Published 5 May 2020 ● Last Updated on 15 July 2020

Just when ‘social distancing’ was widely accepted as the guiding light in times of Covid-19, the World Health Organisation has stated that it prefers the term ‘physical distancing’. Why? And what’s the difference?

Well, ‘physical distancing’ is more accurate, and ensures that socialising while maintaining distance is encouraged at a time like this. Health experts are concerned that dealing with Covid-19 is having an adverse effect on the mental health of people, and reduced interaction is an additional stress factor.

physical distancing covid-19
Image Credit: Instagram @jayshetty

Personally, ‘staying in’ did seem like a daunting task to me at the beginning of the lockdown. But as days go by, I am slowly getting used to this way of life. In fact, now that I have embraced the idea that I can connect with friends and family without meeting them – I find much to look forward to! Social life in quarantine can be so much more than just virtual video chats. Are you wondering what’s out there?

In-house bonding

For the first time (in forever!), everyone is enjoying the luxury of having a lot of ‘quality’ family time. While it may be starting to seem like an overdose for some, we’re kind of locked in with these inmates so might as well make the most of it. So, what interesting things are you doing with your family?

Movie night: If you haven’t already started, family movie nights are a great idea. Take turns to choose the movie. (Yes, you can use veto power if you have to watch The Lego Movie for the 100th time!) Organise a ‘snacky’ dinner and of course popcorn is a must. In case you are running out of ideas or looking for suggestions, here’s a ready list of eco animated movies to watch!

Tea-time games: Board games are fun! Convert your evening tea time to family game time. Get your preferred beverages and snacks and sit out in the balcony or garden and roll the dice!

Team workout: Exercise is very important at this point of time especially for young children. Even if the adults have their own set workout time and routines, try and set aside 30 minutes a day for family workout – it could be exercises, dancing or simply running around the house!

home workout Covid-19
Image Credit: Instagram @theskinnyaffair

Cook ‘in’: Preparing meals with the family can be fun and acts as a stress buster. It could get messy but hey, get everyone to help with the clean up too.

Project ‘Make what you otherwise would not’: We all have projects that we would like to work on but always put them aside citing lack of time. Well, now we have the time! Choose one project at a time and get the entire family involved to stay creatively busy.

Lockdown project covid 19
Image Credit: Instagram @bb_family_4

Role play: If there is something you all are missing, why not just set it up at home and go ahead? Like setting up a restaurant for the kids, going out camping or even getting a salon treatment at home.

Community connect

How can community members mutually support each other at such taxing times if they can’t even meet up? Seemed like a conundrum till innovative neighbours worldwide showed us some simple yet effective ways of staying connected. 

Driveway celebrations: When you can’t go over to your neighbour’s home, gather up in your driveways to celebrate. Be it a 90th birthday drive-by parade or a first-time mom’s baby shower, neighbours are lining up in driveways and friends are driving by to make a special occasion what they ought to be – TRULY SPECIAL! In the spirit of being sustainable, we say, walk or bike by though! 🙂

driveby Birthday celebrations covid 19
Image Credit: Instagram @robertbannan82

Balcony sessions: For those of us who have balconies, they have become the windows to the world during these times. People are “stepping out” here to catch up with neighbours and even party! We’ve seen videos ranging from professional DJs belting out numbers to singers singing, building balcony bingo and even community members toasting “cheers!” using bamboo stick glass holders!

Groceries pickup: If you know of anyone who cannot really step out and get their basic shopping done, call them and help them out. You just need to drop the shopping at their doorstep to be a Good Samaritan! How can you do it in Singapore? Head over to our recent article on ways to give back to the community here

Virtual Hangout

Just 2 months back, who would have thought that virtual connecting would be the best (and only) way to keep in touch? And as more and more people opt to do this, there is a realisation that connecting online allows large families or friends spread across the globe to come together – be it for a catch up or a game.

Video chats: Straight Forward. No Nonsense. All you need is a good internet connection. Video chatting has been around for a while so most people are familiar with it. Some of the top apps (and easy to use) for video conferencing are Zoom, Facetime, Google Hangouts, Houseparty and even our good old WhatsApp!

Since most people are WFH (working from home) this is also their mode of communicating – meetings, presentations, classes – most sectors are adapting to this new medium as it seems we’re going to be stuck indoors for a while. In fact, some organisations have scheduled virtual coffee breaks where employees can catch up with one another with their own steaming cuppa! If you are hanging out with friends and family virtually, be sure to have a glass of your favourite drink in hand too! 

video chat covid 19
Image Credit: Instagram @mattsurelee

Multiplayer games: People are going ga-ga over online games that they are playing with their family and friends online. You can choose from x-box and pc games, mobile games which include some all time favourites like poker, pictionary, ludo and even bridge or even have a simple treasure hunt or tambola over video chat!

Viral challenges: With everyone staying at home, social media challenges are a rage. Try making the perfect dalgona coffee or pose like a painting  – no time to get bored when there are so many challenges to try out.

social media challenge covid 19
Image Credit: Instagram @pelagayamorskaya

Book club: We’re all familiar with how a book club works – all you need to do now is move the discussions to the online space. Looking for an interesting read? Head over to Secondsguru’s Readers’ Corner, where our latest book recommendation comes from the creative environmental champion Laura Francois.

Sharing and learning: If you would like to utilise this extra time in a more constructive way, start ‘learning and sharing’ sessions. It’s simple – choose a topic (World War 2, Silk Route, climate change etc) and give everyone a week to gather information and learn more about it. Get on a video chat and have a discussion in a panel format with 1 moderator steering the conversations. Post the circuit breaker, you will emerge more knowledgeable on some topics.

Snail mail: If the post office is open where you live (as in Singapore), write a whole bunch of letters or postcards and drop them off into a post box. Everyone loves to receive good old-fashioned mail!

Snail mail covid 19
Image Credit: Instagram @penpaling_paula

Theme parties: Choose a theme and enjoy a virtual party together! There is a variety to choose from – be it dressing-up as characters or choosing to cook using the same ingredients.

Quizzing: If you like a good brain shakeup, give online quizzing a try. It’s addictive – don’t say we didn’t warn you. You could give the Kahoots app a try when it comes to quizzing.

Mindful gifting: The best way to celebrate during Covid-19

Despite staying in, the celebrations do not stop and nor does the gifting. As it is not possible to give real physical gifts, consider the option of mindful virtual gifts. This is a time when many organisations need your help and support both in terms of donations as well as time. Choose a cause that is important to you and ask you near and dear ones to contribute to it. Gifts that truly make a difference are ones that help those who need them the most – share your special celebration with those who need the support right now!

Not sure which organisations to support? Take a look here for global and Singapore based initiatives that are doing some good work in these difficult times.  

Remember, it’s social physical distancing

We hope this article has given you a few ideas on how to keep the connections going. There is no saying how long we will be staying indoors; and even when restrictions are lifted, will we be able to resume our life as it was before? Probably not. So let’s adapt and make the best we can in the current situation. We suggest you begin with spreading the word that now is when we begin physical distancing and social connecting.

Suggested Reads:

Losing Sleep? Hear from an expert on how to calm your mind and get proper sleep.

Sleepless in Coronatimes? A guide to get the rest you need!


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