11 Ways to Stay Connected While Social Distancing

gorodenkoff/iStock via Getty Images
gorodenkoff/iStock via Getty Images

If you have an internet connection, it’s easy to keep yourself entertained in quarantine. Having fun with loved ones while practicing social distancing is a little more complicated. It’s important to stay connected to friends and family now more than ever, and that doesn’t just mean calling them on the phone. You may not be able to go out with the people in your life right now, but with a little creativity, you can find new ways to socialize virtually from home.

1. Join a book club.

A book club is a great way to make a solitary activity into a social one. After picking one book to read with your group, schedule a video conference where you can virtually discuss it. Because there can’t be a single host, urge everyone to provide their own wine and personal cheese plates.

2. Host a Netflix Party.

Bing-watching Netflix is one behavior that hasn’t changed for many of us since quarantine started. With the browser extension Netflix Party, you can continue this habit in good company. Get your friends to install the plug-in, pick a movie or show to watch on Netflix, and enjoy a synchronized viewing experience. The movie will start at the same time for everyone, and pause at the same time if someone has to step away for any reason. 

3. Schedule a star-gazing night.

Netflix isn’t the only thing you can watch together with a friend in real time. If you’re miles apart from a loved one, make plans to step outside your homes and look up at the sky one night. You can point out planets and constellations together on a voice or video call. 

4. Cook the same recipe.

Share a virtual Sunday night dinner.Jovanmandic/iStock via Getty Images

Many of us are spending more time than usual making food for ourselves at home. One way to keep cooking from getting tedious is to invite someone to cook along with you. Find a recipe online you both can make (a.k.a one that uses easy-to-find ingredients or items you already have in your pantries) and schedule a time to make it together. Even if you can’t host a dinner party right now, chatting and cooking with a loved one in your respective kitchens is a pretty good compromise. Don’t forget to compare your culinary masterpieces before digging in.

5. Sing bedroom karaoke.

Singing at your computer when you’re alone may feel weird, but to be fair, singing in front of strangers in a bar is also weird. Karaoke is the perfect way to burn off some pent-up stress and energy after being stuck inside all day (or month). Set up a video conference with your friends, look up the instrumental versions of your go-to karaoke tunes, and start passing around the virtual mic. By the time you hit the chorus, you’ll find that belting your lungs out in your empty bedroom is easier than you thought.

6. Put on a fashion show.

After working in your pajamas for weeks, you may find yourself actually missing the uncomfortable yet fabulous clothing items in your closet. Luckily, you don’t need to wait for a special occasion to wear them. Put on a virtual fashion show with your friends where you show off your fanciest, most impractical outfits in a video call. Use this as an opportunity to bust out the tuxedo you bought for that canceled April wedding, or the heels you own that you can’t stand in for more than 10 minutes. Copious screenshots are highly encouraged.

7. Sign up for a group yoga class.

Work out together, but separately. Prostock-Studio/iStock via Getty Images

Since yoga studios have had to shutter, many instructors have taken their practices online. Find a live video yoga class happening at a time that works for you and tell your friends to participate. It’s a good way to stay connected on days when you feel too emotionally drained for a virtual happy hour. If the class is free, don’t forget to make a donation to the instructor to thank them for their time.

8. Throw a painting party.

Real-life art classes may be canceled, but you can still get some friends together on video to exercise your creative muscles. Ask everyone to assemble their supplies (if they don’t have paints and a canvas, colored pencils, crayons, printer paper, or whatever they have at home works fine) and pick an artwork to recreate. It didn’t matter if there aren’t any Picassos in your friend group—half the fun is laughing over everyone’s attempts as you go.

9. Organize a game of charades.

Visual games that don’t require any special equipment are ideal for virtual game nights. Charades fits this bill perfectly. You don’t even need to split into teams or draw slips from a hat; just have everyone take turns acting out the movie (or book, TV show, etc.) of their choice while the rest of the party guesses. If you need ideas, there are plenty of tools online that generate suggestions of things to act out.

10. Play a board game.

Board games are a classic activity for when you’re stuck at home, and you don’t need a full house to play them. Many popular games—including Clue, Monopoly, and Catan—are available to play as apps. Assemble a virtual board game crew and agree on a game to download. Just make sure to only invite people you can trust to not cheat when they’re hiding behind a phone screen.

11. Start a Dungeons & Dragons campaign.

You don’t need to be an expert in high fantasy to enjoy Dungeons & Dragons. You don’t even need to own a 20-sided dice (there are plenty virtual dice rollers online). Part improv, part game of chance, D&D is for anyone who wants a creative outlet they can share with friends on a semi-regular basis. And because the game mostly consists of narrating what your character is doing, it’s perfect for a group video call. Dungeons & Dragons tools like rule books are now available digitally if you’re looking to get started at home.

Amazon's Under-the-Radar Coupon Page Features Deals on Home Goods, Electronics, and Groceries

Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Now that Prime Day is over, and with Black Friday and Cyber Monday still a few weeks away, online deals may seem harder to come by. And while it can be a hassle to scour the internet for promo codes, buy-one-get-one deals, and flash sales, Amazon actually has an extensive coupon page you might not know about that features deals to look through every day.

As pointed out by People, the coupon page breaks deals down by categories, like electronics, home & kitchen, and groceries (the coupons even work with SNAP benefits). Since most of the deals revolve around the essentials, it's easy to stock up on items like Cottonelle toilet paper, Tide Pods, Cascade dishwasher detergent, and a 50 pack of surgical masks whenever you're running low.

But the low prices don't just stop at necessities. If you’re looking for the best deal on headphones, all you have to do is go to the electronics coupon page and it will bring up a deal on these COWIN E7 PRO noise-canceling headphones, which are now $80, thanks to a $10 coupon you could have missed.

Alternatively, if you are looking for deals on specific brands, you can search for their coupons from the page. So if you've had your eye on the Homall S-Racer gaming chair, you’ll find there's currently a coupon that saves you 5 percent, thanks to a simple search.

To discover all the deals you have been missing out on, head over to the Amazon Coupons page.

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The Longest Movie Ever Made Would Take You More Than 35 Days to Watch Straight Through

Nishant Kirar, Unsplash
Nishant Kirar, Unsplash

A typical movie lasts between 90 minutes and two hours, and for some viewers, any film that exceeds that window is "long." But the longest film you've ever seen likely has nothing on Logistics—a record-breaking project released in Sweden in 2012. Clocking in at a total runtime of 35 days and 17 hours, Logistics is by far the longest movie ever made.

Logistics isn't your standard Hollywood epic. Conceived and directed by Swedish filmmakers Erika Magnusson and Daniel Andersson, it's an experimental film that lacks any conventional structure. The concept started with the question: Where do all the gadgets come from? Magnusson and Andersson attempted to answer that question by following the life cycle of a pedometer.

The story begins at a store in Stockholm, where the item is sold, then moves backwards to chronicle its journey to consumers. Logistics takes viewers on a truck, a freight train, a massive container ship, and finally to a factory in China's Bao'an district. The trip unfolds in real time, so audiences get an accurate sense of the time and distance required to deliver gadgets to the people who use them on the other side of the world.

Many people would have trouble sitting through some of the longest conventional films in history. Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet (1996) lasts 242 minutes, and Joseph L. Mankiewicz's Cleopatra (1963) is a whopping 248 minutes long. But sitting down to watch all 857 hours of Logistics straight through is nearly physically impossible.

Fortunately, it's not the only way to enjoy this work of art. On the project's website, Logistics has been broken down into short, two-minute clips—one for each day of the journey. You can watch the abridged version of the epic experiment here.