Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re unable to spend time with family and friends physically. For many of us, self-isolation isn’t easy. But thankfully, these practices don’t have to be a burden. Instead, we can talk to our loved ones online, all while we participate in fun activities.

Take a look at these ways to connect through technology.

Different Online Video Platforms to Try

Before you set up a hang out session, you’ll want to explore your video chat options. As of late, many individuals and businesses have started to use a selection of services for various reasons. Here’s a list of the most popular free platforms so that you can explore your options.

  • Zoom – Zoom has quickly become the most downloaded free app in the Apple Store as it’s a great way to connect with loved ones while you’re apart. The free version allows meetings of up to 100 people and lets users touch up their appearance and enhance their chat with custom backgrounds. Zoom works across multiple devices, but is best reserved for shorter meetings, as it will time out after 40 minutes.
  • Google Hangouts– This option works well for anyone who uses Gmail. You can type out messages to groups of up to 100 people, or choose to hop onto a video call with up to 10 people. Feel free to use your phone or laptop, as it works across devices.
  • Facebook Messenger– Like millions of others, you’re probably on Facebook – which makes video communication super simple. You can use this platform to connect with up to 50 other users at a time.
  • Skype– Everyone knows about Skype, so it’s a terrific choice for family members who don’t want to download any new apps. This platform supports up to 50 people on a single call.
  • FaceTime– If you’re an Apple user, FaceTime seems like an obvious choice. It’s easy to access and navigate and hosts groups of 32 people or less. That said, those capabilities only work on newer devices.

Consider who’s apart of your circle so that you can pick the most useful option for everyone. Then, you’ll be ready to dive into a ton of memorable activities.

Check out a few of these enjoyable suggestions.

1. Movie/TV Show Night

Even though you can’t host your weekly “Survivor” watch party at home, you can do so from your computer! You can use your favorite video platform to stream content from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and other major services. Feel free to choose a TV show to binge or a new film to view – how’s a romantic comedy night for an idea? Settle on a night where everyone can get together online.

You may need to install an extension, like Netflix Party, or try an app such as Discord, to share your screen correctly. Don’t forget to make snacks, either! Because your mental health could be affected by COVID-19, a light-hearted, fun-filled night works as a simple way to de-stress.

2. Coffee Date

If you’re an early riser, here’s an excellent suggestion – ask a few loved ones to log on for a coffee or brunch date. You can prepare yummy food and share a few bites as you catch up. If you don’t have a lot of time, a cup of joe works perfectly. Either way, you’ll be able to say hello before you head off to work. Plus, it’s a terrific time for grandparents to talk with their grandchildren.

3. Board Game Tournament

That’s right – you can take your Monopoly skills to the next level as you battle against your friends. You can search for web-based versions of game shows like Wheel of Fortune and Deal or No Deal. Or, break out a physical game and compete through the screen. If everyone wants to chip in to buy an online board game, platforms like Steam and Tabletopia offer dozens of favorites.

4. Masterclass

Are you a seasoned knitter? Does your wife know three languages? There’s a considerable chance that you and your family and friends all have hidden talents. So, why not organize a masterclass? Each person can arrange a session to teach a skill. Choose a day of the week and a specific time slot so that everyone’s able to block out their schedules. Then, assign dates.

One Sunday, your cousin can teach a cardio class. The next, your father can discuss his love for geology. As a result, you’ll be able to learn a ton of new information and a little more about everyone you love.

5. Dinner Party

It’s time to show off those kitchen skills through a virtual dinner party. No, you can’t serve up your favorite pot roast at home. But you can still enjoy a meal with friends by way of technology and a few simple tricks. Even though the concept may seem a bit tricky at first, you’ll be an expert soon enough.

After you send out invitations via text, you’ll want to put together a menu. Feel free to have guests make whatever they please. Or, you can seek out recipes for each person to try. So, for example, everyone would cook roasted chicken, sauteed greens and chocolate cupcakes. That way, the party feels a bit more cohesive. Don’t forget to add a few decorations to your backdrop.

Finally, don a fancy outfit and pour your favorite drink. Put on some jazz music and enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Use These Ideas to Stay in Touch

Our current situation may seem daunting, but we can manage together. Use these tips and tricks to stay connected with your loved ones.

Jennifer Landis is a mom, wife, freelance writer, and blogger at Mindfulness Mama. She enjoys yoga day, red wine, and drinking all of the tea she can find. Follow her on Twitter @JenniferELandis.





Image courtesy of JESHOOTS.COM.