How to get your social 5-a-day if you’re feeling lonely and isolated during the pandemic

Worry no more – we are here to help you emerge from your duvet cocoon as a social butterfly

(Photo by Priscilla Du Preez)

Scientists recommend that you get 5 types of social interaction a day to stay happy and healthy – a bit like with your fruit and veg. That’s all well and good, but it is more complicated than it seems when you’re living through a global pandemic, you haven’t left your room in weeks, and your under-watered pot plants have become your closest friends. However, if you take a leaf out of the Flounder book and set your expectations REALLY low, it is possible to convince yourself that you have a thriving social life. Give yourself a pat on the back if you’ve managed any of these thrilling types of socialising recently:

socialising dog
Every dog is a good boy (Photo by Alison Pang)

1. Pet a dog in the street, then awkwardly remember there’s a human attached to it at the other end of the lead and exchange shy pleasantries.

socialising ice cream
Treat yourself, you’ve earned it (Photo by Steve Shreve)

2. Overshare about the contents of your basket to the checkout worker at the corner shop, who knows that despite all your protests the three tubs of Ben & Jerry’s are all for you.

Bless your nan, she means well (Photo by Christian Bowen)

3. Spend an hour shouting down the phone at your well-meaning grandparents who can’t figure out how to work the volume buttons on the smartphones they reluctantly own.

socialising on Zoom
It’s okay, no one can see the mess in the other end of the room (Photo by Paige Cody)

4. Make small talk with work colleagues about the posters, wall art and intellectual books they have carefully curated in the back of their Zoom frame to appear well-adjusted and chic.

socialising in the park
Tinnies in the park is a timeless socialising classic (Photo by Robert Bye)

5. Catch up with friends in a socially distanced and respectable way by getting drunk on cheap cider in the park, even though you stopped being able to feel your hands two pints ago.