Young Carers Mentor Coordinator, Lily Rice shares her top tips for staying connected in lockdown

Social activities are incredibly important for our mental well-being and whilst we’re all getting used to life under lockdown it can feel hard to know how to keep up with friends and family in fun and engaging ways. Social distancing makes it more important than ever to keep up regular phone and video calls, but it’s tough to know what to talk about when we are at home all day and doing less than we’re used to.

Watching a film or TV show together

Your are not alone in turning to the telly as a way to occupy the extra hours at home. There are now many ways to enjoy a film or TV show with a friend. Netflix Party is an easy to download extension to Netflix that allows you to sync your viewing with a friend and provides a chat box so you can comment along with the show or film. I would recommend comedies or shows with exciting plots twists so you can laugh/ guess the twist together.

Alternatively, simply choosing a new series to watch and then having a phone call after each episode is also a companionable way to share the viewing experience.

Start a virtual book club

Having just moved my own book club online I can say this works really well! We’ve all got books gathering dust around the house that we’ve been meaning to read forever and now is the perfect time to get stuck in. Gather a few friends, agree on a title to read and how much time you want to take (the pace of reading in my club has accelerated since the lockdown which is quite exciting!) and then schedule a group call to discuss the book.

There are lots of free conferencing apps that work well for large groups of people; Skype or Zoom are ideal. Now pour yourself a glass of wine or heat a mug of hot chocolate and sit down to chat about the book.

Take part in an online pub quiz

If you are missing your local pub quiz virtual pub quizzes are springing up to fill the void and keep our minds sharp! If you are lucky, you favourite neighbourhood brainteaser may already be online.  The popular Monday night quiz at The Alexandra in Wimbledon is taking place here while the pub is closed.

Virtual Quiz Events allows charities to organize pub quizzes online and anyone can join in from home. Sign up as a player to find competitions every night of the week on topics ranging from general knowledge to Harry Potter or Gavin and Stacey. Most are free to join with a suggested donation of £2 to the host charity.

Join the Facebook group for Merton Carers

Carers Support Merton Adult Carers Community is a Facebook group for any Merton Carers looking for mutual support, camaraderie and friendship while our face-to-face events are on hold. It's an inclusive, informal space where you can meet your friends, share tips and advice and let off steam if you need to. Head on over to the group page to join the conversation. If you need any help getting started, please let us know.