I’m confessing: I am over being in quarantine. At first, video calls were exciting for me. Discussing literature in my PJs? Put me down for that! No more early morning classes? I could finally sleep in! The freedom to live my introverted dreams was enthralling, but that’s no longer the case for me and most people I know. I miss my friends, family, and coworkers. We all do, and that is because humans depend on emotional connection. While we can’t get together anymore, everyone here at L. Royalty is coming up with creative ways to keep up with friends and loved ones while still social distancing. 

These days, our points of connection are Skype, Zoom, Facetime, Google Hangouts, etc.. While it’s nice to see everyone’s faces during these video hangouts, we can also make it engaging and a change of pace. For example, my college moderated a High School Musical trivia night in which a host created a Kahoot quiz and shared it on her screen. We then punched in the code and had a great trivia night! I took fourth which is my biggest failure in life so far. I’m not a real Wildcat anymore… Despite my failure, this has inspired me to host my own trivia night with my college gals!

For a more unique idea for video chat nights, consider an online scavenger hunt. Instead of finding items in your home, kick up a notch by utilizing free museum exhibits on the Internet. To create a scavenger hunt, come up with a list of items to check off such as an animal that lives in Africa, a man wearing red, a painting that makes you happy, etc.. Then, make sure everyone screenshots their finds and reconvenes at the end of the allotted time. Ta-da! You’ve got yourself a scavenger hunt. Google Arts and Culture has internationally renowned museums available at your fingertips such as the Van Gogh Museum in the Netherlands and several Smithsonians. The Louvre in Paris has a Google street-view-esque navigation system for even more of a challenge. If you’re looking for a fashion inspired fashion night, the Metropolitan Museum of Art of NYC is featuring exhibits from high profile designers such as Coco Chanel and Christian Dior. 

Another fashion inspired hangout is online thrift shopping. Thrifting in person is fun because you never know what treasures you’ll find, but you still can experience the same excitement online! Websites such as Thredup have great deals on secondhand clothing for affordable prices. Play dress up and challenge yourself to creating a complete outfit under $50. 

In addition to their fun and thrifty shopping experience, ThredUp also offers a clean out service in which they send you a bag and free shipping label to take your unwanted clothing off your hands. There are two options: donate and consignment. If you choose to donate your clothing, ThredUP will give $15 to Feeding America. On the other hand, consignment puts a little extra cash in your pocket. Read the full details here.

In the same vein, if you haven’t already done a closet clean out, enlist a friend or two to help you via video chat. Having a second opinion on clothes that you may be on the fence about increases decision making and efficiency, especially if you can count on the friend to be honest. For more tips on how to clean out your closet, read through our Cultivate: Environment post from earlier this month. Don’t stop there! For more fun, host a clothing swap with your friends through video chat. 

There are plenty of other ways to connect via video chat. Watch a Bob Ross video on screen share and host a paint night. Start a book club. Have a movie night or TV show screening. Read a bedtime story to the little ones in your life. Have a slumber party complete with face masks, movies, and truth or dare. If you’re looking for a DIY spa night, I’ve got you covered in my post here

After reading these ideas on how to utilize video chats, I hope you have a fresh vision on how to connect with others during this time of quarantine. Connecting with others looks different these days and I recognize that it can be frustrating. Despite not being able to hug my loved ones, I’m thankful that I get to see their faces on video chat. I’m thankful for my home. I’m thankful for the health care professionals and first responders around the world. Although it can be frustrating to be removed from others, now is the most important time to keep connections strong as well as reconnect with old friends or non-immediate family members. Staying connected not only keeps up our spirits but also encourages others. By reaching out to those in our spheres of influence, we can gain new perspectives, feel uplifted, and have some fun during this journey of social distancing. 

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