch. No, not at my place (hello! #Covid19)! Instead, I invited everyone for brunch at their own place!
I already had a group set up in Messenger with this specific group of friends, from when I had invited them to a theme party back in February (which we had before the term “self-isolating” had even entered our vocabularies), so it was easy to just send 1 message to everyone.
This is what the invitation message said:
I then asked them to let me know who’s joining. I created a new Messenger group with those who RSVPed, so that I can easily start a video call from within the group. Sure enough, we all prepared our brunch, teas, coffees and by 11:30 we sat on our tables, in our own houses and placed the call. We were able to look at each other, catch up on all the latest, whilst eating away. Later on, we started fooling around with Messenger’s masks and filters and started playing games with Messenger’s Activities too. Here’s a screenshot of the end result:
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You can keep it as civil or as silly as you like. You can all dress up, or you can play silly activity games on Messenger together, like for example, who eats the most virtual burgers 🍔! It’s up to you entirely :)