By Natasha Rasaratnam
2020 has been a year of unexpected challenges. The way we live has had to change including the way we connect and keep in touch. Whilst physically apart, it’s harder to check in on friends and that’s why R U OK day this year is more important than ever. It’s a reminder to look out for friends especially during these isolating times.
It can be difficult to start the conversation, but sometimes it’s the comfort and knowledge that someone is willing to listen that might be the nudge someone needs to open up and seek help. After all, a conversation can change a life. For more information about how to start a conversation, click here.
In the spirit of checking in on our friends this R U OK Day, here are 10 ways to stay connected whilst apart:
Write a letter
Although this year has called for an increased use of technology, sometimes a return to old-fashioned roots can be the refreshing change that we all need. A handwritten letter is a touching thought and the surprise of receiving something in the mail, could be the ‘pick me up’ a friend may need.
This Google Chrome extension has single-handedly entertained many late-night catchups with friends. It also has a chat function so that you can discuss your favourite shows or movies as you watch them simultaneously together. You can download the extension here.
These games are great for keeping in touch with multiple friends and are most effective with at least 4 people. Here are some links to kick-start your games night:
Collaborate on a Spotify playlist
Similar to the mixtapes that we could gift our friends with our favourite songs, Spotify playlists can also be a thoughtful way of staying connected through a mutual love of music. You can create a playlist full of recommendations or meaningful songs as a sentimental gift.
Start a book club
A bit old-fashioned, I know, but reading together can be both a healing and motivating experience. Pick a book, read through it together or by yourself and then come together to discuss. You can even make it a little fancy over a virtual afternoon tea!
Start a craft together
It can be difficult to start something new alone, so why not do it with a friend. It can range from knitting to painting to gardening. Set a goal, video call through the process, and share your final product. Maybe you can even exchange your work once lockdown is over.
Stay active together! It can be difficult to stick to a new exercise routine by yourself. Getting a virtual gym buddy might just be the motivation we all need.
You can try a 2 week challenge, or workout to your favourite songs.
Livestream baking session
After exercising, you probably would have worked up an appetite. Treat yourself with a fun baking session. Find a recipe, share it, and bake together over a video call. The best thing is at the end, you will both have a delicious treat to feast on.
Here are some baking blogs to kickstart your sugar high:
Send a care package
A personalised care package can be just the ‘pick me up’ a friend is looking for. It doesn’t have to be anything too fancy but some chocolate, tea and a book can go a long way. There are a lot of websites with different care packages that are quite expensive. A personalised care package is not only cheaper but a lot more meaningful.
Check out suggestions of what to include here.
It seems like it’ll be a while till we can all enjoy a meal out together so why not have a virtual dinner date. It’s not the same experience but why not make it extra-special by surprising your friend with UberEats!
Hopefully the above suggestions will bring some fun and healing to your day! These activities might also be a good time to check in on friends and ask the question “R U OK?”. In these uncertain times, remember to look out for each other and take care of yourself!