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Sometimes, we all have to make adjustments to what standard day-to-day life may feel like—many of us changing our statuses to WFH indefinitely, keeping to shelter-in-place (thanks COVID-19), staying under mandatory lockdown, and spending more time nurturing a friendship digitally versus IRL. While working to protect your physical well-being, you may also be searching for ways to maintain social wellness (despite the plant you talk to providing decent friendship.) Although we aren’t keeping regular office schedules, scheduling in-person happy hours with a best friend, or able to maintain that IRL relationship feel, we can still find many ways to stay connected to our loved ones, build a stronger friendship, and support one another throughout this time. We’ve rounded up a list of our favorite ideas to get you started!
Whether you live with your parents, spouse, significant other, or roommates, you may feel a little worried about getting sick of them in such tight quarters. Look at this time as an opportunity to connect with them in a way you may not usually get to. Learn more about their typical workday and what goes on in their lives when you’re usually apart. Go on your lunch breaks at the same time so you can chat before retreating to your individual rooms to work. Try holding your own group fitness class. Find a new series to binge-watch together for that "I'm not crying, you're crying," personal touch. Kick it old school and work on some puzzles or play board games. The opportunities for a new friendship are endless. And if you don’t have a human housemate to talk to, spend some quality time with your pets! We’re sure they appreciate your extra hours at home.
If you live alone or want to spend quality time with a person outside of your housemates and get in touch with those long-distance friends, try taking your next hangout online. You can schedule a dinner (think of it as a potluck—everyone cooks, but you only eat what you prepared). Sit at the table and turn on your webcam for that face-to-face feel, so you can all share a meal (almost) IRL. Don’t feel like chewing into the mic? Just have everyone sip on some wine and call it a happy hour! Want to make it even more entertaining? Try playing games or sharing stories, anything you’d usually do if you were together in person (thanks, technology!).
Writing is both an art form and a means of expression in life. Even if you don’t think you’re a “good writer,” you should never be intimidated to put your thoughts on paper. If you don’t want your work to be seen by others, you can write to your past self, your future self, or anything in between. Although it’s a solitary act, writing is still communicating and will give you an outlet for sharing ideas, thoughts, and feelings, even if it’s just with yourself as a means to talk internally.
If you’d rather have a small audience for your writing, try sending letters or emails to your loved ones. Friendship relies so much on that personal touch we often forget in life with so much digital influence. Right now, many people are feeling afraid and experiencing a loss of control, and looking for any semblance of a normal relationship. A comforting note from a friend or family member may be exactly what they need. Plus, getting a response from them in your inbox will be equally exciting!
If you want to take it one step further and share your thoughts with the world, try blogging or writing a book. Maybe this is something you’ve always wanted to do but never had time to pursue. There are plenty of blogging sites online (Squarespace, WordPress, Wix, etc.) where you can create a space to share your work. And for shorter form writing, you can even leverage social media as a sharing platform.
If you routinely have lunch or coffee with the same people at work, there’s no need to stop just because you’re remote now. Schedule virtual video calls as you would for regular meetings at work during your lunch or coffee hour and enjoy each other’s company. Not only will this help you maintain relationships with coworkers, but it will keep you in a steady routine and help you adjust to your new WFH status.
I’m sure many of you have already been using this time as an opportunity to binge all the shows and movies you just didn’t have time for before. But there’s something a little more fun about watching with friends. Trying to watch someone else’s TV over FaceTime doesn’t work out too well (trust me, I tried watching The Bachelor this way in college when I didn’t have cable). But luckily, there’s a super cool Chrome extension called Netflix Party, where you can play a show at the same time as your friends and discuss it in a little chat box in real-time!
Hint: If you’re a little burnt out on TV, you could also consider hosting a virtual book club!
If you’re a fan of multiplayer video games (or even if you’re not), now might be the time to hop on and start gaming. Whether you’re on an Xbox with a headset, GamePigeon on your iPhone, or even playing checkers over FaceTime, there are tons of options for playing games with your friends! Think back to your favorite gaming app trend (remember Words with Friends and Draw Something?!) and tell your friends to reignite the fun—because nothing kills time like a little friendly competition.
As we’re all adjusting to this new reality, we must remember to stay connected to those we love and keep in mind that we’re all in this together. So, get creative! These tips are just to get you started.
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Ah, 2020—the year that truly put our sanity to the test. On top of that, something that most people use to navigate through a tough time has essentially been stripped away from us—our normal workout routines. I don’t know about you, but even skipping a week at the gym can send me into a tailspin. But several months of sheltering in place and being forced to adapt to this new normal?
That’s a different story.
While I think we can all say we’re grateful that fitness studios were quick to offer virtual classes when COVID-19 hit—there is something about constantly working out by ourselves that may trigger some of us to hit pause on our workout routines and start turning towards less robust habits. *Reluctantly raises hand*
The other day I came across a stat that really set off some alarms. According to a recent study, Americans are spending an additional two hours each day on their couch since March 2020. As of recently, I can say I’m totally guilty of a little too much R&R. While an evening of Netflix and wine once sounded like heaven on earth for most of us, I think it’s safe to say the repetition of this is starting to get kind of old. Also, Schitt’s Creek is over now, so I really don’t have any excuse to not dedicate my free time to jumping back into my at-home workouts.
I started pondering what made dial back my fitness routine in the first place? Was it a lack of motivation? No, not really. Screen fatigue? I think my Netflix history outlined above would tell you that’s a solid ‘no.’ Then it hit me—the thing that motivated me to stay on top of my fitness goals was being around other people with the same goals. Pre-COVID, going to my favorite spin studio and the local yoga hot spot was how I typically spent my social hour during the workweek. I realized the best way to amp up my at-home workout routine was to re-connect with my workout buddies and start doing virtual classes together to create that sense of community I craved.
If you’re also experiencing some form of live stream lull when it comes to your workouts, then getting a virtual workout buddy may be exactly what you need. Here’s why:
Just like in-person workouts, making plans to sweat it out with one of your friends motivates you to show up and be your best self. According to the Mindbody Wellness Index, 25% of the folks we surveyed said they found it difficult to hold themselves accountable to their workout goals on their own—and an additional 20% of people said a lack of support was responsible for missed workouts.
Everybody enjoys a little friendly competition, right? Maybe you have a friend who is a powerhouse at virtual HIIT—try signing up for a class with them to help you take your workout to a whole new level.
Getting a workout sesh in with a friend is the perfect time to try a new exercise such as virtual yoga or virtual barre. Trying something new can be scary—I get it. But by trying a new type of exercise with a friend, you can both give each other a confidence boost by acting as each other’s personal hype man.
Look, we’re all craving human interaction these days—and I know I’m not the only one who is missing weekly happy hours with friends. Luckily, fitness studios are getting creative with their virtual offerings post-workout, too! When we asked members of our MindbodyOne Community how they are keeping things interesting for their students in the virtual space, they said they are hosting monthly virtual wine dates to share fitness stories and personal victories. Not only do you get to drink wine, but you and your buddy get to meet other like-minded people at the same time.
As 2020 winds down (thank goodness), you have a unique opportunity to reconnect with your friends and take your workout sessions to the next level with a virtual workout buddy. So, why not start now? Book a virtual fitness class and encourage your friends to show up for you and themselves today.