A guide to staying connected during these trying times

As Hamilton moves into the heart of the winter months and a stricter lockdown removes the option to have socially-distant visits or other outdoor activities, many are looking for new ways to stay connected with loved ones.

Over the break, my siblings and I spent a lot of time thinking about other ways we could safely spend with our loved ones, beyond the typical Zoom call. Below are a few fun activities that we came up with that will hopefully help us all get through these next few difficult weeks.

BOOK CLUBS AND EXCHANGES

Many book clubs have moved online over the last few months, while new ones have also been popping up. If you don’t want to join an established book club, you could also start your own with your family or friends, giving you both something to do and talk about the next time you chat.

Similarly, you could also participate in a book exchange with a loved one. You each send the other a book that you’ve enjoyed recently. To make it more personal, you could maybe include some notes inside sharing well wishes or your thoughts on the story. 

Additionally, this kind of exchange could work for almost anything else that you and your loved ones enjoy as well, such as music, podcasts and recipes. 

GAMES

Online games, such as Among Us and Codenames, have become incredibly popular over the last year. Implementing a game night, or even perhaps a tournament can be a nice alternative to the typical Zoom call as well as something a bit more light-hearted and fun.

Trivia nights can be fun as well. There also a number of trivia games that you could play over Zoom, or you could create your own tailored to the interests of you and your loved ones!

LEARN SOMETHING NEW

Many have used their new-found time during the pandemic to learn new skills, but why not do this with a loved one? Maybe your friend is excellent at coding, or your grandmother is an amazing knitter and you’ve always wanted to learn. You could each teach one another something or learn something entirely new together! 

Many local libraries offer resources for learning a variety of skills. Depending on the skill in question there are also a number of specific resources readily available online. Some local crafting businesses, such as Handknit Yarn Studio offer resources and tutorials on their websites as well.

Language learning especially can be a great option as it requires minimal tools and you’re able to practice together.

PEN PALS

Change up the method of staying in touch! Zoom calls can become draining after a while and most everyone loves to receive letters.

Or instead of sending letters, send postcards either through a service such as Postcards From Anywhere or by creating your own using online templates. While the former can make a great talking point, the latter can be especially nice for grandparents and far away relatives who may not have any recent photos of you. 

SHARE A MEAL

Order some food, potentially from the same restaurant, and eat together. As well, some local businesses, like Tea Amo, offer small platters or “lunchboxes” that can be ordered ahead of time and then enjoyed together during a call.

You could also cook or bake something together over a call. You could each make your favourite dishes or exchange recipes. Maybe try teaching a friend to make one of your favourite desserts or ask your grandmother to teach you some family recipes.

Regardless, whatever ways you find to keep connections with loved ones, be creative and considerate. Just as much as you think about things that you enjoyed together before the pandemic, try to think about new things as well. It won’t necessarily be the same as before but that doesn’t mean that it can’t still be something good.

Image courtesy of Graphic by Esra Rakab

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