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How to Stay Connected While Social Distancing

There are countless opportunities to stay connected to the outside world virtually during this time of social distancing.
There are countless opportunities to stay connected to the outside world virtually during this time of social distancing.
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With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing most of us into isolation for the foreseeable future, it can be easy to feel disconnected from the outside world. Many people are getting creative with virtual happy hours, museum tours and even dance parties–and your options aren’t limited by location. Here are some ways from Atlanta arts organizations, New York Museums and more to stay connected while maintaining a safe distance.

Video chat:

First, the simplest (and maybe most obvious) option: call up your family and friends for a virtually in-person chat.

Apps like FaceTime, Skype, Google Hangouts and Zoom have long been a great way to connect with friends, family and coworkers.

Houseparty App is a video chat app that’s quickly gaining popularity. You can chat with up to 8 friends, join different chats going on and even play games virtually with friends.

Host a watch party:

Do you miss having movie nights with friends and family?

Netflix Party is a chrome extension that allows you to watch movies with other users and chat in real-time. There are plenty of Atlanta-filmed options to choose form.

Take a virtual tour:

Like most other businesses, museums and parks all over the world have closed to support social distancing. You can still get a healthy dose of culture and nature with these online tours.

The Smithsonian has put together a list of museums that offer robust virtual tours.

Google Earth is offering virtual tours of 31 national parks.

Google Arts & Culture has tons of virtual tours and countless hours of exploration for all ages.

Become a virtual volunteer:

Many nonprofits have had to suspend their volunteer programs due to safety concerns, but there are still ways to put your skills to work for organizations in need.

You can assist the Red Cross’s social engagement team by becoming a digital volunteer. You will monitor conversations on social media to find people who might need help, share important updates and resources and offer compassionate responses.

Become a Smithsonian “volunpeer” to help transcribe and make historical documents and biodiversity data accessible to everyone.

The United Nations Volunteers program currently has more than a hundred online volunteer opportunities that include things like teaching, translating and art design.

Become a volunteer crisis counselor with the Crisis Text Line.

Take in a virtual show:

The show must go on as performance theaters in Atlanta and beyond begin to take their craft online.

Dad’s Garage is going digital and livestreaming all future events and shows.

Alliance Theatre is scheduling virtual performances and offering virtual classes now.

The Center For Puppetry Arts is livestreaming puppet shows and workshops daily for kids and adults.

The Cut has put together a running list of virtual drag shows happening in NYC.

Famous piano bar Marie’s Crisis will stay open virtually through their Facebook Group.

Stream live music:

Music is the best medicine for the social distancing blues. Most musicians have had to cancel tours and lay off staff during this time. Livestreaming a virtual performance is a way to support these teams and keep your spirits high.

Kimono My House (Virtual House Concerts) was created by Atlanta musicians at the beginning of the crisis to support social distancing and flattening the curve. It is a place where musicians can connect and play shows using Facebook Live and even receive financial support from the audience.

Sofa King Fest 2020 “is an emergency response online music and arts directory aimed to minimize your COVID-19 quarantine boredom while providing a platform to raise money for artists, crew, and music industry professionals affected by this pandemic.” This list is updated every day with new live streams from your favorite artists.

WatchtheDJ.com brings you an impressive selection of live and archived DJ sets.

Join an online book club:

There are tons of online book clubs to join through social media. Most all of these operate like typical book clubs, except the discussions happen online instead of in-person. You can usually check out a list of previous books read by members to make sure the choices fit your style before joining. Here are a few options to get you started:

  • Now Read This is a monthly book club from PBS News Hour and The New York Times Book Review. A new book is presented each month and thoughtful discussion questions are posted daily for members to consider.
  • Monthly Book Club reads two books a month. You are welcome to read them and join in for the discussion, but it’s not required.
  • Black Girls Read Too is a community where black women can share book/literature recommendations and reviews.
  • Buzzfeed Book Club reads one book a month and hosts discussions.
  • The Andrew Luck Book Club, created by the former Indianapolis Colts quarterback, aims to engage readers of all levels and encourage discussion via social media.

There are also thousands of online book clubs through Goodreads.

Livestream a fitness class:

Working out from home is a great way to stay active and safe at the same time. There are countless apps and YouTube Channels at your disposal to fit in a daily workout in your living room, but here are some recommendations for real-time fitness classes:

Project Body ATL is livestreaming workouts for $5 per class, and the first workout is free.

Forme Studios is livestreaming barre classes for members. You can get an unlimited week of classes for $25.

Yogaworks is livestreaming free yoga sessions from instructors all over the country.

You can find tons more local fitness livestreams through ClassPass.

Live a little (virtually):

Be on the lookout for exciting virtual offers as many businesses get creative with the services they provide. Now is the time to keep an open mind and learn or try something new from the comfort of your own home.

Book a virtual Tarot reading from Modern Mystic Shop. Prices range from $25 – $100 depending on the length of the session.

Meditate with live classes from The Kadampa Meditation Center Georgia.

General Assembly is moving all its courses and workshops online, many of which are free.

EdX offers free online courses from some of the top learning institutions around the world.

Learn how to make craft cocktails with this nightly “Cocktails After Dark” livestream.

Learn how to sew, paint or decorate a cake. Bluprint is offering 14 days of free online classes.