I’m finding, as are a lot of us, that one of the most important elements in maintaining one’s sanity these days is staying connected with your community. Zoom may have been created initially for business purposes, but as I’m sure we can all attest, it is being used for much more these days. Finding a way to connect regularly with a community in which you self-identify is important for all of us, working moms and single people alike, even when we are not quarantined. Now that we aren’t getting much in-person interaction outside of our immediate family, it is crucial for our mental and spiritual health. Here are five ways to connect with your community during the COVID-19 quarantine that have been working for me, and I hope will help you too.
A Weekly Standing Zoom Call
Have a weekly standing call with other people who are in the similar circumstances so that you can connect, commiserate, and share strategies. In regular life I am part of a group called The Cleveland Park Moms, Cleveland Park being the neighborhood in which I live in D.C. It is an online list-serve where we buy, sell, and give things away as well as ask for kid recommendations and advice. A smaller group of us get together for drinks about once a month and hold clothing swaps twice a year. Kirstin, our intrepid leader and the hardest working mom (of three boys!) I know, figured out as soon as school was cancelled how much we all needed a once-a-week call. Our standing call is at 9pm on Tuesday nights, so late enough that the kids are supposed to be in bed (ha!) and we can relax without guilt. Every week I leave the call feeling better not only because I’ve heard the trials and tribulations others are having during this time, but also because I’ve gathered actionable information. Some gems I’ve gotten from the other moms are a website for printable mazes that my kids are loving, the suggestion of an indoor trampoline (unfortunately my husband is not biting on this one!), and You Tube dancing videos my kids have used to get indoor exercise while I get some work done. It also makes me feel better to be able to offer the other moms some information I have such as the good, free learning apps we are using.
Bring Your Normal Social Routine Online
I have never been a “girls night out” kind of person. I chalk it up to how little alcohol I drink and being an introvert. However, beside the aforementioned Cleveland Park Moms’ nights out I would make it to every few months, I also attended a book group that I really enjoyed pre-pandemic. It got me back into reading novels and let me see a group of friends regularly that I wouldn’t otherwise. I was thrilled that the group decided to continue reading new books and holding our meetings virtually. Our next book is The Silent Patient. I’m not finished yet though, so no spoilers! I listen to most of the books on Audible. Do you have a regular group that meets up which could continue meeting virtually? Pretend you are leaving the house, get dressed up, and put on makeup!
Attend Your Religious Community’s Services
If you are already part of a religious community, and many of us with kids are, attend services! I find that spiritual leaders have many wonderful thoughts to share these days that don’t even involve religion necessarily. Our synagogue is holding Friday night services by Zoom, and posting family friendly services on You Tube. See above a screen shot from the Tiny Desk edition of Young Family Shabbat! They were smart enough to realize right away that it didn’t make sense to try to broadcast the same service they normally hold in the sanctuary. Instead, they focus on the prayers over the Shabbat table. Having a real Shabbat meal is not something we usually have time for in real life, so this has the effect of making us treasure this time, as oppposed to feeling as if we are missing something. Although I did really feel as if I was missing challah when I didn’t have any the first time we did this. This may be the motivation I need to finally make challah myself when Passover is over this Friday. If I can find enough flour and yeast, that is! Attending services on Friday night, Saturday or Sunday mornings, also helps to mark the end of the week when all of the days seem to be running together. Make a ritual of it and enjoy the time by yourself or with your family. Mr. Real Life Style and I have been sending the kids to the playroom and enjoying the adult Shabbat services as a pseudo 45 minute date.
Connect With Old Friends and Family
Not sure what to do with the kids or yourself on the weekends? Break up the time by scheduling Zoom calls with old friends with whom you usually only have time to exchange holiday cards, or the cousins they love but only get to see once a year. I had been trying to schedule a FaceTime call with a friend in Paris for months but never did because we had to coordinate between work, school, the time difference, and our kids’ schedules. We were able to work it out the first weekend of the pandemic, which felt like such a gift. Make those holiday cards come to life!
Find Your Community Online and Follow It
Find a podcast, blog, or Instagram account that feels like “your people” and follow it closely. Long time readers of my blog know that my favorite podcast is Best of Both Worlds because it was created to help working moms live a fuller life. (I was a guest earlier this week. Listen to the podcast here!) Some of you follow my blog and subscribe to my newsletter. A blog I follow closely for the fashion, but you may want to follow also if you are a sitting out the pandemic as a single woman, is Girls of A Certain Age by Kim France, the founding editor of Lucky Magazine. Find someone online to whom you can relate and follow along as they quarantine. Don’t just read blogs online, subscribe to the publisher’s newsletter and follow their Instagram account so you get their personal notes and thoughts.
I hope some of these tips were helpful! How are you finding community during the COVID-19 quarantine? Want to ask me more questions? I’ll be chatting live with Samantha Dong of ALLY Shoes this Friday at 3pm for A Working Mom’s Survival Guide to Covid-19 Quarantine. Register and submit your questions here. We will be chatting about these strategies as well as 5 Strategies to Balance Homeschooling with Work. A replay will be available later.
Lani Inlander is a personal stylist who has been working with clients who want to feel their best and look put-together every day for over 20 years. You can find her in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Learn how you can train with Lani to become a personal stylist at The Stylist Studio.
You can find Lani Inlander and Real Life Style on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.