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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Students find ways to spend time with friends and family while physically distancing

Liam Fallows meets over Zoom with his family. PHOTO COURTESY OF LIAM FALLOWS ’21

With a glass of wine in hand and a Mike Wazowski hat on, Liam Fallows ’21 logged on to Zoom to spend an hour of his Friday night virtually with his extended family. This week’s happy hour theme: all things Walt Disney Co.

Each Friday night from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., the extended Fallows family joins together on the telecommunicating platform for a themed happy hour, an idea pioneered by Fallow’s aunt, Bernadette.

Fallows said “humor is important to our family,” and, given this is a time where they cannot all be together as often as normal, these weekly Zoom calls allow the family to catch up. Physical distancing has only encouraged them to get creative in their family fun.

“We just roll with the flow,” Fallows said. “People need to take life way less seriously and just have fun with what the world throws at you.”

So far, the group has dressed up in crazy hats, anything Disney-themed, historical figures and most recentlyTV and movie characters. 

In the era of physical distancing, Fallows said using Zoom as an alternative to see his family has been enjoyable, joking that, “Luckily Amazon Prime deems our costumes essential so they ship [them].”

Taylor Stokes ’22 has also made the best of the physical distancing restrictions in her area. Although her Memorial Day-weekend birthday looked a bit different this year, Stokes posted a virtual invitation on her Instagram story for her 20th birthday party over Zoom. 

Stokes planned to spend a quiet birthday with her family and opted to spend the night before with friends, hosting a virtual  party on Zoom. Here, she and her guests played  games through different programs that allowed them  to video chat and play at the same time. 

“Honestly it’s what you make it,” Stokes said. “It is a hard time right now. Not a hard time just for me, but it’s a hard time for everybody. You can mope in your misery and be upset about the situation, or you can make the best out of [it].”

Jenna DiLossi, Psy.D.,  adjunct professor of psychology and co-founder and clinical director for Center for Hope & Health, said this time is undoubtedly difficult for many people. 

“By nature we’re social creatures,” DiLossi said. “At our core as human beingsas a specieswe’re geared for socialization, and we don’t do well in isolation.”

In order to quell emotional challenges that may arise due to the lack of social contact, DiLossi said using technology while being physically apart is “paramount” to taking care of our mental health. 

“Virtual parties on Zoom, Houseparty, or group FaceTime are not ideal but are very crucial to help combat some of the depression and anxiety that can happen when we’re just sitting alone by ourselves,” DiLossi said.

In addition to connecting with friends and family using technology, DiLossi encourages others to take care of their mental health during physical distancing by projecting  an open and compassionate attitude inward. 

“We want to make sure that we’re gentle with ourselves, ” DiLossi said. “Speaking to ourselves with self-compassion and recognizing that if you’re not your best selfif you’re not your most active, your most productive, or the most of the go getter that you usually are, that’s okay, because the world is not as it usually is.”

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