By Casey Kirkeby, RISQ Consulting Strategy Consultant
Humans are social creatures and even the most introverted need some type of social interaction from time to time. For example, I am an extroverted person that loves to go to networking events with large groups of people and support the business that is showcasing it’s location. Any given week I will be at a fundraiser, ribbon cutting or after hours and try to attend something at least twice a week. Now with COVID-19 taking over the world we have to practice this new thing called “Social Distancing” which means exactly what the name implies.
Today is my 8-year anniversary and my wife and I are celebrating it in the comfort of our own home. We plan an outdoor ski around lunchtime, romantic snack afterwards, and a nice dinner in the evening (If we can find any food to cook from the grocery store). Thank God the kids are at Grandma’s today so I can get some work done at home too! Now that I’ve rambled on about life at home, let’s talk about how to stay productive while working at home.
1. Talk to one friend each day
Sharing experiences always helps people understand their situation better because everyone thinks and acts differently. Especially right now, I think it is important because different perspectives helps with the notion of “being heard “no matter if it is electronically or through a text. We seek commonality while feeling connected and there is no better way than taking five minutes out of your day to say hi to someone.
2. Send someone you love a handwritten letter
I know this seems silly and it’s unknown what kind of value it would create but it may brighten someone’s day when they need it the most. Grab a few at the store, print some of your computer or order a bundle from your favorite art/crafts site. Then send out to a friend, family member or even a special client.
3. Foster connection with those you’re stuck at home with
Everyone has a routine and now if you work or a stay at home parent. We now are coinciding with both in one space so we need to be effective and efficient with how we spend our time together. When you take a break from a task, go forth and do something productive together like organizing a cluttered space or put together a board game to play when you are not busy to keep the creative juices flowing. Make the most of the opportunity to spend time at home with friends or love ones by engaging with them and you choose the activity.
4. Reach out to friends who have depression or anxiety
Everyone feels some type of depression from time to time and everyone deals with it in different ways. This may be particularity troublesome for people that are more extroverted. Some folks enjoy texting over calling so just send a quick “You don’t have to respond—I just want you to know that I’m thinking about you’ is a great message.” This will help that person who feels particularity alone when it comes to social isolation.
5. Have a family member read your child a bedtime book through FaceTime
This can be fun for all ages and keeps the social interactions u when you need it. Try to incorporate a grandparent or an uncle to keep it interesting for the child when they are reading the book or if they are being read to.
6. Have a virtual watch party with friends
Looking forward to hanging with your besties and gathering at the house to binge watch some shows? Now you can all jump on a video party through Netflix called Netflix party, which gives you the ability to everyone to stream the show at the same time and conduct a virtual group chat afterwards. Hey, if you do not like this try a virtual book club with your posse instead!
7. Stream a class
Bing your favorite social activity or hobby to life with others by participation or hosting a class dedicated to cooking, knitting etc. I recommend using Zoom because it has some key features that are free and especially during this time will offer more than 40 minutes of free streaming.
Don’t have a hobby you want to teach, try teaching a fitness or yoga class virtually and socialize with the conference at4ndees at the same time.
8. Participate in an online community
I think most people have something they participate in if they find it interesting when it comes to passions and interests online so here are a few options for you to participate in that may bring you that sense of community:
• Anchorage Zen Community www.anchoragezen.com
• Community Information – Alaska Department of Commerce www.commerce.alaska.gov
• Anchorage Chamber of Commerce https://www.anchoragechamber.org/
• Alaska Municipal League | Serving Alaska’s Communities www.akml.org
• The Alaska Community Foundation: Home www.alaskacf.org
9. Learn to love solitude
The world we see is like a cloud of smoke and to see through it, we have to stop and wait for the smoke to clear. This is something very challenging for some people (including myself) and now we are mostly at home or in a secured facility somewhere with our thoughts to ourselves. I always try to find the best in different situations so try to focus on time with yourself by doing meditating, putting together a puzzle or even going for a hike. We can take advantage of this solo time more than ever and really become one with ourselves without interruption.