Having fun at a social distance

The whole world has faced a challenge like no other in recent months. Depending on which news source you listen to, it could be that the worst is behind us, or that we are simply between spikes. Either way, one thing is clear. The term “social distancing” is here to stay, and the concept is destined to be part of our lives to a greater or lesser extent for the foreseeable future.

Even as some facilities tentatively reopen, it will be a good while before things return to normal, and it would be dangerous to rush things. However, one thing the past few weeks has proved is that human beings are ingenious when it comes to finding ways to have fun. Here, we offer up five ideas for some great activities you can still enjoy, even while social distancing.

Party like it’s 1999

OK, it won’t be exactly like 1999, as back then we didn’t have the same riches in conferencing apps to make virtual partying a reality. Everyone has been waxing lyrical about Zoom in recent months, but it is only one of several choices out there. A personal favourite is Houseparty, which has actually been around since 2016 but has, understandably, hit the stratosphere in terms of downloads this year.

It supports up to eight chat participants, who all meet up in a virtual party room. There are some simple party games on hand there, and a nice touch is the way the app can sync up with your social media platforms.

Have a poker night

Miss having some buddies around for a card game? A poker night might conjure images of swarthy men with whisky, cigars and dubious intentions, but the truth is that the game has moved on dramatically in the 80-odd years since the end of the prohibition era. These days factor like the World Series of Poker on TV and poker platforms online have hastened a new generation of poker players, and a growing number of them are women.

That online factor means there is nothing to stop you meeting up with some friends for a game in cyberspace. There are literally dozens of online casinos that offer private poker rooms. Just keep in mind that not all of them accept Canadian players. This overview of Canadian options will come in handy to help you find the best place to set up. The other great thing about playing from home is that there’s no need for designated drivers. So if you want that traditional glass of whisky, why not treat yourself?

Learn to do something amazing

Surely every single one of us has something we have vowed to do “when we get a chance.” It might be playing the piano, learning Cantonese or mastering the hidden mysteries of cake baking. Here’s a newsflash: You’re never going to get a better chance to do it than right now.

Sure, even the internet has some restrictions, and you’re not going to be able to start skydiving online. But if your aims are along the lines of the above examples, you’ll be amazed at the online courses that are available.

Best of all, online learning can have just as good a social side as going to a physical college or night school. Make use of the social platforms as well as the learning resources, and you’ll be able to meet people with similar interests and ambitions to yourself. A beautiful new friendship could be just around the corner.

Spend some time with Granny

This is a tough time for all of us, but if you are prone to getting depressed about social distancing, keep in mind that others have it worse. The older members of our community are at the greater risk, and many are having to tolerate more stringent distancing rules, which will remain in place far longer. Loneliness is a serious problem among the elderly at the best of times. Now, more than ever, it’s time to do something positive about it.

Recent events have forced even the most technophobic seniors to get involved in the world of apps and social media. And once they get started, most suddenly understand what amazing fun they have been missing. Exactly the same applies to younger people who finally make the effort to engage and you’ll never regret spending time with older loved ones. Whether you decide to play an online game like Words with Friends or you just chill out exchanging outrageous stories while chatting on Zoom, you will find that it is good for the soul and benefits everyone.

Get fit

Let’s be frank about this, some people have been way too eager to take this whole situation as an excuse to live in their pyjamas, grow a huge beard (and not just the guys) and generally make a huge issue of their poor, decrepit “quarantine bod.” Of course, it is all complete nonsense, and staying at a social distance does not prevent us from staying in shape.

You can still enjoy some camaraderie with fellow runners in the park as long as you give each other space. But if you’re restricted to staying in, why not explore some online fitness classes that you can take with friends? Unlike going to a real gym together, you can at least be confident that you won’t be tempted to blow all that good work on a “quick drink and snack” together afterwards!

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