5 ways to live (and thrive) while social distancing

The novel coronavirus has dramatically changed how we spend time and share physical and virtual space with each other. On Friday, March 27, conflict mediator and author Priya Parker joined head of TED Chris Anderson and current affairs curator Whitney Pennington Rodgers on TED Connects to discuss what we all can do to stay connected and sustain relationships while apart during the pandemic. Here’s some advice to help you get through this uncertain time:

Bring intention to planning a virtual gathering

As platforms like Zoom, Slack and email become more integrated into our lives, it’s clear that technology will play an important tool in helping us keep in touch. Whether you’re organizing a Zoom dinner party or Facetiming a friend, Parker invites us to consider how we can elevate the conversation beyond just check-ins. In planning a virtual gathering, ask:

  • Who’s joining and why?
  • What are your community’s needs?
  • What’s the reason you’re coming together?

As the pandemic evolves, these needs will likely shift. Stay attuned to the kinds of connections your communities are seeking.

Include fun themes to elevate your digital get-togethers

Parker suggests centering your gatherings around themes or activities to encourage more meaningful and purposeful conversations. Incorporate elements of the physical world to create a shared experience, like asking everyone to wear a funny costume or making the same recipe together. Though screens don’t quite replace the energy of in-person gatherings, we can still strengthen community bonds by reminding ourselves that there are real people on the other end of our devices.

Set healthy boundaries to maintain wellbeing

As we’re figuring out the best way to exist in the digital world, it’s also crucial we put in the effort to meaningfully connect with those we’re quarantining with. The distinctions between time to work, socialize and rest can grow blurrier by the day, so be sure to set boundaries and ground rules with those you live with. In having this conversation with your roommates, family or partner, reflect on these prompts:

  • How do you want to distinguish time spent together versus apart?
  • How do you want to share time together?
  • Since we look at screens most of the day, could it be helpful to set no-screen times or brainstorm new, non-digital ways to hang out?

Allow yourself to reflect on the unknown

It’s important to acknowledge that this is not a normal time, Parker says. The coronavirus pandemic has transformed the world, and as a global society we’ll experience the reverberations of this period as they ripple across every sector of human life. Make sure to create space for those conversations, too.

Take time to wander through the unknown, to talk about how we are being changed — individually and collectively — by this shared experience. It’s perfectly normal to feel worried, vulnerable, even existential, and this may be a great time to lean into those feelings and think about what really matters to you.

Recognize the power and feeling community brings — no matter the size

While the coronavirus pandemic has physically isolated many of us from each other, our ingenuity and resilience ensures that we can still build and forge community together. Across the world, people are gathering in new and amazing ways to set up “care-mongering” support groups, sing with their neighbors, take ceramics classes, knit together and break bread.

Now is the time to discover (or rediscover) the value and power of community. We are all members of many different communities: our neighborhoods, families, countries, faith circles and so on. Though we’re living in unprecedented times of social isolation, we can forge stronger bonds by gathering in ways that reflect our best values and principles. In the United Kingdom, a recent campaign asked people across the country to go outside at a synchronized time and collectively applaud health workers on the frontlines of the crisis; a similar effort was made across India to ring bells in honor of the ill and those caring for them. During this crisis and beyond, we can use thoughtful ritual-making to transform our unease and isolation into community bonding.

“Gathering is contagious,” Parker says. “These small, simple ideas allow people to feel like we can shape some amount — even a small amount — of our collective reality together.”

Looking for more tips, advice and wisdom? Watch the full conversation with Priya below (and join us for TED Connects, weekdays at 12pm ET):

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How TED-Ed is helping families, students and teachers navigate the COVID-19 pandemic

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic’s unprecedented impact on education systems worldwide, TED’s award-winning youth and education initiative TED-Ed is focused on providing free, high-quality educational resources to millions of families around the globe. TED-Ed’s existing library of free, video-based lessons has been built by a network of 500,000 educators, spans all ages and subjects and features interactive lesson plans that complement thousands of TED-Ed Animations, TED Talks and other carefully curated educational videos.

By providing a variety of educational resources and engaging learning experiences, our hope is to help students, teachers and families replace feelings of anxiety, isolation, chaos and exhaustion with healthier and more sustainable feelings like curiosity, connectivity, predictability and rejuvenation. Here’s how you can follow along:

Announcing TED-Ed@Home

Launched last week, TED-Ed@Home is a daily newsletter that’s leveraging the collective expertise of thousands of TED speakers, TED-Ed educators and animators, and TED Translators to provide high-quality, online learning experiences for students, teachers and families everywhere — for free.

