By Ankita Singh– Head of content & PR- Souqalmal
Social distancing, self-isolation, self-quarantine – Call it what you may, but there’s no denying that being away from friends and family is going to take a psychological toll on you. To get you through the lockdown, here are some great ways to keep those social interactions going!
As if you weren’t already stressed out enough about the C-virus! Now being locked up inside your homes, so many of you are probably already losing sleep over a dozen other worries – Having to stick to your work schedules remotely, home schooling the kids, ensuring the groceries get delivered on time… the list goes on.
Add to that the fact that you cannot rant about it over a cup of coffee with your friends or catch the next available flight to go see your family back home. Hello, emotional meltdown!
There’s nothing like a pandemic to make us want to connect with other humans on a deeper level. So if you’re thinking about making up with that neighbor you complained to security about, because they were making too much noise, go for it!
Here are a bunch of other great ideas to help you keep your sanity during these trying times.
Video calls can keep your social interactions going
When it comes to connecting with your friends, do things together, but apart! How about watching a movie together while you’re connected on a video call, or doing a virtual pot luck dinner?
Wondering which video calling apps are blocked in the UAE, and which ones aren’t? This breakdown has all the information you need.
UAE lifts ban on some video calling apps
Just recently, the UAE’s telecom regulator announced that the popular video calling platform Zoom Cloud Meetings was now available on all mobile and fixed line networks in the UAE. The ban on two VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) platforms – Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts – has also been lifted.
Options from Du & Etisalat
The usual subscription-based internet calling plans from Du and Etisalat are on the market too. These plans allow you to make voice and video calls through apps like BOTIM, C’ME and HiU – Messenger. Subscriptions start at AED 50 per month for prepaid and postpaid connections. There’s also an AED 5 per day subscription available for prepaid connections.
Good News – Just last week, Du announced that it was introducing free access to the voice and video calling app – Voico UAE. This service will be available for all residents free of charge until 20 May, 2020.
What about WhatsApp, Skype or FaceTime?
Some of the world’s most popular services like WhatsApp, Skype and FaceTime are still blocked for voice and video calls in the UAE. However, given the current circumstances we cannot rule out a change in this status quo!
Hang out with your neighbors, from the comfort of your home!
People living in apartments are going to love this. You can sit in your balcony and have a chat with your next door neighbor, or the ones that live right above or below your apartment. Pandemic-talk is the obvious ice breaker! Some of the more talented folks amongst us are taking it one notch higher. Just the other day, there was a lady playing the violin on her balcony for all neighbors.
It’s also great to see everybody get out on their balconies in the evening to applaud and cheer for health care and civil workers doing so much to keep the country going. So while you’re at it, stick around a bit longer, and have a conversation with your neighbor.
Join an online club that interests you
Dubai is all about online clubs and virtual communities. You can find all kinds of online groups on FaceBook that bring together residents with similar interests. Be it an online book club, a weekly quiz club, a community of avid foodies, or a group of people interested in interior design – There’s something for everyone.
Make time for game night
While there are thousands of multiplayer games available online, how about you try something different. We hear Instagram Bingo has become quite popular. You can also play popular games like Pictionary, Heads Up and Charades on a Zoom video call with your friends. And hey, karaoke is always a fun idea too!
Need an online therapy session?
If a social therapy session with your friends isn’t helping you deal with some of the deeper issues and anxieties you’re facing at the moment, speak to a therapist. Check with some trusted psychologists and counselors in the city, if they can book you in for an online therapy session.
If you’re an entrepreneur reeling under the impact of this crisis…
If you are a founder of a company, you must be feeling extremely stressed out about how to keep your business running during this crisis. A great idea would be to gather together a few of the other founders you know on a regular basis, and set up a zoom call to openly talk about issues you are facing. Remember you are not in this alone.
Have some other cool ideas on socializing that you’d like to share with our readers? Tell us more in the comments section below!