Keeping in Touch with Friends and Family During the Pandemic and its Importance


Jenna Carrothers, Staff Writer

With Covid-19 cases reaching record highs, Washington State Governor, Jay Inslee recently released new guidelines for residents to follow. The new guidelines include restricting indoor gatherings with people outside of someone’s household, unless there is a quarantine period of 14 days prior or quarantine for seven days and get a negative covid test. The new guidelines have also reduced outdoor, social distanced gatherings to just five people. These guidelines went into effect on November 16th and are going to last until at least January 4th, 2021. Some people may feel unhappy or sad about these new guidelines, not because they think they are unnecessary, but because the guidelines will restrict them from seeing friends and loved ones. With holidays like Christmas and New Years quickly approaching, this adjustment may be extremely hard for some people to accept. Although, visiting friends and some family is currently prohibited for the most part, this doesn’t mean that cutting off contact completely is in order. There are still plenty of ways to connect with those held dearest. 


Ways to Stay in Touch With Friends and Family:


Video Chat

One of the easiest ways to communicate with friends and loved ones and still follow the current restrictions is video chat. There are many different forms of video chatting including; Facetime (iOS), Google Meets, Zoom, Skype, Google Duo, etc. 




Virtual Games 

There is also the option of playing virtual games together! These games are available through many different platforms. Snapchat, iMessage, and other communication apps offer plenty of games to keep friends entertained for hours. There are also apps that were created purely just for playing games together, such as Psych, Pictionary, Words With Friends, etc.




Virtual Games + Video Chat 

Some apps have even combined games and video chat, so that a group of people can have a live conversation and play games together at the same time. Apps that offer this service are Houseparty, Bunch, etc..



Movie Streaming + Video Chat

Miss going to the movie theater with friends? Well, one of the best alternatives to this is using the app Teleparty. This app allows a group of people to watch a movie together while also video chatting. An experience that can seem pretty close to the real thing!




Sending Letters/Postcards 

A fun way to mix up communication is to send letters or postcards to friends and loved ones. With most people spending more time on screens than usual, this is a good way to get their eyes off the screen for a while. Something about the anticipation of waiting for a letter back to arrive brings a different type of excitement, that awaiting a text back doesn’t provide!




Phone call

There is also the old reliable phone call, for those who don’t have a device that supports video chat or just enjoy the simplicity. Though this option may be one of the simplest ways to get in touch with people, it is still very effective. 



Outdoor Gathering 

Tired of staying home, and in dire need of an outing and a good, in-person conversation? Try an outdoor gathering with a group of no more than five people (to abide by the new guidelines). There are many different ways this can be accomplished, one way is a social distanced car meet up, where people sit in their own car and talk with friends who are also in their own vehicle. Another way is gathering around a fire pit, socially distanced of course. 



Pandemic Affects Mental Health and the Importance of Maintaining Relationships 


Ever since the beginning of quarantine back in March, the rate at which people have been experiencing things like depression, anxiety, stress, etc. has increased drastically. Not being able to leave the house as much or even at all, financial instability, fear of contracting the virus, fear for the safety of those held closest, and many other things that have come along with this pandemic can all cause people to feel unsound. In times like these, it is very important to stay in touch with friends and family. Maintaining relationships and keeping in touch can be very beneficial to a person’s mental health, especially if they’re experiencing things like anxiety and depression. 


This pandemic has also sparked the possibility for people to grow closer to those that they live with. For most, immediate family are the people they spend most of their time with these days, so don’t spend this time trying to avoid these people, use the pandemic as an excuse to form bonds and strengthen relationships. Growing closer to those within close vicinity, will not only be of benefit during these unprecedented times, it may also nourish relationships and build them so that they have the potential to stay strong for an entire lifetime. 


How Tumwater Highschool Students Have Reacted to the Pandemic 


The pandemic affects everyone differently. Although things like anxiety and depression have become more common since the beginning of quarantine, some have only been slightly affected or not affected at all. A variety of anonymous students from Tumwater Highschool are a prime example of how everyone differs in their view and the way they’ve been feeling during the pandemic.

Everyone has their own ways of keeping in touch with friends and family, this chart shows how a group of Tumwater high school students has been receiving some much needed human interaction. 

This is a difficult time for almost everyone, the uncertainty of what tomorrow holds can seem unbearable at times. Through all of this hardship it is important to remember that everyone has someone looking out for them. Whether that be a guardian, a sibling, a grandparent, a teacher, or a person in their community. Talking to someone can make a world of difference in the way someone feels. Even though virtual social interactions may not feel the same as the real thing, they are an important way for people to keep their loved ones safe, but still reap the benefits accompanied by social interaction. Remember that this time is only temporary, and everyone will be able to continue on with their lives soon. 


Words From Tumwater High School Students to Help People who are Struggling During These Hard Times


“This’ll be over soon, life will go back to normal, don’t worry.”

“I understand that right now is super hard, but one of my favorite quotes is ‘you can’t have a rainbow without the rain’. So after this rough patch we’re going through everything will start correcting itself. Another thing to think of is that if you don’t experience sadness and hardship you would never know what it would feel like to be happy. So you got this!” 

“Just know that this will end and make sure to take care of yourself and your mental health, try to maintain relationships that are valuable to you so you don’t feel all alone.” 

“Find something that brings [you] joy and focus on it. If [you] don’t have anything then it is time to start trying new activities.”

“Just keep going and thing about how fun gatherings will be once this is all over”

“There’s light at the end of every tunnel you just have to know look back”

“Listen to music. It helps me.” 

“We will get through this someday!”