To get free daily lesson plans delivered to your inbox — organized by age group and spanning all subjects — sign up for the TED-Ed@Home newsletter. The newsletter features interactive, curiosity-invoking, video-based lessons around subjects commonly taught in school. The lessons are tagged to the appropriate grade levels, and subjects cover the arts, literature, language, math, science, technology and more. Most featured videos will offer translated subtitles in dozens of languages, and each lesson will include interactive questions, discussion prompts and materials to dig deeper. Teachers and parents can use the lessons as-is or easily customize them to meet their learners’ needs.

… and the TED-Ed Daily Challenge!

School closings don’t just keep students away from the classroom; they also keep students away from each other. While it’s critical that young people stay at home right now, it’s equally vital for students to see and hear from other young people — and for them to experience play in safe and meaningful ways.

On Instagram, we’re creating a fun way for students and their families to use their brains and common household items to creatively respond to educational challenges issued by TED speakers throughout the world. Each weekday at 2pm, head over to @tededucation for a brief educational talk and challenge from a new TED speaker. We’ll be handing over our account to TED speakers of all ages, who will use Instagram Stories and Instagram Live to deliver brief educational talks and issue creative, interactive, family-oriented challenges to Instagram users around the world. Viewers can respond using their own Instagram accounts, and TED-Ed will feature the most creative responses on our channel.

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New initiatives from TED to share ideas, build community and stay hopeful

(Photo: Ryan Lash / TED)

Now more than ever is the time for community. The extended team at TED is working hard to keep you connected, deliver thoughtful news and insights from world leaders, and offer opportunities to volunteer from the safety of your homes. Here’s a recap of the various resources we’re making immediately accessible while many of us are staying home to help support medical systems. 

Join us for TED Connects: Community and Hope

TED is committed to being a reliable source of information with regularly updated talks, interviews and TED-Ed lessons related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The talks are vetted by TED’s curators — experienced journalists from fields including science, business, media and current affairs. 

We’re also announcing TED Connects: Community and Hopea live, daily conversation series with global leaders and experts, hosted by head of TED Chris Anderson and current affairs curator Whitney Pennington Rodgers. TED Connects kicks off Monday, March 23 and is free and open to anyone. To participate, bookmark this page and join us daily at 12pm ET and subscribe for reminders.

This week, we’re featuring experts whose ideas can help us reflect and work through this uncertain time with a sense of responsibility, compassion and wisdom. Here’s the lineup:

  • Monday, March 23, 12pm ET: How to be your best self in a time of crisisSusan David, Harvard Medical School psychologist studying emotional agility 
  • Tuesday, March 24, 12pm ET: The healthcare systems we must urgently fix Bill Gates, business leader and philanthropist 
  • Wednesday, March 25, 12pm ET: What we can learn from China’s response to the coronavirus Gary Liu, CEO of the South China Morning Post
  • Thursday, March 26, 12pm ET: The quest for the coronavirus vaccineSeth Berkley, epidemiologist and head of GAVI, the vaccine alliance
  • Friday, March 27, 12pm ET: How to create meaningful connection while apartPriya Parker, author, The Art of Gathering

New from TED-Ed: TED-Ed@Home

We know people are at home with a variety of needs, including homeschooling kids of all ages and grade levels, which is why TED-Ed is ramping up its nearly decade-long education initiative. TED-Ed’s library of interactive lessons has been built by a network of 250,000 educators and features remarkable TED-Ed Animations as well as other educational videos.

TED-Ed@Home is a new, free, daily online learning experience for students, teachers and parents. TED-Ed is working with expert educators and TED speakers around the world to create and share free high-quality, interactive, video-based lessons made available via TED-Ed@Home. To get daily lesson plans delivered to your inbox — organized by age group and spanning all subjects — sign up for the TED-Ed@Home newsletter.

And another fun thing: feed your curiosity and stay engaged with the TED-Ed Daily Challenge. Join @tededucation on Instagram Live each weekday at 2pm ET, when TED speakers, educators and experts from around the world will share creative, interactive, family-oriented lessons and challenges you can do together at home.

TED Circles: A resource for community and connection

Meaningful conversations create personal connections that collectively strengthen communities. In September 2019, TED launched TED Circles: an open platform of small, volunteer-led groups that engage in conversations about ideas. In light of the physical limitations many communities currently face, TED Circles is a powerful way to continue connecting and engaging (virtually) face-to-face on a variety of topics. With TED Circles, hosts pick a TED Talk, invite people to join and facilitate a constructive conversation. Circles then share their takeaways online so that the group can gain one another’s perspectives and create global connections.

Learn more about joining a virtual Circle and join us for April’s program, which will launch on March 28. It’s themed “A changing world” and focuses on understanding pandemics and immediate actions we can take. 

Circles can be hosted by individuals, schools/universities, organizations/businesses, TEDx organizers and TED-Ed clubs. Sign up to become a host.

