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Putting the social into social distancing

Stuff’s weird right now. And while football, gigs, going to the pub, and [insert your favourite activity here] might be cancelled or postponed, having a laugh with your mates certainly isn’t.

Social distancing might sound like you have to avoid all human interaction for the foreseeable, but that’s not the case. Social distancing is about avoiding physical contact. There are loads of ways to connect with your friends, family and colleagues without seeing them IRL - heck, some people even prefer it that way!

Here at CALM we’re always banging on about everyone having mental health to take care of. While a lot is changing in the world right now, our advice for looking after yourself remains the same. You may need to be more creative with how you do it though. Here’s some great ideas on how to keep connected during this period of social distancing from across the WWW.

Get your game on

Some of you will be no stranger to online gaming, others will have left the unparalleled joys of "pwning" a mate at COD back in 2009. With many of us gaining a whole lotta extra time thanks to shorter or less-busy commutes, self isolation and, let’s be honest, this whole situation, why not take the opportunity to dust off that Playstation or log on to that laptop to play your mates over the internet.

Not into computer gaming? No problem. There’s loads of ways to do analogue games online too. From crosswords and board games to Dungeons and Dragons, there’s something for everyone - the Guardian have pulled together some gems here.

And don’t forget, not everything has to be digital. Self-isolating with your family, partner or housemates? Get that monopoly set out and advance straight to Go.

Got a gaming idea or donation to help fund our services? Head here.

Catch a gig in your PJs

At CALM we’re no stranger to a good gig or twelve, and if, like us, some of your most-anticipated gigs have been cancelled or postponed, there’s some novel ways to get your fix. Take a look at this lot, including Coldplay, Christine and the Queens, Charlie XCX, Bono, and John Legend, who took to the internet by storm by livestreaming from their living rooms to combat boredom and isolation during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Our very own ambassador Frank Turner even did his own livestream to support his touring family, while also shouting out CALM’s life-saving services. It was watched by over a quarter of a million people.

Exhibitions and art more your thing?

There’s a whole host of ways to get your art on during isolation. From CALM’s own Art Collective, to starting a book club, or the BBC’s announcement of BBC Culture in Quarantine - a way to see exhibitions and shows that are currently closed to the public due to the Covid-19 outbreak - don’t let the virus stop you being the cultured human you were born to be.

Watch TV together.

Back in the times before Netflix, yup that did exist, people used to watch the same shows at the same time. A phenomenon you can recreate with new-spangled tech - Netflix Party, or, in a less tech-savvy version, all press play at the same time from your respective houses. Choose what to watch, chat about it over your Whatsapp group or social media, and have a grand old time while you chomp crisps and drink beer (other snacks available, probably.)

Time for a plug… we all need a laugh right now and on Tuesday, 24 March at 9pm, that’s exactly what you’ll get. Join Joel Dommet and guests for Comedy Against Living Miserably, an evening dedicated to having a bloody good time.

Fancy throwing a gig in your living room? Throwing an arty internet party? Do it for CALM

Join a Collective

CALM Collectives are all about getting together, doing what you love and feeling better for it. And although we can’t get together face to face right now, our Collectives have active online communities. You might not be able to run with other people, make art collectively, or play for your football team for a while, but you can chat, share encouragement, experiences, stories, laughs, failures and successes. Sound good? Find out more about them here.

Get together online over the things you love here

Give ‘em a call

Yeh ok, this one is not that exciting, but it’s effective. Although we can’t all be together in the ways we’d like right now, a good ole phone call, Facetime, Whatsapp chat, can keep us together. So pick up the phone and reach out to all those people you care about (or haven’t spoken to in yonks). You’ve probably got similar worries and issues - like having no toilet paper - to chat about. Hearing that other people have similar concerns as you, and just generally having a chance to offload and enjoy someone else's company, is a great way to stay social in this period of social distancing.

And if you’re struggling…

There’s lots to think about right now. From financial worries, to anxiety around you and your loved ones’ health – it’s easy for thoughts to become overwhelming.

Whatever’s getting you down, our free, anonymous and confidential webchat and helpline services are open from 5pm to midnight for anyone who needs to talk.

Find support here.