(Dr. Clayton Lawrence, founder and CEO, shares his thoughts in a weekly column focused on community wellness and inspiring others.)
In last week’s column, we shared “25 Ways to Connect in a Busy World,” because we understand that the stresses of work, raising a family, commuting and maintaining a schedule can make it extremely difficult to truly connect with the important people in our lives. While we believe there are many ways we can sneak in some meaningful time with others, there are a few suggestions that are worth digging into.
Our relationships with with those closest to us – our spouse, children, family and friends – are the first to be affected when our busy lives spiral out of control. Take back the reins and, this week, make an effort to truly connect in a special way. Here are a few of our top suggestions:
There is no denying the benefits of volunteering – from the physical effects like lower blood pressure and less anxiety, to the mental benefits like confidence and a sense of belonging – helping others is an incredible way to connect not only with others but with the world. Those who commit their time to something they believe in are kinder, more accepting individuals who are big thinkers that tend to reach their goals. Invite someone along to share in this commitment to making the world a better, more comfortable place for others and connect in ways that you never thought possible.
Meet before the day even begins
We all know that “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” Meetings go long, projects take longer and traffic overwhelms us. Scheduling time in the morning, before the day even begins, is a way to ensure that quality time is guaranteed. Rising a ½ hour early is worth the sacrifice for quiet, calm time that allows for chatting, sharing and laughing before the crazy day begins.
Scheduling time each week that is devoted to someone special is a great way to demonstrate commitment. Establishing traditions, such as catching up on a television program together, reading quietly while snuggling under a blanket, playing a family board game or simply just meeting for a cup of coffee, can transform your life and that of those around you. It eliminates the guilt of never spending time together, brings us closer to the people we care about and gives everyone something to look forward to.
Smartphones and devices have certainly made our lives easier, haven’t they? But they’ve also distracted us from the present moment. How many times is the youth in your life telling you about his or her day while you’re glancing at your phone? When was the last time you enjoyed a meal without your cell nearby? How about watching a movie or television show? Do you have the itch to “check in” multiple times in just a two-hour movie? If so, you have a problem – just like millions and millions of other Americans. Taking a weekend to disconnect from technology is one of the best ways to reconnect with the humans in your life. So, lock the phone away with the computer, iPad and Apple watch and truly enjoy the moment with someone special.