Virtual volunteerism: Become a TED Translator

Speak another — or many — languages? The TED Translators program is a global volunteer network that subtitles TED Talks and allows ideas to cross languages and borders. For those who are multilingual, being a TED Translator is a unique opportunity to have impact from the safety of your living room — while connecting and collaborating with a global community. Learn more about how to become a TED Translator. 

Gratitude

In this challenging moment, our global community inspires all of us at TED. We want to be here for you and hope these platforms offer connection, information and even inspiration as we work through this time. We must lean on one another for collective insights, learnings, kindness and compassion — as well as our physical health. We are eager to see you soon, and in the interim we hope these opportunities to connect offer meaningful moments of engagement.

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Announcing TED Connects: live, daily conversations from TED

On Monday, March 23, TED kicks off a free, live and daily conversation series, TED Connects: Community and Hope. As COVID-19 continues to sweep the globe, it’s hard to know where to turn or what to think. Hosted by head of TED Chris Anderson and current affairs curator Whitney Pennington Rodgers, this new program will feature experts whose ideas can help us reflect and work through this time with a sense of responsibility, compassion and wisdom. Watch our first livestream here on Monday at 12pm ET.

This week, we’ll be joined in conversation with a wide-ranging group of TED speakers. Here’s the lineup:


Monday, March 23, 12pm ET


Susan David
Psychologist studying emotional agility
How to be your best self in a time of crisis


Tuesday, March 24, 12pm ET


Bill Gates
Business leader and philanthropist
The healthcare systems we must urgently fix


Wednesday, March 25, 12pm ET


Gary Liu
CEO of the South China Morning Post
What we can learn from China’s response to the coronavirus


Thursday, March 26, 12pm ET


Seth Berkley
Epidemiologist and head of GAVI, the vaccine alliance
The quest for the coronavirus vaccine


Friday, March 27, 12pm ET


Priya Parker
Author, The Art of Gathering
How to create meaningful connections while apart

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What to watch from TED while you’re home during the coronavirus outbreak

(Photo: Ryan Lash / TED)

As people across the world face the novel coronavirus outbreak, TED is committed to being a resource for information, inspiration and hope. We’ve curated talks, interviews, TED-Ed lessons and more to help provide some perspective during the pandemic. Here’s where to start:

  • TED Fellow Alanna Shaikh shares why COVID-19 is hitting us now — and what we’ll learn from it.
  • TED-Ed’s round-up of animations to help you understand the outbreak of a virus.
  • Infectious disease expert Adam Kucharski discusses how we can control the pandemic. (Listen to his full episode on The TED Interview.)
  • Public health expert David Heymann answers 11 questions about the novel coronavirus.
  • This playlist draws from our archive of talks on infectious diseases, vaccines and pandemics.
  • Kids at home? Keep busy with hundreds of free animated lessons from TED-Ed (which you can filter by education level). If you’re an educator, learn more about how to create your own TED-Ed lessons.
  • Watch Bill Gates (kind of) predict this whole thing at TED2015.
  • Finally, these talks on self-care offer simple ways to stay healthy, both physically and emotionally.

And keep your eye on the homepage — we’ll continue to share new TED Talks every weekday on TED.com.

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TED2020 postponed to July 26-30

Based on a community-wide decision, TED2020 will move from April 20-24 to July 26-30 — and will still be held in Vancouver, BC.

With the COVID-19 virus spreading across the planet, we’re facing many challenges and uncertainties, which is why we feel passionately that TED2020 matters more than ever. Knowing our original April dates would no longer work, we sought counsel and guidance from our vast community. Amidst our network of artists, entrepreneurs, innovators, creators, scientists and more, we also count experts in health and medicine among our ranks. After vetting all of the options, we offered registered attendees the choice to either postpone the event or hold a virtual version. The majority expressed a preference for a summer TED, so that’s the official plan.

We’ve spent the past year putting together a spectacular program designed to chart the future. Our speakers are extraordinary. You, our beloved community, are also incredible. Somehow, despite the global health crisis, we will use this moment to share insights, spark action and host meaningful discussions of the ideas that matter most in the world.

While we’re excited about July, we were also inspired by many of the surprising and delightful ideas for how to create a compelling and engaging digital event. With that, we’ve decided to hold a special virtual session of TED on Earth Day, Wednesday, April 22.

As the world becomes more global, we think the opportunity to create this version of TED will prove invaluable. Additionally — and we hope this isn’t the case — if we’re entering a period of widespread isolation, we hope to offer a meaningful counter experience on a topic of universal import.

As head of TED Chris Anderson noted in his letter to attendees: “Health and safety have been paramount to all of our decision-making, but I believe this is a moment when community matters like never before. Which is why I’m so grateful to have the understanding and support TED community as we ideated around how to continue to spark meaningful idea-sharing in spite of increasing isolation. It’s times such as these that I lean into the power, wisdom and collective spirit of this community.”

Learn more about TED2020: Uncharted

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