These days, it’s hard not to throw on the TV following a long day at work, or waste hours scrolling through social media after some virtual schooling. In fact, when it comes to screen time during the Coronavirus pandemic, research shows us a dramatic increase in electronic device usage, with even non-heavy users averaging 30 hours per week.
It makes plenty of sense when you consider the types of media we consume and what we use to view them. Daily news stories, classroom lessons, work meetings, and even our favorite books can all be experienced digitally now. And according to the data, it really doesn’t matter how old you are as we all find ourselves spending more time behind a screen. All these findings lead us to an important question: how can we reconnect with our family and friends in a non-digital way?
It’s easier said than done, but the simple first-step when you're looking to reconnect with loved ones is to turn the devices off! Once you’ve done that, the next piece of the puzzle is finding something enjoyable to do with your friends and family.
Whatever you pick, make sure the activity is something you can do together. According to one study that has been ongoing for over 80 years, there is evidence to support the fact that people are happier when they spend time doing things in groups compared to on their own. With plenty of activities to choose from, we’re here to share a few of our favorite ways to reconnect with your loved ones.
Family Game Nights
Dust off the extra table leaves folks, because up first is family game night!
A couple decks of cards or a few sets of dice is all you really need to have a fun time with this one. Create some memories with your loved ones with classic card games like Euchre or Rummy. To keep it a bit easier for the little ones, 31 is a great option too. For the dice rolling fans out there, try a game of 10,000 or some Bunco.
And don't forget about those classic board games! Pull out the favorites like Sorry or Battleship, or if you have more time, Catan and Monopoly could be great options. If you're looking for some entertaining new choices to add to the mix, we suggest Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza or Codenames.
Explore the Outdoors
If you’re searching for how to reconnect and catch some fresh air, nothing beats going out and clocking in some extra steps with a walking buddy. You could meet up at a local park for a few laps, or cruise and chat on a nearby bike path if that’s more your style. No matter who you tag along with, the combination of the outdoors and companionship could quickly make this your go-to activity.
Check out the Ride Spot app to find fun bike paths and routes near you!
Try Something New
While stepping outside of your comfort zone might be difficult, trying something new with a friend is sure to make things feel easier. Get out for a lunch or dinner date at a local spot that you've been wanting to try. Feeling extra adventurous? Consider picking a type of cuisine you haven't had in some time. Or better yet, let your friend or server pick a menu item for you to try.
Starting a new fitness routine with your spouse or taking up cycling with a friend are great ways to reconnect and and stay active. You could even make things exciting by signing up for 5Ks or some bike races together. A little fun and friendly competition never hurt anyone. Plus, biking is one of the best activities to help keep you socially distant.
Go for Group Rides
Speaking of biking and keeping those social circles close, going on group bike rides with the members of your household can get you disconnected from the screens and reconnected with the ones that matter most. Most adults are best suited using a hybrid bike that can handle many terrains. Younger riders from toddlers to teens should ride a kid’s bike that fits their height. Once everyone in the group has the right bike for them and their helmet on snug, the adventures can begin!
Participate in the Community
Provided it is safe to do so, becoming an active community member with someone you care about can be a meaningful way to reconnect. Giving back to your community can have a positive impact on someone else’s life, and most likely yours too! Whether it’s volunteering in youth programs, collecting for food pantries, or walking dogs for a shelter, even just one effort a year can truly make a difference. AmeriCorps, a national volunteer organization, makes it easy to find volunteering opportunities near you with their search tool.
Visiting a farmers’ market is another great way to support local growers while shopping for healthy food options.
At the end of the day, don’t put too much pressure on choosing the perfect activity. You could always try a few and see what sticks. Whatever you decide, it’s important you don’t go at it alone!