Maintaining connections with those we love can have an incredibly positive effect on our health and happiness. Especially during a socially distanced pandemic (but really, all the time!) it’s important to prioritize our relationships. When it seems like stress, loneliness, and anxiety is ever increasing, putting your mental health first can actually start with thinking of others.
Check out these five ways you can add more warmth and feeling to your connections in stressful times.
1. Schedule Your Touch Points
Picking up the phone is a simple thing to do but it can be hard to prioritize when life gets in the way. We spend our days working from home… doing errands… cleaning the house… laundry… grocery shopping… attending to our families… and those are just a few of the daily responsibilities we hold. As the pandemic drags on, these tasks can become grueling. It’s easy to forget to take care of OURSELVES, let alone worrying about our relatives in the next province over—or even more guilt-inducing—our neighbours right next door!
The truth is, speaking with the people we love makes those everyday responsibilities easier to bear. The connections we keep are our support system. When we open up and talk about how we really feel, we're able to overcome adversities and feel supported. Having the gift of a friend who listens can lend us more mental resilience as we vent and discover we’re not alone. Sometimes all it takes is a change in perspective to realize that picking up the phone is not a chore, but a necessity, in maintaining our mental health and balance.
This season, be sure to schedule-in some time to reconnect with those who bring you joy. Speak to the people who listen in times of hardship and extend an ear to them too—so that all parties can exchange their common experiences of anxieties and struggle in our everyday lives. By the end of your call, you’re bound to feel a sense of relief, a stronger support and even encouragement to continue on. Your loved ones may be needing it even more than you!
2. Write a Heartfelt Letter or Card
It’s true that oftentimes when faced with hardship, we are eventually reminded of the blessings and positive things we have in our lives. We’re forced to slow down and think deeply about what—and who—matters to us most.
These feelings of gratitude can spark inspiration to express to those we love most why we appreciate them in our lives. It doesn’t have to be on paper, it could be an email with a simple note of gratitude, a three pager text, or a social media shoutout. The important thing is that we grow closer to each other and express our gratitude.
Think about what makes your loved one unlike any other and offer a sincere compliment for the way they make you feel.
3. Send a Gift
You can’t go wrong with sending your loved ones flowers from a local florist! A floral delivery is sure to brighten anyone’s day no matter the occasion. This type of gift is convenient because it suits every personality and can be achieved online. Your choice of flowers and personal note can be completely customizable. And providing support for a local business is an added feel-good decision in helping our fellow Canadians succeed together.
With apps and restaurant delivery, it’s easy to send a neighbour dinner or a surprise treat. Maybe you want to lighten up a new mothers' load down the street, or delight your grandmother with her favourite take-out. These days, it’s easy to make it happen right from your phone. To support a local restaurant directly, purchase gift cards and pass them on to your foodie friends.
If time allows and you’d like to give something a tad more personal, home baking is a great way to spend a day. De-stress and clear your mind with a solo baking day, connect with your significant other over some chocolate chips, or make it a family affair to help entertain the kids. Baking for others is a beautiful way to express love and remind people you’re thinking of them!
A homemade gift basket is also a completely customizable and fantastic way to show how well you know someone—and how much you care. Include seasonal essentials like the recipient’s favourite tea, coffee, treats, or reads. (Think about including some Bradosol Throat Lozenges to help alleviate those winter dry, sore throat symptoms in a crunch.)
4. Host a Zoom Party or Group Activity Online
Okay, so maybe sharing drinks and giving hugs is no longer socially acceptable, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still get your best friends together for a game night to remember!
Video calls now extend beyond your average office staff meeting and have become a tool used by many from teachers hosting home school, to performers showcasing their music, and even to chefs hosting cooking lessons! Host a wine tasting, book club or scavenger hunt and you’re sure to be scrambling for your charger so the laptop doesn’t die!
Go ahead and take the plunge. Use your extra social distanced hours to plan an engaging mini-event and see your friends come together for a game or contest. Showcase your competitive side with a fun challenge. By the end of the night you’ll hardly feel like the time has been spent at a virtual distance at all!
5. Arrange a Socially Distanced Walk or Visit
One of the great things about living in Canada is the beautiful and vast outdoors. Our country is lucky to have so much stunning natural foliage and many local parks for us all to enjoy. The Canadian “true north” really is a big playground so why not get out to enjoy it!
If it’s cold outside make sure you wear your classic Canadian puffer jacket or flannel to keep warm. Choose a local trail, neighbourhood park, lake or playground for your next outing with loved ones at a social distance.
Cold and flu symptoms are rare this year, but even so, being outside in the dry winter air can lead to a rough throat—and a cough is the last thing anyone wants right now! Bringing along a pack or two of Bradosol is always a good idea (you might want to have both flavours handy, to share with everyone in your party).
Despite the cold weather and social distancing regulations, maintaining connection will always be achievable. After all, as Canadians we wear our hearts on our sleeves.
Preserve your mental health and seek out ways you can stay connected with your loved ones this winter. Be sure to share this post to spread the warmth this season!