The coronavirus pandemic has affected every single way humans relate with others. In the blink of an eye, all forms of contact have been discouraged, leaving little room for group gatherings and activities.
Studies show that the social isolation brought on by the quarantine can lead to chronic loneliness and boredom, which can have detrimental effects on people’s mental and physical well-being.
Thankfully, there are still ways for us to find small pockets of joy and connect and play with others, even in a pandemic. Here are safe and socially distant activities, games, and sports we can try with our friends and loved ones in the time of corona.
Online multiplayer games
If you have never been big on gaming, now is a good time to explore online multiplayer games. Gaming with friends is one of the many ways to stay connected with the wider world.
Online multiplayer games exist on just about every gaming platform (PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and even on Windows PC), so look into the console that will best suit your gaming needs.
Here are some top-rated online games you can play with your loved ones (and even strangers):
Known for jumpstarting the battle royale and survival craze, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (or PUBG for short) is known for its grounded realism and is perfect for the competitive set who are in it for the thrilling ride.
2. Tetris 99
An offshoot of the classic game loved by generations, Tetris 99 is one of the most frantic multiplayer games of recent years. It’s also battle royale but in Tetris form—a completely modern and different take on the iconic game.
3. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
There’s a reason Counter-Strike is well-known even among non-gamers: It has been the go-to multiplayer game for many in the past decade. Its most recent spin-off, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (or CS:GO for short), is all about tactics and teamwork.
4. FIFA 20
For those who love and miss soccer, FIFA 20 is a good alternative, at least while we wait for the world to get back to normal. Much like playing in the field, winning a match gives a high like no other multiplayer games can.
Overwatch was a game-changer in the competitive shooter category. Teamwork is key because the game is never about simply defeating the opposing teams but also about achieving goals. It has also made waves in the e-sports scene, with tournaments being broadcast on ESPN.
Low-risk outdoor activities
Being on lockdown is no excuse for not getting your much-needed dose of sun and fresh air. There are a lot of activities you can enjoy close to home, whether it’s going to the nearby park or taking a stroll in your neighborhood.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in general, the more closely you interact with others, and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread. There is a growing consensus among experts that if we must go outside, it’s much safer to be outdoors than in enclosed spaces like malls or museums. Keeping your distance, shortening the duration of your exposure, and improving the ventilation can lower your risk—and going outdoors helps you do all three. As long as you wear your mask, bring a small alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and wash your hands thoroughly as soon as you get home, you lower the risk of contracting COVID-19.
Exercise can ease symptoms of depression and anxiety. While big-group contact sports are still out of the question, there are still several options for those who love and miss being outdoors.
1. Take the time to go for a run or a leisurely walk in your neighborhood park. Rollerblading and biking also offer fewer risks. Fitness classes that allow for social distancing can be another good way to stay fit.
2. Having picnics with your family members and housemates can be a relatively safe activity, as long as you wear your masks and adhere to your state’s social distancing requirements.
3. Solo activities like baseball speed pitch games, flying a kite, golfing, and fishing pose lower risks as they don’t require the presence of others.
4. Drive-in movies have also been making a comeback, giving film enthusiasts a suitable alternative to going to movie houses, which are much more cramped and does not allow for proper ventilation.
5. Farmers’ markets can be a fun way to shop, granted you wash your hands after touching surfaces and maintain a distance of at least six feet from others while shopping.
We’re All in This Together
It may not seem like it, but we’re all in this together. As long as we work together, we can create safe spaces for everyone to find joy and connection, even in a pandemic.