You’ve heard it countless times before: “Connections are essential to lasting recovery.” But how do you make new friends while practicing social distancing? By getting a little creative and thinking outside the box! We asked members of our recovery community how they’re building connections during this unusual time and have compiled a list of our favorite ideas. We invite you to try one, or all.
1. Get Crafty with CraftJam
They say that finding a hobby is great for those in recovery, but figuring out what your hobby is can be overwhelming. Where do you start? How do you learn to paint or sew or grow a succulent garden? With CraftJam, all you have to do is sign up and show up – virtually. CraftJam has tons of online arts and crafts classes and workshops that offer the perfect opportunity for you to try something new and maybe discover a passion. The best part is that these are group classes, so you will get to meet others who share your artistic interest. You can also take part in CraftCircle, a free online meetup for anyone who is working on a creative project. So, get your crafting supplies out of storage and get ready to bond with some creative minds.
2. Give Back to Others
What better way to feel connected to something greater than yourself than by giving back to others? Right now, there is no shortage of ways you can give back. All you have to do is figure out what you’re passionate about and how you can use your skills to help your cause. The best part is that there are plenty of online volunteer opportunities that you can find through organizations such as Volunteer from Your Couch and the United Nations Volunteers program, meaning you can make a difference from the safety and comfort of your home. If you want to get some fresh air while doing some good, helping your elderly or immune-compromised neighbors with groceries or daily errands is a great option. Just be sure to put on your mask, carry hand sanitizer with you, and try to stay six feet away from others.
3. Foster a Shelter Dog
They say dogs are man’s best friend for a reason: their unconditional love and loyalty make them the perfect companion. If you’ve ever considered getting a dog, now might be a great time to try fostering. This short-term commitment will enable you to provide an animal in need with a loving home. At the same time, you are giving yourself the perfect quarantine companion who will not only help you starve off loneliness but lift your spirits and encourage you to be more active. And believe it or not, dogs can teach you one or two life lessons that can help strengthen your recovery.
4. Take an Online Course
If you find yourself with extra time on your hands, why not use that time to enrich your mind? Through organizations like Coursera, you can enroll in free online courses from world-class universities and companies. Not only do you get to build skills that can help you strengthen your resume and advance your career, but you also get to meet others who share your interests. By working on group projects and participating in class discussions, you can build connections that go beyond the classroom. There’s a wide range of courses available, but our current favorite is Yale’s The Science of Happiness.
5. Host an Online Game Night
While meeting new people is great, deepening existing connections is also important. A fun, easy way to do this is by playing online games with your friends or acquaintances – perhaps someone you’ve only chatted with at an alumni event, or maybe someone you’ve met during a virtual support group. Hosting a virtual game night is a low-pressure way for everyone to let their guards down and get to know each other a little better. While planning a game night might seem like a lot of work, all you need to do is:
- Pick your app. Houseparty, Zoom, and Google Hangouts are all easy to use and free.
- Select your game. There are countless free and paid options available, from Cards Against Humanity to classics like Scattergories and Scrabble. Jackbox TV Party Packs is also a super fun game that allows players to use their phones and controllers. You can also host a virtual trivia night or talent show.
- Invite your friends. Whether you want to create a Facebook event, compose an email, or send them a quick text, giving your friends a date and time will ensure that everyone is ready and present at your game night. It also gives your friends something to look forward to.
- Get snacks. You may be the only one home, but treat this virtual game night like you would an in-person hangout. Get snacks and your favorite non-alcoholic drink to make it a real party.
- Have fun. Game nights can get competitive pretty fast, so it’s important to remember that it’s really all about having fun and staying connected to the greater community.
Practicing social distancing doesn’t mean isolating yourself from others. By getting creative, you can spend time with loved ones and make new friends, maybe even while picking up a new skill or two. While it can be uncomfortable at first, you can learn to adapt to and even embrace the “new normal.” Remember, in recovery you are never alone. We are always together, online.