Many of us have been doing this quarantine business alone. Without an office to go every day, friends to visit for drinks, or family to spend time with, it can be awfully lonely. As COVID-19 cases climb across the country, many cities and states are starting to shut back down again — to the surprise of no one who’s been following the news and making safety decisions based on the opinion of actual scientists and doctors.
While you may find solace in Zoom happy hours or phone calls and texts, digital communication just isn’t the same. Even as an introvert, it feels weird and sad to rarely ever see real-life people aside from maybe your live-in partner or roommate.
If you’re feeling the weight of loneliness from WHF, here are some online communities and resources you can look into that might help.
Quarantine Chat was developed with the sole purpose of providing people who are experiencing loneliness and isolation with support. Two artists and friends, Danielle Baskin and Max Hawkins, initially created the free service to provide folks with a way to digitally connect with others using the app (Dialup), wherever they are. Here’s how it works: After you sign up, you’ll be automatically subscribed to get calls from time to time from other (real!) people who are also looking to connect. Your caller ID will say “QuarantineChat” so you know it’s not a robocall. Since the call is through Dialup, it’s completely toll-free. (And yes, your info stays totally private — you or the other person on the line won’t have access to your number, just your username).
There are tons of book clubs out there, but Reddit’s might just have the biggest community. Every month, members get to vote on a book, and then the following month, you’ll get to have a dialogue with hundreds of other Reddit users online. This is an ideal online community to join if it might be hard for you to connect with others randomly (admittedly, as cool as Quarantine Chat is, it might feel awkward for some to have a conversation with a totally random person).
3. Bumble BFF or Hey! Vina
I tried both Bumble BFF and Hey! Vina when I first moved to LA and didn’t have many friends local to me. While I didn’t end up meeting any friends in-person, I did get to chat with several women using the app, and sometimes that’s just what you need to feel a little less alone. Both Bumble BFF and Hey! Vina work similarly to dating apps — you swipe on a person you think could be a good “fit” and if they swipe back, then you’re instantly connected. A little Black Mirror-y, I know, but, it’s a worth a try.
4. Facebook groups
This might seem obvious, but have you searched all the different Facebook groups based on your interests? This is kind of silly, but I’m part of like, three German Shepherd parent groups. I initially joined when I adopted mine. As a first-time dog parent, I figured I could use the support, advice, and tips (like, “help! Is it normal for my puppy to be eating all the doors in the house?”). Plus, you get to scroll through cute pics of dogs. If mental health is something you want extra support with right now, Facebook groups have a ton to offer, like the Mental Health Awareness and Support group. It’s not a replacement for an actual therapist, psychiatrist, or health care provider, but it can be immensely helpful to be able to talk it out with other community members whom you can relate with — and vice versa.
5. Poetry Lunch
You don’t need to be a published poet or to have graduated from an MFA program to join Poetry Lunch, a weekly remote meetup that encourages members to share their poems. And since writing poetry (or any kind of writing!) can be super cathartic during times like these, it can be comforting to be able to share your work (or hear others share theirs if you’re shy) in a safe space. You can join the group invite over Zoom.
Gina Vaynshteyn is an editor and writer who lives in LA. You can find more of her words on Refinery29, Apartment Therapy, HelloGiggles, Distractify, and others. If you wanna, you can follow her on Instagram or Twitter.
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