It’s been challenging for everyone to stay social through the ongoing pandemic. Trying a new hobby with a friend, and encouraging our patients to do the same, will help us stay connected through these difficult times.
We’re all burned out by the pandemic and trying to figure out how to stay positive, connected, and social. Most of us have been Face Timing with friends and doing Zoom calls with family. In warm weather, walking with friends is enjoyable. In winter, fire pits and s’mores-making top the list of fun outdoor activities.
To stay connected at school, some of my young patients are playing team sports or taking part in extracurricular activities, like model UN. Unfortunately, with the unpredictability of the pandemic some events have been changed to Zoom and some schools have cancelled sports practices and games.
Here are some more ideas to stay connected:
1. A book club
A book club has the benefit of flexibility in being able to take place at someone’s home when COVID rates are low and switching to Zoom when rates increase. The actual focus of discussion on the book depends on the group so one might want to take that into consideration when choosing a group.
2. A new hobby or volunteer opportunity
Another way to find connections is to pick up a new hobby. I recently took up knitting with one of my children. I thought our goal could be to make sweaters for rescue dogs who are seeking their furever homes, but at the rate I’m knitting it may be summer before I’m done. But it’s always winter somewhere! Even if I can’t supply adorable sweaters for rescue pups, volunteering at charitable organizations by helping at pet adoption events or walking dogs at a rescue shelter are other ways to help the animal community. Volunteering and giving back can help one stay connected to their community and has the added bonus of improving mood and giving a sense of purpose and meaning.
3. A religious group
For those with faith-based practices some religious organizations are holding outdoor services for those who prefer and masked indoor services for others.
What I’ve experienced during the pandemic is that people have varying degrees of comfort with interpersonal interactions, these comfort levels change over time, and sometimes may even seem contradictory. I try to remain non-judgmental and meet people where they are and can feel at ease.
This piece expresses the views solely of the author. It does not necessarily represent the views of any organization, including Johns Hopkins Medicine.