As vaccine rollouts continue to progress, folks are starting to tiptoe out of their quarantine bubbles.
But once the euphoria from that first dinner in a restaurant or group hang without masks passes, some people might find that reestablishing the personal connections that COVID-19 interrupted could take more effort than anticipated. As frustrating as lockdowns and social distancing were, to some extent, we all got used to it. And if you grew a little too comfortable inside your bubble, it might be tough to break the routines that helped you get through such a challenging year.
Ultimately though, people are social creatures. Science has established real links between the strength of our relationships and our emotional well-being, health, and longevity. These four tips will help you get ready to shut down Zoom for a while and make up for lost face time.
1. Start small.
Facebook friends lists and Twitter followers have gamified relationship building in a way that doesn't really work outside your social media feed. Whether you’re planning a dinner party or looking for a shoulder to lean on, the quality of your relationships is always more important than the number of “friends” you have.
Hopefully distancing from your closest friends and family in 2020 made you appreciate the people who should always be at the top of your lists. Prioritize those most important connections, whether that means booking a big family trip or scheduling a couple extra weekends at grandma and grandpa's house.
2. Open up.
Another side effect of social media is the tendency to idealize our lives for public presentation. In 2020, all those videos of happy people baking bread and learning the guitar during lockdown rarely showed the full picture of what folks were experiencing. Worse, people who couldn't find some solace by keeping busy often felt that they were doing quarantine the wrong way, which only made the experience harder.
Our closest connections can be our most powerful source of emotional support. But only if you let them be. When you're finally face-to-face with friends and family, be honest about how you're doing. Your openness could provide a vital lifeline to a loved one who's been dying for some real talk too.
3. Get moving.
Millions of Americans turned their living rooms and basements into home gyms during the pandemic. Others rediscovered the joys of running, cycling, golf, tennis, or just taking a nice long walk in solitude. Once you, your family, and your friends are vaccinated, you might have an even easier time finding a gym buddy or weekly golf partner – and a better post-pandemic exercise routine.
4. Widen your circle.
The pandemic opened our eyes to just how differently people experience life. It also made us appreciate how connected we really are to our communities, including people we don't know very well.
Expanding connections beyond your current social circle is only going to help spread more understanding and empathy while also strengthening our community bonds. Look for volunteer organizations that will help you give back and broaden your perspective. Recent college grads and seasoned professionals can both benefit from cross-generational mentorships. And once you feel comfortable shopping at brick-and-mortar locations, get reacquainted with local businesses and the hardworking people who run them.
We truly value the relationships that we’ve established with all of our clients. Hopefully our outreach during the pandemic has provided some calm perspective and helpful information. We’re excited to be opening our doors to more people soon, but we’re also keeping our socially distanced lines of communication open as well. However you are most comfortable, let’s be in touch soon so we can talk through your financial plan and make sure we’re doing everything we can to improve your Return on Life.