If you’re an extrovert who feeds on social interaction but suddenly finds yourself on a self-quarantine in the wake of COVID-19, it can feel, well, isolating. But more than simply being alone, you’ve also lost most of the activities that help you feel connected.
This can be an especially trying time as an early-stage startup founder since it’s often your social interactions that keep you balanced through the madness of company building. If you’re feeling isolated, check out these tips and tricks to help keep the balance in your life.
Never eat alone
Regardless of what you use for video chat, you can do two amazing things with it when you’re alone:
- Virtual cooking or cooking class
- Meals with friends
Don’t be afraid to turn on the video while you’re boiling the pasta or creating some avant-garde culinary gem from your overstocked cupboards. And when it’s all done, enjoy the fruits of your labor with a video dinner date.
Dance it out… virtually
Two technologies come together seamlessly to bring you the virtual dance party: Zoom and Twitch.
Get your webcam or phone ready. Find your favorite music on Twitch while streaming your actual dance moves via Zoom. One major benefit of a virtual dance party is that you can listen to music at the volume you want in the comfort of your own home. Bonus points for themed outfits.
Get your virtual party on
While virtual parties may not be quite as much fun as in-person parties, you can make them fun (and laugh at the awkwardness of it all).
Some things to try:
- Video parties where you’re all talking and socializing through video chat.
- Video happy hours. It’s 5 o’clock somewhere.
- Watch movies or shows together with video chat on for the feeling that you’re in the same room.
- If your birthday is coming up, like me, this doesn’t mean you have to forgo a birthday party. Have a party over zoom instead! Pop a bottle of champagne, put on a fun outfit and celebrate with everyone over video in the comfort of your own homes. Think of fun silly virtual gifts to share like a PowerPoint presentation about a friend, a personal quick video about the person or silly personalized GIFs. Bonus points if you get a card or gift in the mail before their actual birthday (and sanitize before opening).
Even if you don’t own a Peloton (or don’t feel like making one), you can still get your sweat on virtually.
There are two main ways to do this:
- Do an online workout/class from home. Many gyms now offer online versions of their classes (check if yours does!). If not, you can find P90X, Insanity, and other workout videos all over YouTube.
- Don’t belong to a gym? Find a workout to follow (such as from the Just Dance app or Yoga International).
Schedule regular check-ins
With technology, being alone doesn’t need to mean being isolated. Book regular check-ins with friends and family. Only difference? Use video instead of text or a regular call.
You can also schedule / plan for regular “how are you?” check-ins with other people who may live home alone. Sometimes, people just want to be asked if they are doing ok and know someone is there for them (you can be that person, too).
PS — this includes your colleagues as well! Get your digital water cooler talk on using tools like Touchbase. Just because you’re remote doesn’t mean you can’t catch up on life just like you used to.
Go outside (at a safe distance)!
Just for the record: if you are displaying any symptoms of COVID-19 (the primary three are: difficulty breathing, fever, and dry cough), STAY THE F — — HOME and take care of yourself.
But if you’re healthy and are self-quarantining, you can still go outside. The key is to practice your #socialdistancing by not getting too close to people. Staying 6 ft away from people doesn’t mean you can’t talk to them. Put in your headphones, make a call and walk and talk together, just don’t touch anyone or anything (especially your face) until you get home and wash your hands.
Have a laugh
Most COVID-19 news is doomsday: New infections! Deaths! Quarantine! While this pandemic is absolutely dire for many and should be taken seriously, you can also have some fun with it during self-isolation.
Set up a Slack channel, join a COVID-19 meme-stash Facebook group or make one with your friends. Have a laugh at COVID’s expense. You deserve it.
Whether digital versions or physical copies, we all have books we’ve been meaning to crack open but haven’t had the time. Well… nows the time! Take a time out from social media and the news frenzy and catch up on that book you’ve been meaning to read!
Self-quarantine is a great opportunity to either learn a new skill / brush up on your professional development or immerse yourself into a fictional world with characters and storylines to keep you company.
Social media your isolation away
Feeling isolated? Take comfort in knowing that everyone else is, too. Yes, it sounds a bit weird to say. However, a big part of feeling isolated is feeling alone in your experiences. If that feeling starts to creep up, get on social media and see that you’re truly not alone. (#socialdistancing on Twitter is pretty helpful).
There are a lot of reasons to be serious in times of COVID-19, and we don’t mean to negate the seriousness of the situation. But a big part of surviving a crisis of any kind is to find a sense of fun and creativity in spite of all of it. If you’re an extrovert, don’t abandon the social activities that make you feel fulfilled. Instead, use the amazing technological tools at your disposal to stay connected. You’ll feel better, work better, and when this is all over you’ll thank yourself.