While this past year has been challenging for everyone in different ways, one thing that has been consistent for all is the lack of being able to connect with friends and family like we used to. It’s easy to feel lonely and disconnected during this time, so we compiled a list of a few ways to stay connected with those you love until we can safely meet up again in person!

1. Schedule Video Calls
This one is easy: schedule a video call with a friend or family member. Getting on the phone to talk is great, but being able to meet virtually face-to-face is a fantastic way to connect! For many of us, it’s been nearly a year since being able to see our loved ones in person…so being able to see them (even on a screen) is a great solution. And, while you’re at it, take the 60-second hug challenge and give your loved one a virtual hug through the screen!

2. Organize Safe Meet-Ups
If the weather is nice, have a socially distanced meet-up in your driveway. Have everyone bring their favorite drink or snack for themselves, a lawn chair, and enjoy each other’s company from a safe distance of at least 6 feet. You can even have a theme to keep things interesting (ex. everyone wears a pair of wacky socks).

3. Join An Online Club
Whether it’s a book club, chess club, or something else entirely, take advantage of the digital age and join a local or national online club! Connect over a common interest and exchange fun conversation and dialogue through their online discussion boards.

4. Take A Virtual Exercise Class
We all know that exercise boosts endorphins and can positively affect our mood. Many exercise studios, local and non-local, are offering free or discounted online classes to help people at home stay active. Text a friend and see if they want to “join you” for a virtual class!

5. Write Letters
This one requires a little patience, but is definitely worth it! Become pen pals with a friend or family member. Whether it’s weekly or monthly letters, commit to writing each other and get excited when the happy mail is delivered to your mailbox!

While being at home presents its own set of challenges for staying connected with others, it’s not impossible. It just takes a little creativity! Not only is it important for your relationships, but your mental health as well. Embrace this temporary challenge of distance and communicate with your friends and family in a new and exciting way!