As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many folks are starting to feel the emotional and physical toll of self-isolation and social distancing. And though staying healthy is more important than ever, that includes taking care of our mental health too. One way to protect both our bodies and minds is creating a social bubble.
What is a social bubble?
A social bubble, or pod, is a group of no more than ten people that exclusively hang out with each other. The goal is to continue social interaction, while also being careful about protecting yourself from infection. With a bubble, you ensure your group of people only get together with each other to protect from outside infection.
Why is a social bubble a good idea?
Humans are social creatures, so it's no surprise social distancing and self isolation has affected us emotionally and mentally. Since the pandemic began, more people have experienced feelings of anxiety, depression, and isolation. Building a social bubble can help ease some of those tough feelings and nurture our minds. Consider it a way to safely socialize with people you care about.
How to start a social bubble
1. Select a group of people to create your bubble. It should be no more than ten people.
Your living situation will impact what your social bubble looks like. If you live with your family and/or with children, creating a bubble with another family may be a good idea. If you live with room mates, you may all want to consider being in a social bubble together and/or with another group of people living together. If you live alone, you might want to reach out to your friend groups to see if they'd like to create a bubble with you. Again, the smaller the group the better.
2. Create guidelines and ground rules for your bubble.
Make sure you've created a group with folks who you trust, and are on the same page of staying safe and being careful. A bubble only works if everyone follows the rules you've all created. Once you've all agreed to create a bubble, schedule a Zoom call where everyone can discuss what they're comfortable with and establish some rules. Communication is key.
3. Talk about goals and intentions.
Obviously, your main reason to create a bubble is to maintain a healthy social life with human interaction. In addition, talk with your group about activities and things you want to do with your bubble. For example, discuss if you want to do group park picnics, game nights, happy hours, or movies nights. Setting expectations and boundaries for the bubble will set you up for success.
4. Discuss time frame.
Talk to your bubble about how long you all want to stay in the bubble. Again, setting expectations for how long you want to have your bubble is important for communication.
5. Prepare for some awkwardness.
Everyone has different boundaries and comfort levels when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sharing those differences with your potential group may feel a little awkward or formal, but it's important to get through nevertheless.