It’s tough when you want to spend time outside the home to settle for virtual creativity and socialising online. I get it. As someone with disabilities, I can tell you it can be quite tough to see everyone else enjoying their lives while you have to spend time staring at the same four walls.
But no amount of asking other people to stop going out or to not share their photos on Instagram will change your situation. I know there’s a temptation to bunker down and pretend the rest of the world doesn’t exist, but that isn’t healthy.
Instead, there is something you can do – make the most of virtual creativity and socialising
General social media
Social media is a great place for meeting and greeting colleagues. It’s also a place where you have to walk past a lot of crankiness and angst to get to the positive stuff.
Choose your groups wisely. I have mentioned a few places you can hang in previous blogs.
Virtual creativity is a little more complex but also a lot more fun once you get the hang of it. You can make social media more fun are participating in challenges. These challenges help you use your artistic and creative abilities to make connection through creation.
Here are some of the notable challenges you may want to try:
#the100dayproject – designed to build 100 days of art practice
#365project – a photo a day keeps the blues away, especially when you snap and journal each day
#Inktober – get your drawing and illustration on every day in October
#365gratefulproject – be grateful every day of the year through reading and adding to these stories
#100happydayschallenge – focus on the things that give you joy and see if you can be happy a whole 100 days in a row
#MondayFunDay – turn the Monday blues right around by celebrating fun on a Monday
#blackandwhite – flex your black and white photography muscle.
Just be careful that you do your research. The recent #ChallengeAccepted challenge went from being about cancer in 2016 (and even then got a few raspberries for being seen as shallow) via Turkey for women’s rights and into celebrity circles before anyone really knew what the intention really was. The same could be said of #BlackoutTuesday losing meaning and steam.
Virtual social time of a different kind
We’re social creatures. We need to meet up, have fun and play on occasion.
I know this might be tough due to commitments, distance and/or disability, but there are more ways to skin a cat than you expect when it comes to getting social.
Shifting away from only text-based interactions helps.
Here are some of the ways to enjoy virtual social time while engaged in an activity:
- Planning to attend a gig or event. From workshops to gigs to festivals, there is always something to do in creative and business fields. And it’s a great way to meet people in the process. Meetup, Humanitix, Facebook and Eventbrite are full of cool ways to meet people in your local area via interest. With so many artists and the like plying their trade online, you can catch anything from date night gigs to drag shows with a few clicks
- Enjoying a virtual cup of coffee. I occasionally catch up with friends, freelancers and former collaborators for a cup of coffee on Zoom for 30 minutes or so. It does wonders for resetting my head and feeling more connected. Taking things away from text to real time helps keep people in the proper context
- Going to Freelance Jungle events. Make time for these events, please! I have never met anyone who hasn’t at the very least gotten a shot in the arm from being around others. We run them in Sydney, Wollongong, Newcastle, Central Coast, Brisbane, Cairns, Adelaide, Perth and Melbourne usually in person. At the moment, we’ve taken them online via Crafternoon’s with Hayley, and the stress down and not so casual Friday with me.
- Having brainy date nights. Taking my dude out to see something cultural or creative, philosophical or business-orientated has helped him understand me and the life of a freelancer better. This has included attending festivals on ideas, talks by writers, panel discussions on industry needs, and even a Freelance Jungle lunch! Check out your local arts and culture catalogue of events and see what you can plan for. There are a lot of cool ways to shine your noggin
- Have Zoom dinner dates. A friend of mine in New York has taken to alternating cooking on a weekend night with a couple in her building. They leave a meal on the stoop, get dressed up and get on Zoom to have a dinner party. It’s like having friends over when you can’t really do it
- Attending maker classes. Learning to bake bread, how to a podcast, where to find cool foods or threads, and so on can hep expand your creative horizons and meet other freelancers. Check out places like Laneway Learning, Class Bento and Workshop for virtual offerings
- Setting up specific chat groups. It may be online but having chat groups and virtual check in partners can really help you have a safe space to debrief. Other people find this works in Mastermind format. I’m trialing read-a-longs this year. Whatever the case may be, you can add extra connection to your online experience.
- Virtual creativity for productivity. Try virtual coworking or simply having the chat windows open so you can hang around the watercooler together. It sounds weird to think of working on Zoom together, but it’s no weirder than any other virtual socialising. May as well make it truly interesting and Pomodoro your way to the breaks.
- Joining a scene or movement. Community gardening, collaborative consumption, the live music scene, indie film, social justice, disability inclusion, death literacy, and rescuing pets have all given me friendships and healthy outlets. I have friends that have taken up running, Magic the Gathering, communal cooking, zine making, bee keeping and knitting who have all found their gangs. You can always find something to help you connect with other people.
Most of the fun you can have begins with a little online research and/or putting up a tentative RSVP. The next step is to follow through.
We think we never have time, but this isn’t true
It’s easy to get stuck in the rut of doing the same thing over and over again. It’s not until we make a commitment to making time to doing activities that it will happen.
Like all self-care, you have to make it a priority. Swap out the potentially negative habits (collapsing on the couch to mindlessly watch TV while drinking, anyone?) for a more positive one and feel the difference.