Blog / Covid -19
My virtual dinner for 4

In this time of social distancing, keeping up spirits and minding morale in the household is very important. It is not wrong to have a little fun and it does not mean that we are unaware of the enormity of this time and of the mammoth task being undertaken by our health service.  My area of competence is in all matters emotional and psychological and as the weekend rolls in and maybe many more, we need to be creative and positive to stay healthy and at home.

With this in mind I  think that we can still have the punctuation of some weekend social, if we use our online in a different way. Last Sunday, as much to experiment as for anything else, I set up a virtual dinner with my niece and her husband using the online space of Zoom, which I’ve been using for online clinical sessions for the past 2 years. I was interested to see how this would work, or indeed if it would work at all in the social context.

As I had the zoom account I set up the meeting.The format for doing this is that the host, me in this case, invites others to join into the meeting room. This is done by email or phone message. While I did this I,tongue in cheek, suggested a time for dinner and dress code “casual”.

At the appointed time, Ding Dong we were there. My husband and I, side-by- side  at our table and they, side-by-side at theirs. The chat began and frankly never stopped for two hours, each taking their turn telling the stories, what has happened in the week, how everyone will manage in this new reality of social distancing and isolation and if and how this kind of meet up would be helpful.

The conversation flowed as easily as any other night. One added benefit that was observed was that no one can really talk over the other, as it all gets a bit noisy online and one person cannot divert into individual conversations. In some respects this added to the night as the conversation had the attention of all four of us at all times. We all concluded that it was great fun, a real connection and frankly very uplifting.

It had that feeling that you get after a night out that you have more to talk about afterward with your partner, more to share and laughs to remember. It was a genuine mood lift.

It made me think of how this can be helpful in the time ahead. I think it’s a good idea to think of it as a treat, something to look forward to rather than an everyday event. Just like you wouldn’t socialize every night, it’s best at the end of the week.

Set up a particular time with another couple, or a friend, parents or grandparents. It is an arranged social time  where you share the meal while you talk and give  each other full attention.

I think this will become more important as the weeks  continue. People will need to punctuate the weekend, have something to look forward to. This is a suggestion worth trying.

This Friday night we have four couples joining and although I could have done it any night as we are all staying home, it has been something to look forward to all week.

I’ll let you know how that goes.