When we are kept apart — because of miles, health challenges or simply busy lives — it’s important to put a little extra effort and imagination into reconnecting, staying connected and enriching connections.
The difference between feeling lonely and being alone is significant and can impact a person’s quality of life whether it be a neighbour, family member, friend, or perhaps your own. It’s important to take a pause and consider whether you and those you encounter can benefit from quiet time alone. Or, could the challenges of loneliness be a cause for concern?
Tip: University of Calgary Department of Psychology Professor Dr. Keith Dobson talks about ways to tell if something isn’t right, and strategies for support if people aren’t doing well. Give this podcast a listen.
Though technology is integrated into day-to-day life, with Facetime and Zoom, Google Hangouts and Emoji-filled texts, nothing tops traditional acts of kindness, care, and affection. At U/D. we have a few ideas up our sleeves to warm hearts and minds — yours and those who matter to you, or even strangers.
We can feel a little lonely from time to time, especially during the unprecedented times of COVID. Becoming technology weary is likely, so it’s a great time to reconnect the old-fashioned way – where acts of love and kindness, even at a distance, can go a long way. There are different ways, whether a small or big gesture, to show that appreciation for others.
But first, let’s talk about the quality and value of relationships — family, friends, neighbours — to achieving positive emotional health.
Loneliness knows no difference between ages or lifestyles, and can affect people who live alone or with others. Senior citizens, parents, teens, empty nesters, new Calgarians – no one is immune. At U/D, we encourage community members and Calgarians to break down barriers, help others, and rediscover how to connect on a personal level.
Here are some less-common ideas for bridging loneliness and to form deeper bonds in fun, simple ways.
Don’t be shy. Put down your phone, put on a smile and strike up a conversation with someone new to you. Whether at the dog park, the grocery aisle, your building elevator or a local cafe, shedding fear of rejection could be your ticket to better connections. Here are some easy, tiny steps to start conversations:
Take time to connect with the people who share your four walls and roof. Have that deep, meaningful conversation that hasn’t happened in a while! Go beyond the news of the day and the weather forecast, what’s happening with the family or day-to-day activities.
Tip: Here’s a list of three ways sure to spark deeper dialogue around the dinner table.
The art of the letter should never be a lost art. A quick note or letter to a loved one is often so special it becomes a “keeper.”
Take a trip to Market Mall and scan the aisles of local, independent gift and novelty shop Paper Root Studios that has been in business since 1992! They have fun cards and boxed stationery, pens and notecards to help you deliver a message the good old-fashioned way! Choose stationery that reflects your tastes, and share your thoughts and news with a loved one by post.
Be silly, serious or spontaneous! Dot special messages and little treats in your loved ones’ car, closet, medicine cabinet, lunch box…even on their pillowcase as a surprise, conversation starter, or way of showing you care.
Ordering a pillowcase with a positive message of love is a fun surprise for kids or grandpas — for a turndown delight!
We love the selections at Market Mall’s QE HOMES. Like this one!
Give at-home spa treatments from foot baths and pedicures to family members and them to you as part of a Home Spa Brightness Challenge. From head to toe, we can care for one another in fun and uplifting ways that are as easy as a walk down the drugstore aisle. Or how about a visit to Valley Boutique and Home in Bowness — a delightful local resource.
Create a cheery at-home salon with a menu of treatments to order from: deep hair conditioning and scalp massage, an Epsom salt foot bath, pumice scrub and toenail polish treatment, a Turkish-style hammam scrub down, an essential oil back massage before bedtime or indulge in an at-home slumber party with facial masks for the ultimate me-time — together!
Step one on the path to deeper relationships and bonds starts with you. There’s a difference between being alone and being lonely. Sometimes a little solitary time can be good, like meditation or yoga, or at times you may feel alone when surrounded by people. It’s helpful to be brave, open up and take some risks sometimes because trying something new may help with that feeling of loneliness.
Connect with new friends, old friends, colleagues, a neighbour or family, or volunteer … because you’re never truly alone and remember that we can’t help others if we neglect ourselves.
Let’s use this time to reconnect, grow, and get back to basics using tech-free ways to remove isolation for stronger personal and community bonds. All in the name of being better together!
Exercise is an important part of health, and it’s a great way to connect with others. Whether it’s bringing the family out for a bike ride to explore the great NW, or meeting fellow bikers in your community, get on the pathways and trails like a pro! Have a read through our bike ride guide for some ideas!
The University District blog is a resource for Calgarians who want to live, work, play, visit or buy in the northwest. We will provide you with information, stories, news and inspiration about the things that matter so you can live a more inspired, active and connected life in NW Calgary at University District… Life works here.