It’s wonderful to welcome you back in the new year. As I reflected over the last year of 2020, it was indeed a year of perfect vision. Certain things came in focus as we began to slow down and stay in place. One of those things that I believe we took for granted is gathering together with friends and family. Whether it was being in the outside world or gathered at our houses I truly missed the time spent together celebrating people and events, simply just being in the presence of those we care about.
I feel so lucky that we have such modern technologies in place that served as temporary replacements for face to face interactions and allowed for not total isolation. Whether it was Facetime, Zoom, Google meet or Microsoft teams, whether it was personal or professional we were able to carry on with collaboration and socialization in a way that was different but still fostered the connectivity we as humans thrive on.
These applications allowed for the resiliency of the human spirit to persevere. We were able to attend special occasions that were not canceled, checked in on our loved ones, celebrate birthdays and anniversaries and attend church. We pivoted in a way that made it feel as we were still very present and remained close to the ones we value. Moving forward we have unlocked a new way of working, new opportunities for growth in business and more ways to continue relationships despite the number of miles in between.
If you have not already used these tools to your advantage during quarantine and here after I encourage you to explore.
Five ways to Zoom together (substitute your fav application with zoom)
- Working out together
At that time where gyms were closed, all the box stores were out of weights and amazon ran out of stationary bikes I needed a push to thwart off the quarantine 15. After speaking with friends and family I realized I was not alone in this. What better motivation to workout then to have those close to you hold you accountable. Setting up a dedicated time and space for workouts that were flexible to our schedules became a way to spend time with my loves in different states that we had not done before. It was a challenge and a pleasure. We had guest instructors from different areas of fitness lead classes, some days we threw on fitness tapes or apps. There was one friend of mine who excelled at pushing us, a group of like minded women who had goals to improve our physical strength and overall fitness and health. She took this opportunity and accelerated her journey while leading this group of women she affectionately titled her sisterhood. If you are looking to explore this option of connectivity I highly suggest you follow @ForeverFinesse on IG as she is always open to expanding her territory. Fitness is truly a journey and there are so many places you can be on that journey whether you are just beginning or postnatal or prenatal there is something you can do to advance you on that journey the most important thing is to keep moving. One strong mama who knows that better than anyone is Fitness enthusiast @InMommyshape. She is consistent with uploading exercise content and motivation to advance our places on our fitness journey. The point remains: we are in this together. We made the space and time for ourselves; the focus was briefly off the travesties happening around us and the benefit was making strides in healthy living.
- Cooking together
I must admit I am an avid cooker. I cook for my family at least 5 times a week. There are varied benefits to this my main reason is better control of what my family is eating and saving money but that’s another post. I say that to explain that the not eating out part was not necessarily difficult for me when there was so much unknown surrounding what was safe and the best practices for avoiding the Covid-19 virus. It was the monotony of it that brought me to the brink of boredom. Generally speaking, cooking and eating tends to bring people together anyway. Why not grab some friends and cook together over the internet? This is so much fun and easy to do whether you are a skilled culinary master nor not. Pick a day and time. Pick a recipe in advance and share with the group so everyone has time to gather supplies and meet and live cook together. It was great to purchase the same cookbook as my gals, Cravings by Chrissy Teigen and pick out our favorite recipes to try. As cooking is a relaxing activity for me this was a way to still connect with friends, try new recipes and enjoy a glass of wine with my girls as we competed to see who made the best IG worthy dishes.
- Celebrating together
I was so grateful to be able to continue to celebrate birthdays during this time. Even though we are usually separated from our family this past year was particularly more difficult as we couldn’t gather to celebrate my children’s birthdays. Having a platform like zoom was great to have everyone join in and sing Happy Birthday. Gathering to sing is great however I pushed it just one step further. Group participation is key. I had everyone submit video messages and pictures in order to compile a video via Vidday. We watched together shared funny and embarrassing stories and just expressed our love. It was a great way to celebrate. Another way to elevate the birthday party experience is to also send branded care packages ahead of the event filled with party hats, party t-shirts, noise makers and individual treats (mini Bundt cakes, cupcakes or cookies) to add a curated touch. It may not have been the 13th year party my son had hoped for but it was still a memorable one that he will not forget. All that were able to contribute and celebrate with us also enjoyed themselves and as I was told will also not forget how we brought in our QuaranTeen.
- Reading together.
Everyone has their own definition of self-care. Everyone processes things differently. For me, reading ticks both of those boxes. I enjoy feeding my mind with similar and differing opinions and experiences, descriptions of places I’ve never seen and words that transport me to a completely different world. After speaking with friends of like minds we wanted to take advantage of this slowed period and feed our minds with other perspectives of the world. Whether reading for escape or knowledge another pov can lead to shifts in our own mind. Reading with friends is always better. Looking to a few established book club lists like Reese Witherspoon‘s @reesebookclub and Oprah Winfrey’s @Oprahsbookclub . The crew and I picked books that stimulated our minds and imaginations and one by one read, then the fun part, discussed them live via Zoom. Mostly with wine. Reading and discussing the books with friends can give great insight to their backgrounds, ways of thinking and hopes and dreams. It can forge new bonds, create new memories and lead to important discussions that could help us all advance.
- Praying together.
In such memorable times the good and the bad the one thing I can always lean on to help me through is my Faith. As a Christian by faith I have come to rely on prayer as my way of communicating with the one I hold in highest regard. Yes, you absolutely can spend this intimate time alone but as he said “ when two or more are gathered in my name, I am in the midst” Matthew 18:20. Another activity that was birthed over the pandemic was a midday devotional focus and prayer. I came to find @Nathalie_Michelle by recommendation of another friend who was trying to bring me into focus as the noise and distractions of the world were growing to an overpowering volume. At noon on the weekdays we gathered to hear a brief scripture with a modern context and we prayed together and for each other. We were invited to list our worries our prayer requests and praise reports to be sealed together in a mighty way. I cant imagine no longer having access to the calm in the middle of the day I have grown to need.
I’m so happy that even in the middle of a period of prescribed isolation we still have access to spend time with each other. I encourage you to find a way to keep circles tight and even branch out and make new friends and Zoom together.