I try to avoid cliches, but “life comes at you fast” has certainly felt accurate recently.  At the start of March, I was planning to be on vacation in New Orleans with over a dozen of childhood friends. Fast forward and now I am on my second week of “social distancing,” where I have only left my house to go for a jog or an essential grocery store trip.

Professionally, I work insurance sales, so from sunrise to sunset, my calendar is filled with phone calls, in-person meetings, networking and events.  Social interaction is the cornerstone of my profession. So wiping my calendar filled with appointments and engagements completely clean was an adjustment.  When I said earlier that “life comes at you fast,” I also can say week one of “social distancing” was arguably the slowest week of my life.

This current pandemic has brought uncertainty and discomfort.  Unlike past major national events, like 9/11 or even the recession of 2008, we could go home and hug our loved ones or meet friends to wind down at a local tavern.    Now, our general actions of comfort and mourning are actually discouraged, for the betterment, safety and precaution of everyone’s health.

With no exceptions, everyone has been affected by the current events.  For most of us, we depend on social interactions with family, friends and loved ones to help us get through difficult times.  We also need to vary how we can stay engaged and uplifted. Below are some ideas to not only stay in touch, but make things fun during uneasy times.

Group “Outings”

By now, I’m sure you’re included in “group chats” with friends or family and have utilized “FaceTime” to take conversations beyond a text or phone call.

Take it up a step with your chats and organize a dinner or happy hour, where everyone puts together their preferred meal and beverage of choice and connect via a FaceTime like service.

At first it may seem a little silly, but quickly the conversation can pick up just like you were together in person and you’ll find yourself with some much needed laughter and chatter.

Call That One Friend You’ve Been Meaning to Catch Up With

We all have these types of situations.  That one friend you’ve been meaning to call, but never seem to get around to make the dial.  People are busy. Perhaps time zones or work schedules make it difficult. It’s ok, it happens.

Well, most likely, they too are working from home and have some extra time.  Send that friend a text and ask when they are free, follow-up accordingly and make the call.  You’ll be glad you did before life once again becomes too busy.

Make a Game or Bracket

One of my favorite times of the year is March Madness.  Millions of Americans gather to fill out a bracket. With no college basketball to follow, organize with your friends and family a different type of bracket everyone can vote and participate.  My friends and I are currently doing a “top local pizza” bracket. I’ve also seen families use brackets as a way to select a movie or TV show to watch. There are also websites where you can have an exclusive poker or card game with your friends.

Live Stream a Performance

I personally love live music and a good dance party.  With that no longer a feasible option for the near future, I’m missing out on some good times.  Well, many musicians and DJs are doing their best to fill that void by live streaming their performances and playlists.  Here in Central Ohio, the website Columbus Alive has done a good job of updating when local artists are putting on performances that people can view on-line. I wouldn’t be surprised if we begin to see some popular national acts follow suit.

During difficult times, we find our human behaviors having to adapt and make the most of situations.  Hopefully these suggestions can help you and your social groups make it through together.