I was shocked when my church canceled all group meetings for the next three weeks. That means my 12-step group, prayer and class groups, and other fellowships may be gone for a while.
Isolation is terrible for people in general. Loneliness is a killer of the human spirit. We see schools and corporations scrambling to work with students and employees at home. Why then can’t you and I be a social solution for ourselves and others?
I’m a little aged like a good cheese ought to be. Most of us these days are familiar with the internet, conferencing, Skype, Facebook Live, and plenty of other means for actually laying eyes on one another over long distances. I’m ahead of many people in my generation in computer skills and waaay behind anyone in younger generations. I do find freeconferencingcall.com to be the easiest way of meeting without meeting, and it’s free for hours up to… wait for it… 1000 guests! With the help of modern technology, there is little to keep us truly apart.
Ideas using the new-fangled gizmos and gadgets
- Missing a party? If everyone is also unable to gather, have it anyway! Each partygoer can decorate her space, buy or make some cake and party food, and it’s on! With each guest using an agreed-upon video conferencing site, you can dance (seriously!), sing, provide entertainment, play a game, talk, and stay late with very little clean-up! Did I hear someone say charades?
- Bookworm, are you? Gather your like-minded friends and hold an online book club. This works just as well for Bible Studies and other discussion groups.
- Tailgate! Watch a game together using your televisions and phones. Send each other deliverable tailgate foods.
- Get in character and watch your favorite TV specials or shows with lots of shared moments over the phone.
- Play online interactive video games instead of losing yourself in solitaire.
- More of a board game person? Invite and play! One household can manage the board while another keeps score. If you each have cards, allow game-play cheating for good laughs.
- Find a spot, and have each member of your group of friends go to a special place of their choosing – in the woods, on the beach, in front of a billboard – you name it. Have your conversations from there.
- Prayer groups are easily gathered using these same tools. Today, Sunday, March 15, 2020, from 2-5pm New York/Eastern time, I am holding an online gathering for people I know who want to pray for our nation.
- Exercise! Walk with a group by taking your phones along and staying 12 feet apart, or share an exercise video.
- Jam. Does everyone have their instruments? Kazoos? Pots and pans? For children and adults, jammin’ is a blast. Sound quality will likely be iffy, creating the best excuse for an amateur gig.
- Complete your spring cleaning or detail your car during this time of – maybe a little more – freedom. It may take longer, but do it with a friend and watch the stress go away!
- Make chores competitive and fun. Young and older friends, start your engines…! Do the same chores (such as clean your room or wash the dishes), or make a list of each person’s duties. After each completion, report it via text, etc. Winner picks the next game.
- Art! As long as each crafty friend has their own materials, do it together! Quilters can make squares while chatting, and wait for another day to form a complete quilt.
Make the effort to be with others. If you have not yet learned to use your computer or phone to such a degree, do so now.
Ask for professional emotional or mental support when you need it. The coronavirus will not directly affect everyone. Nonetheless, isolation can have long-lasting and dangerous consequences.
Step out and be the first one to invite your friends!
Today’s Helpful Word
And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
Always the Fight Ministries (ATFM) has been displaying compassion for those fighting mental illness, addiction, or abuse since 2012. Nancy is the founder and voice of ATFM and openly shares her emotional resurrection from despair.
*** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME
NOTE: I am not a doctor or a mental health professional, and speak only from personal experiences and observations. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.
If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. In the EU call 112. (For other international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!
*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright (c) 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.., Carlo Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.