Remember when we could get together with our friends for coffee and send our kids to school in the morning and go out for dinner any time we wanted? Ah, the good old days, amiright?
With our normal pack behaviors coming to a screeching halt right now, even the most introverted introverts are starting to feel panicky.
And these are likely early days in social distancing, if we look at other countries who are a few weeks ahead of us in dealing with this pandemic.
It’s never been a more important time to connect with others, to talk through our fears and worries, to ease our stress by laughing together. To feel safety in numbers.
But it’s the one thing that we’re being warned not to do.
These are scary times. And also the most incredible times: we couldn’t be more prepared for this moment in terms of staying connected, thanks to technology.
Here are some ways to stay connected while social distancing:
In preparation for this post, I reached out to my followers on social media to ask how they’re staying connected right now and the most popular answer was Facetime. Text your people and set a time to gather ‘round your Apple devices (as opposed to reaching out without warning, causing them to quickly cover their braless ta-ta’s in a panic.)
And you can loop in more than just one person (up to 32, in fact). You can even do a virtual happy hour or coffee date with a group, like my inner circle is planning to do tomorrow morning.
From boardroom meetings to virtual classrooms to physical activity workout sessions, so many meetings have been able to continue on as (semi-)normal. USA Today reported on Wednesday that Zoom has soared to the top downloaded spot on Apple iOS app chart and number six on Google’s Android chart.
Zoom lets you have up to 100 people on one virtual call.
Voxer / WhatsApp
It’s like voice mail, but you can leave messages to groups of people instead of just to individuals.
Two of my closest friends and I have used Voxer to stay in touch for the last year or so and it’s so good for our hearts. We can get everything off our chest without having any interruptions and it’s faster, easier, and has way more personality than typing out a group text.
This is an awesome way to engage with others, our girls just left a few messages to friends today. This app allows you to engage with a video that can be watched whenever the other party has a chance to watch it. Great way to engage like Facetime, but with a video that can be saved.
Remember when people called each other? Pick up that phone and call your momma! It’s also super fun to add others in, conference call-style.
Text Neighbors To Go Outside
I saw somewhere on social media yesterday where a neighborhood started a group text to say, “We’re headed out for a walk! Go out on your porch so we can say hi!”
According to virologists, physiologists, and epidemiologists contacted for this NY Times article
, it is still safe to exercise outdoors – even if your community is under a shelter-in-place order – as long as you adhere to social distancing guidelines.
Getting vitamin D is essential to mental health, and so is being able to see other human life and share a friendly wave and smile from across the front lawn.
BlogHer shared this image of info curated by twitter user @elleepiphany on apps and their user limits:
Whatever way you go about it, we need to be intentional in connecting. Now more than ever before.
Don’t forget to connect with those within your four walls.
It’s important to be intentional about those connections, too.
With colleges closed around the world, our grown-up babes have come back to the nest. They’re used to being out and about with friends and doing what they want when they want. They’re used to being holed up in their bedrooms in front of their computer.
A friend of mine posted on Facebook how they finally landed on their Plan C spring break plan, which was disappointing for them at first, but then she said,
“We have been granted the gift of time, time to be still, lots of home cooking, sunburns, belly laughter, morning runs, hearing their true hearts. I hope I never forget how grateful I am for this unexpected family time.”
For us, our 21-year-old son lives at home, but he’s usually off galavanting with his friends or back in his bedroom. This week we’ve played card games, we’ve shared throaty laughs that happen only when you’re surrounded with people who find humor in all the same idiosyncrasies, we’ve had spontaneous TV-watching time as a family, and we’ve had dinners around the table together, where we’ve talked about how crazy this whole global situation is.
This has been an opportunity to truly connect.
To share in this unimaginable time, and for us to learn from each other – from our kids just as much as they’re learning from us – how to navigate this experience together.
Photography: Amy McLaughlin Photography
Amy is the Baylor trophy wife to Dan and mommy to their 4 kids: Norah, Beckett, Rory and Eden. After moving cities every 2 years for 10 years, Amy’s family settled in Austin in 2015. She started Amy McLaughlin Photography with a passion for documenting the beauty of real life and stories that matter for families and non-profits. Her photography style is intentional and meaningful. She also part-time homeschools her kids and volunteers with a local organization that seeks to help fill the gap in parental services for families whose kids are in state custody. She enjoys small-group gatherings, espresso, good books, and yoga. And she is not one to turn down dessert.