6 Tips for Building Connections During the Pandemic
Staying isolated throughout the pandemic has made many of us feel disconnected from our friends, family, and community. Whether your local area doesn’t have active Covid-19 restrictions, or you’re going through lock down at home, we have advice on how you can stay connected with your community even during these tough times.
And remember, it’s important to foster community connection: social interaction reduces depression and stress, improves sleep quality, and has many incredible health benefits. There may be some tips that won’t work for your circumstances, and that’s okay—feel free to focus just on the actions that you’re able to take. Here are our 6 tips for building community connection:
1. Join an Online Discussion
What activities are you interested in? Take your hobby online and either join or start an online discussion. If you enjoy watching a specific tv show, look for a livestream discussion board where you can contribute and view commentary while the latest episode is airing. If you have a group of friends who want to watch a movie together, you can watch it together virtually and video chat while doing so. Or if you love reading, consider starting a virtual book club with people in your area. Once it’s safe to do so, you can transition to meeting in person.
2. Network on Social Media
Professional networking doesn’t have to come to a standstill during the pandemic. Connect with professionals in your area by reaching out on networking sites like LinkedIn. You can suggest having a virtual coffee meetup or a phone chat. Reach out to people who are in your area and in a similar line of work (or a line of work you’re interested in transitioning to). When you do chat with them, ask about their experiences, gather advice, and gain a connection in the process.
Many nonprofits need extra volunteers during these challenging times and have transitioned to virtual or, if in person, social distanced forms of volunteering. Research an area of interest to you and see what opportunities are available within your comfort zone. Volunteering is a great way to meet new people and to make a difference in your community. It’s also proven to relieve stress!
4. Exercise Outdoors
Most health experts recommend you physically distance about six feet, or two meters, from others. That means you can still enjoy exercising with friends outside. If you live near water, kayaking or paddle boarding can be fun, distanced activities. A simple jog through a park while maintaining enough space between each other is another alternative.
Some companies are even offering outdoor, distanced exercise classes, like yoga in a park. Research if your area has any of these services available and try them out to make new social connections while improving your health.
5. Attend Local, Virtual Events
Many in-person events are now being offered virtually. For example, authors are holding online book readings, companies are hosting professional webinars where you can pick up new skills, and even concerts are livestreaming their events. For smaller events, you may have the chance to participate and ask questions. For larger events, like concerts, gather a group of friends to video chat with throughout.
6. Interact with Your Neighbors
Have you talked to your neighbors lately? If you have a yard, consider pulling out a chair and hanging out there on a nice day while your neighbors are outside as well. It sounds simple, but it can be a convenient way to get much-needed social interaction. Offer support to your neighbors if they need it as well—if they’re less mobile than you, for instance, they may need assistance getting groceries or doing yard work. Help them now, and they’ll likely jump at the chance to support you if you’re ever in need in the future.
If you live in an apartment building, see if there’s a courtyard or rooftop communal area that you can spend time in. Start conversations with the individuals you come across there and see if you can foster connections with people who have similar interests.
How have you been staying connected with your community during the pandemic? Share with us in the comments!