how to have a good night in

Virtual Socialising

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Most of us are currently self-isolating and social distancing due to coronavirus, and as a result many of us are separated from friends, family and loved ones.

Luckily, we’re living in the digital age, and being physically apart from someone no longer means that you can’t see or interact with them.

Here are some of our recommendations on how best to keep in contact with the people you love, and suggestions on some fun activities you can try too.

Staying connected with people you love is more important than ever as being alone for long periods of time can seriously affect your mental health.

1. Which app should I use?

You’ve scheduled in a time to chat with someone – great! Now to the technicalities of how you’re going to speak to them

If everyone you’re planning on chatting to has an Apple device, you can do a group FaceTime. Up to 32 people can join one call!

Not keen on iPhones? Google Hangouts or Zoom is for you. Both are pretty easy to set up and can be used on most devices.

If you already have a group chat on Facebook or Whatsapp, then you can do your group call from there! Simply go to the chat and press the call button in the top right-hand corner.

Skype and Microsoft Teams are two other apps that can be used for video conferencing.

Want to play a game while you chat? Houseparty is what you need. It can be accessed on both phone and desktop.

2. Bring the pub to you

Us Brits love our pubs, but just because they’re all shut it doesn’t mean you have to miss out! Why don’t you try bringing the pub to you?

Schedule in a time with your mates and have your favourite beverage to hand. You could even try making a Quarantini!

Feeling nostalgic about the pub quizzes you used to take part in? Throw that nostalgia in the bin as there’s a way you can take part in a pub quiz without leaving your home.

Spectacular Pub Quizzes host regular themed quizzes online that are free to enter, with a voluntary £5 donation to Video chat with your mates as you watch the livestream, and it will almost feel like being at your local!

You can also play trivia games on Houseparty or you could even host your own!

3. Netflix and chill?

Miss snuggling up and watching Netflix with that special someone? Promised a mate you wouldn’t watch another episode of Peaky Blinders without them but are desperate to find out what happens next? Stress not, Netflix Party is here to solve all your problems.

Netflix Party is a Chrome browser extension that works on PC and laptop. It allows you to watch anything on Netflix in sync with anyone you share the link with!

It’s super easy to set up and use, plus it has an optional chat on the right hand side of the screen that you can use to communicate with your friends if you don’t fancy video chatting.

4. Get gaming

Whether you already enjoy gaming or are just looking for a fun way to kill time with your mates, online gaming is a brilliant way to pass the time.

If you’re into online multiplayer games, give Fortnite, Call of Duty: Warzone, Grant Theft Auto Online or Rocket League a go.

If it’s more chilled, cooperative games that you’re after, try Stardew Valley, Minecraft, Town of Salem or Animal Crossing – either in mobile app form in Pocket Camp or the new switch game New Horizons.

Fancy some party games? Try the Jackbox Party Pack or Cards Against Humanity. Probably best played with friends over family!

More into old school board and card games? Check out Pogo, it’s got loads of games such as Monopoly, Yahtzee and Solitaire.

5. Warm up your vocal cords

To some, the idea of doing karaoke is horrifying and mortifying. To others, it’s a great way to have a laugh with some mates while singing some seriously questionable tunes.

To the latter group of people, we’ve got some great news for you: you can now do karaoke in the comfort of your own home!

Here’s how you set it up: first, decide on a video chat app – any that we’ve suggested above will do fine.

Secondly, appoint a karaoke master and let them control Watch2Gether. It’s a platform that allows users to watch videos at the exact same time – therefore being in sync with singing!

Here’s a Google Doc with further instructions if you’re interested.

Just try to be considerate of your neighbours when you’re belting out the impossible notes on Bohemian Rhapsody!

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