Who’d ever think we’d miss strangers so much?
Going to the movies. Attending that group exercise class. Spending all day roaming the corridors of the mall. We lost so many of our favorite communal pastimes over the last year that it’s easy to get excited about “outside finally opening back up.” But what about the things we’ve gained?
Yes, we’ve been stuck in the house. But the past 12 months have also been filled with people spending more time than ever with loved ones—and for many families that has been transformative.
Research tells us why. According to a study from the American Psychological Association, families who spend quality time on a regular basis are, well, as the kids say, lit. Couples report higher marital satisfaction. Adolescents have increased self-esteem. And both parents and children have improved health and stronger relationships. It’s a big-picture win. So, before folks jump back into the old normal, consider keeping these rituals from 2020.
Family Game Time
Before March 2020, most households weren’t logging in weekly hours having bonding time over activities such as Uno, Monopoly, or even group video games. The pandemic pushed folks to find ways to lift their spirits in the house, together. Keep it going. Game nights are a great way for family members to create memories, share stories and learn more about each other. Don’t forget to add these to the monthly schedule.
Group Video Chats
Right now, many folks are over supersized talks on ZOOM or Google Chat, but adding that face-to-face dynamic to calls doesn’t just make things feel more intimate; it helps lift spirits when someone is down, allows you to read expressions and body language, and adds another level of connection. Most importantly, it keeps loved ones who are far away feeling close. Make sure to add family video chats—at least one every few weeks— to your regular routine.
Dining out is a great treat, but too many weekly trips to your favorite Taco spot or nights ordering pizza in can kill any budget and negatively impact your health. Eating at home is the ideal way to ensure your diet is balanced and gives you the space to have some quality time with the family by collaborating to prep and cook.
Working From Home
Going to the office may seem like a welcome change now, but after a few weeks of trekking around the city, many folks will be missing the no-stress commute from the kitchen to their work area. Create a schedule that allows you to switch things up periodically. Ask department heads about setting up weekly WFH days.
Written by S. Tia Brown, LMSW. Brown is a licensed therapist and writer and is for all things that bring the happy. Follow her @tiabrowntalks. Images Courtesy of TONL.