By Roz Jones
The relationships we have in our lives have a significant impact on our well-being. They help us celebrate good times, offer support during the bad, and fill our lives with companionship to help prevent feelings of isolation and depression.
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to maintain the relationships we have or develop new ones. As caregivers, we’re busy juggling dozens of responsibilities that we often put our family and friends on the back burner. Only when it’s too late, do we realize how much we’ve neglected one of the most important aspects of our lives.
How do we make the most of quality time when taking care of an aging loved one?
The Importance of Quality Time
We live in an age where everyone is seemingly connected via their screens. We scroll through social media like our lives depend on it. And we’ve convinced ourselves that by sending a text or clicking on a ‘Like’ button, we’ve done our fair share of social interaction for the day.
Yet, humans are social creatures. Starting at screens all day long is sort of the opposite of that, which is why a lot of research shows that excessive use of social media platforms is actually one of the biggest risk factors for feeling isolated, lonely, and anxious.
On the flip side, keeping in touch with friends and family does wonders for your mental, emotional, and physical health. This means talking on the phone each week and having in-person get-togethers.
Strong social connections make you less likely to suffer from high blood pressure, Type-2 diabetes, and other chronic diseases.
Another benefit of surrounding yourself with positive, supportive people is that it lowers your risk of depression, stress, and anxiety. In addition, studies show that it can also delay the effect of cognitive disorders like dementia and Alzheimer’s.
There’s also the fun aspect of spending time with friends and family. You get to create memories and build strong, trusting relationships.
Here are a few more benefits to gain from quality time with the important people in your life:
- Improves your sense of self-worth
- Boosts self-confidence
- Encourages you to avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits
- Helps you get through challenging times, like an illness, divorce, job loss, etc.
- Increases your sense of purpose and belonging
How to Make the Most of Quality Time with Friends and Family
Possibly, one of the things that get in the way of connecting with friends and family is that we’re too tired. Staying connected means staying active, scheduling times that suit both of you, and coming up with things to do together.
Yet, once you make an effort, you’ll realize it was just what you needed to make you feel happier and less stressed. To help you get inspired, we put together a list of 30 fun-filled ideas you can try the next time you get together with family and friends.
- Try out a new restaurant or coffee shop.
- Sign up for a dance class.
- Visit an art gallery or museum.
- Plan ‘Game Night.’
- Hire a rowing boat at a local lake.
- Make a DIY list of things that need repairs or touch-ups around the house and go through them one by one.
- Pick up a new hobby or activity together.
- Plan a crafting night where you knit, crochet, color, or pretty much anything creative!
- Keep track of important events in each other’s lives and celebrate them.
- Organize a clothes swap.
- Attend a TED talk together.
- Host a ‘spa’ night and do each other’s nails.
- Gather stuff you don’t want and host a yard sale.
- Enjoy a Broadway (or off-Broadway) show.
- Sync up your washing schedules so you can meet at the Laundromat.
- Plan a getaway for the weekend.
- Set up a home-tasting party.
- Visit a make-your-own pottery studio.
- Try an Escape Room.
- Go bowling or Glow-in-the-Dark bowling for even more fun.
- Invite your friends or family over for breakfast or brunch while dressed in your PJs.
- Organize a Swap Clothes day.
- Go shopping!
- Go to a karaoke bar or rent a karaoke machine and have a karaoke night at home.
- See a comedy show.
- Book tickets to the ballet or the symphony and get all dressed up.
- Enjoy a ball game from the bleachers.
- Go jumping at a trampoline park.
- Brew some herbal tea, sit back, and relax while enjoying afternoon tea and biscuits.
- Attend community events.
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