Community is an important pillar of a long and happy life. When Dan Beuttner did his research on longevity, which was eventually published as the Blue Zones, one of the key commonalities of these cities were their strong sense of community. For those of you who haven’t read about this previously, the original purpose was to find out what conditions, including diet, lead to people living to 100 years old.
Strong sense of community can mean many things but for this research some of those were eating meals together, meeting with friends and knowing that you always had people around you that you could count on if you were in need.
The current pandemic has led to a loneliness pandemic, but at the same time, it’s raised our collective awareness on how we create community.
If you’re missing your friends and family like I am right now, this is a unique opportunity to connect with them in new and different ways, without having to get out of your PJ’s. It may require some technology education for some of our family members but be patient working with them and have some fun!
Are you missing movie night with your best gal pals? Do you miss the silly comments, the laughter and groans of “I can’t believe they just did that”. Go pull out your favorite pajamas and grab your favorite movie watching snacks because Netflix has made virtual movie night easy for you with Netflix Party! Netflix Party is a Google Chrome extension that lets you and your friends remotely watch Netflix together. The extension synchronizes playback between everyone who’s watching, adds a chat window, and allows anyone who’s watching to play and pause the video. This is also free to download!
Host a Coffee Chat
Do you miss meeting friends for coffee to catch up before a workday? Why not keep that going? Set up a meeting invite with a friend or two and share a zoom link or use FaceTime. The great thing is that you can do this in your pajamas, with or without having brushed your hair or teeth! Extra tips? Get fancy with your warm beverage and then share the recipe with your gal pal.
Sunday Family Dinner
Are you missing your big family dinner? There’s no reason why you can’t still share some fun family conversations and listen to your dad’s terrible jokes or your sister’s latest home project. Cook up something fun and share zoom call in info. Zoom is free and unlimited for two meeting participants. For three or more you’re limited to just 40 minutes however in my experience, new Zoom users will often be gifted more time by Zoom. However if one participant has a paid account, let them set up the meeting and you won’t have to worry about being cut off mid-joke.
My girl friends and I have been having happy hours on the weekends – alcohol totally optional. Again, I tend to use zoom for these meetings and here’s why – you can use the filter function to “freshen-up” your face to make you look fabulous. Zoom also has a virtual background feature that allows you to be on a tropical island, San Francisco or outer space. You can also upload your own picture! The sillier the better but make sure that if it’s a video loop that you have adequate bandwidth for your WiFi otherwise you’ll show up a bit choppy.
One of my dear friends has been hosting Yoga classes online and the platform lets her see and talk with everyone. She would never have tried this if not for the unique circumstances that we find ourselves in! Another friend and trainer has been hosting workouts online via Facebook lives, which also allows her to chat with participants. The fun thing about these is that both gals are meeting people who live outside the area and even out of state! Though you may not want to do yoga in your jammies I love that you can now exercise with a group of people without having to leave your house, let alone change into workout clothes.
Though, I must admit that I’m not certain this type of community connection online would lead to living to be 100 years old, it’s a great bridge until we can reach out and hug each other. Until then, have fun in your PJ’s!