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Whether you’re locked at home with five other family members or you live alone or with some roommates – these are tough times. Even removing the social interaction that we took for granted – seeing classmates in the halls, friends after school or at lunchtime, teachers in the classroom or the other random people that were just extras in our lives – can be a lonely, boring and eerie feeling.Girl on cell phone

What Does it Mean to Connect?

Google defines connect as an adjective that means “bring together or into contact so that a real or notional link is established.” Connection can be a texting conversation between two people talking about their favorite streaming series. Connection can be a video call about the deep things that matter the most to those people. Connection can happen with the phone and it can happen with the heart.

Connecting to Fight Loneliness

Connection with others is a crucial part of life and an important factor in mental health. Loneliness has already been an epidemic in America long before COVID-19 interrupted our lives and shut us into our prospective homes. Psychology Today says: “Loneliness is commonly correlated with mental health concerns such as anxietydepression, and suicidality. Similarly, loneliness is often associated with poor coping mechanisms, such as compulsive technology use, smoking, and self-harm.”

Thriveworks, an online mental health hub says:

… spending time and connecting with others can also:

  • Inspire and motivate
  • Build self-esteem
  • Teach empathy and acceptance
  • Create a sense of valued self
  • Reinforce a sense of identity
  • Increase perception of meaning
  • Decrease stress levels.

So, let’s up our connecting game! What can we do to make the most of our time in quarantine and still connect with other humans?

Spending Time with the People in Your House

Assuming you don’t live alone – there are other people in your house! Real, live humans who are struggling during this unique time too. Playing board or card games, having movie marathons, going for bike rides, doing crafts or building a garden together are simple ways to spend time with others – and a great way to connect.

Did you know that your parents or guardians existed before you came around? Chances are they’ve had some really interesting experiences that you haven’t heard about yet. Try asking some of these 100 Getting to Know You Questions to your parents, siblings or friends. Getting to know people on a deeper level is a great way to make real connection.

The Phone Function of Your Phone

Did you know that your phone can call people? That you can hear the other person’s voice, and they can hear your voice in real time? Crazy but true! Actually, when the original phone was invented – that’s what it was used for.

Real conversations, where both people can talk back and forth and respond in the moment – can be much more fulfilling and connecting than text messaging.

Video Chat Apps

I’m sure all you iPhone users already know about the extremely popular FaceTime app that allows users to video call one another. Newer iPhones can also do group FaceTime with many users on the same call.

WhatsApp is an App for Android or iPhone users that allows for text, voice messages, voice and video calls, sharing of images and more. WhatsApp allows up to 16 people to video chat at the same time.

Google Hangouts, Skype and Facebook Messenger also allow you to do text or video chats with two or more people.

What about playing some games over the video chats? Add your own Pictionary, Two Truths and a Lie, Charades or others to add a fun element with your friends and families over video chat. You can play them in person if they’re in your same house!

Houseparty App

Houseparty is a new video chat gaming app that is picking up popularity during lockdown and “shelter in place” times. With this app you can play games like Heads Up, Trivia, Quick Draw and Chips and Guac (similar idea to Apples to Apples) with your friends over a video chat. You can even send “facemails” which are little video clips that your friends will see when they open their app.

Let’s Go Connect

We’ve all been struggling with feelings of isolation, loneliness, and lack of control in our lives. If you’re feeling isolated and unhappy to be stuck at home, be aware that everyone is feeling that way. Work on sparking a connection with your parents, grandparents, siblings, and neighbors. They will be grateful for it and you will too.

With these new ideas for connecting, you can spark joy, connection and happiness in your life and others – whether they’re around you, across town or far away.