Digital solutions to make sure social distancing doesn’t lead to social isolation during COVID-19

By Robert Glatter • Forbes

Library | 3/18/2020

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As we practice social distancing during COVID-19, it’s vital that we engage in creative activities that bring us together virtually.


What’s important to understand is this: as we place physical distance between others and remain isolated in our apartments and homes, we must maintain emotional connections with others in our lives. It’s the equivalent of a “virtual touch”, so to speak.


How we best accomplish this task can vary, but the gift of technology connecting us by the internet allows us to engage with others in a multitude of ways to create solidarity and promote unity.


For those who enjoy music, Chris Martin, frontman of the rock band Coldplay, performed a virtual concert yesterday, complete with guitar and piano renditions of fan favorites live on Instagram.


This was the first performance of the “Together, At Home” music series from Global Citizen and the World Health Organization (WHO).


Martin began by saying hello to tens of thousands of fans who joined in, and announcing the motivation behind the virtual concert.


“The right thing to be doing is staying home…and not buying too much toilet paper,” he said.


Martin, a Global Citizen Festival Curator, along with the WHO may have just come up with a perfect antidote to reducing the effects of solitude related to self-quarantine and isolation, as well as working from home (#WFH). While not quite the same as being there IRL, it was certainly a feel-good moment as the reality of the months-long crisis and looming lockdown set in yesterday in the U.S.


Another creative way to engage families and children is to turn to time-honored approaches such as sitting and reading to a group—but done virtually. Christina Geist (@christinasharkeygeist) hosted the digital fireside story last night on Facebook Live, reading her children’s book out loud, Buddy’s Bedtime Battery. What a wonderful way for families to be together and listening to a soothing story of “powering down” in the age of technology.


But let us not forget the benefits of “community” during group exercise. In this case, a fitness instructor in Seville, Spain was able to engage people from their balconies and provide the needed motivation to participate in a a much needed session of calisthenics and stretching.


Lin Manuel-Miranda, the creative broadway actor and producer of the 2015 musical, Hamilton,sought a similar approach to Chris Martin in a Periscope video he shared on Sunday night, as a way to help raise money for The Actors Fund and Broadway Cares. He performed the smash hit “My Shot” from Hamilton.


“Yeah, we’re staying home too; it’s the safe and cool thing to do!”, proclaimed Miranda, as he encouraged everyone to wash their hands and stay home to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.


And for Opera fans, the Metropolitan Opera will now be streaming performances as a way to keep people engaged in the arts. It’s an ingenious way to catch a performance and break up the boredom of endless nights at home.


Tenor and opera singer Maurizio Marchini recently gave an incredible performance from his balcony in Florence, Italy and certainly provided some smiles in the midst of immense suffering that the country has endured. We recognize the therapeutic value of music, and its ability to soothe us in times of suffering. Take a listen!


And last but not least, consider engaging in exercise at home during COVID-19 by using some nifty apps. Down Dog is a free app that can help to ease stress and keep you focused during these challenging times.


Another app, Tone it Up, is free to members for the next month. It features weights, barre, as well as HIIT workouts, along with meditation sessions to complement the workouts. It’s a great way to relieve stress and put perspective on the crunch of tough news with COVID-19.


This article was written by Robert Glatter from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

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