Social distancing guidelines and capacity limits at restaurants, sporting venues and other popular indoor places have caused us all to adjust — and sometimes eliminate — many of our favorite activities. These changes help keep us and others safe; however, spending so many hours staring at the same four walls can also leave us feeling lonely, bored and physically cut off from other people.

Now more than ever, it’s important to find ways to engage with fellow community members safely. Thankfully, there are plenty of virtual events to entertain, inspire and give you an opportunity to spend time with others remotely. If you need some ideas, check out these tips and suggestions.

Follow community social media pages

Many communities post regularly on their Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages. Be sure to follow these social media accounts, check them regularly or sign up for email or text alerts to notify you about upcoming events. Also, attending a town hall or city council meeting on Zoom keeps you informed about what’s happening in your local area.

Take virtual painting, crafting or community enrichment classes

Many local community enrichment classes have moved to online instruction. From hobbies like knitting, cooking, creative writing and playing guitar to understanding personal finances and trying Zumba, virtual classes allow you to connect with others who share your interests. Check your city’s website and social media pages, or simply search for “Online Zumba classes in my area” to get started.

Attend an online book club at a local public library or bookstore

Reading books expands your knowledge, engages your mind and enables you to “escape” your everyday life and enter the story world. While many public libraries and bookstores have suspended in-person story hours and other activities, some currently offer virtual book clubs, magic shows and themed informational events for community members of all ages to enjoy. Call your nearest library or bookstore to learn more about local online offerings.

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Embark on a virtual museum or historical tour

Many local museums and historical sites offer online tours for art and history buffs. Is your town known for its art museum, a historic mansion or garden, or a centuries-old train depot? Do a Google search of nearby museums and local historical hot spots, then call or check their websites to see if you can take a virtual tour.

Though unnecessary travel is discouraged right now, you can explore famous places all over the world from the comfort of home. A few of the world-renowned museums presenting virtual tours and exhibits include:

  1. British Museum in London
  2. National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
  3. Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam
  4. Uffizi Gallery in Florence
  5. Guggenheim in New York

The tours referenced above are presented in partnership with Google Arts & Culture and may require an iOS or Android app download to explore.

Help a local or national charity organization

Many local and national charity organizations need volunteers now more than ever. Finding ways to safely support nonprofits and foundations that help others can make a big difference in the lives around you — and help boost your spirits by doing a kind deed.

Whether you distribute food boxes at your local food bank to drive-up recipients, hand out boxed lunches to needy families of online students or transport blood to local hospitals and United Way facilities via your local United Way chapter, there are lots of ways to give your time safely while helping people in your community and beyond.

Overall, finding ways to engage safely with others around you can break up a monotonous routine, lift your spirits, expand your horizons and even help others — and nothing is better than that.

Active Aging is presented by Koelsch Communities.

With 60 years of signature service to families, Koelsch Communities has been family owned and operated for three generations. Our continued success is compelled by our founding principles as we strive to serve our residents with respect, dignity and compassion.