It’s about 4 months in since quarantine life, stay-at-home orders, and so many public places and private shops have closed in my area of the U.S. Life has been wild. I’m sure it has been the same with you too.

How My Life has Changed Socially

The biggest change for me since my last post is that I moved last year. When I moved, I pretty much had no friends and family in the area. For a normal person, the thought of moving somewhere where you’d be can be terrifying, but thankfully, I’ve had enough uncertainty in my life to make this something I am not that afraid of doing (I’ve studied and worked abroad in foreign countries… I’ve also moved a lot and lived in foster homes as a child).

The first thing I realized I needed to do was to lay a social foundation. Of course, I followed my own advice on how to make friends when you have none. I was friendly to people in my neighborhood, I signed up for extracurricular classes, I chatted with people at my gym, I invited people from my new job out, and I used Meetup, one of the best places for meeting random people with a common interest. I wouldn’t say that I made good friends, but I had acquaintances, and given the time frame, that’s all I can ask for.

Then COVID-19 hit.

Suddenly, my extracurricular classes closed. My work office closed. I was working (thankfully) from home everyday. I would only leave my home once a week to get groceries. I was not talking to people except coworkers and clients in the course of work. As for virtual socializing and Zoom? That was an awful reminder of how important chatting with people in-person was. It didn’t matter if it was my friends — talking on Zoom felt like talking to recorded video of friends.

Tip #1: Preserve your sanity — get out of the house

The best thing I could do was to get out of the house. I think a lot of people will agree with me when I say that staying home all day and reading the fear-mongering news (because that’s how they maximize viewership and revenue) and not having regular social interactions with people is a quickest way to mental hell.

Even with our social lives in limbo, I found that getting out of the house and out into nature did wonders to my mental state. Being among trees, beaches, and wildlife was a calming experience. Not to also mention, it is much safer in the country side and forest, due to there being lots of space between people.

Tip #2: Keep telling yourself to be grateful for what you have

During this time, I’ve begun to hate my work even more. My perks like travel, training, and free lunches were no longer part of the job, and that irritated me. In fact, I kept thinking about how this year could’ve gone, and that’s made me think I’m losing out. And many others are thinking this — people that couldn’t have a real graduation, people that finished school and can’t get a job, people who worked in restaurants and are now unemployed, and people opening businesses this year are all thinking about “what could’ve been.”

Envy is the death of happiness — this is true when you’re a dirt poor farmer or living in the most technologically advanced time in history and in one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Talk with yourself or others about what you are grateful for. Our state of mind is affected by our perception, and our perceptions can change, because they literally exist in our mind. For myself, I am grateful to be employed. I am grateful to make enough money to then spend on Zoom classes for my hobbies and support take out from local restaurants. I am grateful to have a car so that I can go out of the city when I want. Finally, I am grateful for this web camera I bought, which I am using to record vlogs, as my newfound hobby!

Tip #3: Keep working on your life! Structure your days/weeks.

No matter what your goals are, whether it’s to make more money, to find a job, or to grow your social life (this is called “Social Shiners” afterall), THINK OF THE FUTURE! This COVID19 coronavirus situation will eventually pass next year as the vaccine comes out. When that time comes, you’ll want to be the lynx in the forest, ready to chase pounce on your goals and not the lazy cat at home who can’t get off the couch.

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To do this, you need to do foundational work during this time. And as someone who is lazy and has ADHD, let me tell you, the best way is to schedule these tasks into your day or week on a recurring level, so that everyday at X time, you know where you need to be or what to do.

Want a new job next year?

Schedule time slot every day you can use for

  • online learning
  • studying for certifications
  • networking, messaging, and talking with people on Linkedin

Want to change your body by next year?

  • create a dietary plan for EVERY DAY (for example, I wanted to lose some fat, so I am on an 1800 calorie diet everyday — 300 breakfast, 600 lunch, 600 dinner, and 300 about 3 hours before bed)
  • continue to work out on a schedule and make it consistent every week (I couldn’t go to the gym, so I was doing pull ups, push ups, and abs Monday Wednesday Friday)
  • if you especially lazy, pay for an online class or coach and just show up — the coach/trainer will motivate you to do the rest

Want a better social life by next year? 

  • Keep practicing your social skills by joining random internet live video or chats like Quarantine Chat, Periscope,¬†Instagram Live feeds, StreamNow, LiveStream (I’ve done this for a dating app and found it a good place to practice, cause it’s a whole bunch of strangers)
  • Keep in touch with current friends by scheduling short video calls or Zooms with them
  • Don’t ignore Meetup! My most successful scenario of remote socializing comes from Meetup. We were doing Zoom calls for months, and eventually we saw recurring faces and got to know each other a little better. As quarantine is lifted, we are having some in-person meetups now and enjoy comfort b/c we were getting to familiarize with other from all those Zoom calls.
  • For training, one of the best channels on Youtube is called “Charisma on Command”, which is a great channel to discuss social interactions. It’s an intermediate level of social skill, but there are great elementary level videos too — you should binge on these as part of your Social Shiner goal!

Let me know how you’re doing

I’m always here to hear you out. If you’ve read my blog, you’ll know I’ve been in the dumps socially in the past. Feel free to comment.