Virtual Activities to Combat Loneliness
At a time when we are all being physically kept apart, it’s more important than ever to reconnect virtually. We know that deep down don’t we? Yet somehow the zoom fatigue has crept in and we just don’t want to do another bloody quiz thank you very much! Even catch-up phone calls can feel too much after a long day of homeschooling, working or caring for family members. It can feel arduous talking to even our closest friends when the news is always the same day in, day out. Even the phrase virtual activities might be sending a shiver up your spine.
Last week my brilliant friend organised a Zoom wine tasting for us and it was so much fun that it restored my faith in virtual activities. And not just because it involved alcohol! We laughed, we learned a bit and we felt genuinely like we’d had a night out.
With this in mind I’ve compiled a list of some groups and classes which could help us connect with our friends in a meaningful way, or even help us meet some new likeminded people. Whether you’re a reader, a budding chef, a fitness fanatic, crafty type or just like a good natter; there’s an online group for you!
If you were previously a member of a book club, you might well find they have already moved onto Zoom. It’s an activity that transfers quite easily into the world of virtual activities and still allows you the indulgence of time to yourself, disappearing into a great story, before coming back to discuss with friends. For book club virgins, ShelterBox Book Club is a fantastic place to start. Join their community of over 2000 readers for just a tenner a month and they’ll send you a brilliant book. Your payment will go towards helping families around the world who have been left in need of shelter due to disasters and war. You’ll have the chance to chat with other book club members on their Facebook meet-ups.
Lots of the world’s top chefs are currently offering virtual cookery classes while their restaurants are closed. While these are probably great, they’re also pretty pricey. Cost needn’t be a barrier to brushing up your cookery skills though! Check out Anne-Marie Lambert’s FREE Zoom cookery lessons which are held weekly and since they start at 12 noon, they’ll come in very handy for serving up lunch.
At-home fitness sessions have grown rapidly since the pandemic began. The combination of having not much else to do, and wanting to take preventative action to protect our health, means more people than ever are incorporating exercise into their daily routine. For some people, the community they feel part of at their gym, might be really lacking when taking part in YouTube’s or Facebook Live workouts. This is where Zoom really comes into it’s own. Group members can log on for a chat at the start of the class, get their workout done, and then squeeze in a natter at the end too! I teach lots of fitness classes on Zoom, some of which can be accessed for free thanks to National Lottery Funding. For more info on these you can contact me through The Zoom Crew. We’re a friendly bunch I promise you!
Similarly to book clubs, if you were a member of a sewing circle or knitting club pre-Covid; you’ll probably find they’ve now moved onto Zoom sessions to keep all their knitters nattering! There’s no reason not to set up your own with some like-minded friends; all you really need is an internet connection, device, the craft materials of your choice… oh and some tea and biscuits of course. If you’d prefer more of a course set-up to acquire some new skills, Tea and Crafting run virtual activities in everything from origami to coaster-making and their website is very accessible.
Parent and child groups
We’re all having a tough time of it at the moment, but one group of society I really feel for is the new Mums. I know from experience that the days can feel long and lonely once your partner is back at work. Normally you would try to fill them with making new friends at baby groups, making invaluable connections when you need the support most. Obviously that isn’t as easy these days. The great news is that there are a variety of online classes still running which give the opportunity for some stimulating activities for little ones, and hopefully some adult conversation for the tired parents! Check out the Happity website for a directory of classes you can live stream, plus lots of great advice on dealing with postnatal depression and other issues new parents might be facing.