Simple ideas to nurture meaningful connections
Last updated 6/23/2021 at 9:53am | View PDF
Play comes in multiple forms, and it all starts with connection. We "play" on social media, for example, by liking and engaging with updates from friends and family. Yet, within this digital "play," we lose the deeper, more genuine connections we could have with each other.
Engaging through conversation, dropping a handwritten note in the mailbox, or giving someone a special gift that translates to, "I saw this and thought of you" - these things root us in being more present with each other. These acts bear a space where we can play, simply be, and belong.
There are small, doable ways to nurture meaningful connections with loved ones. So many, in fact, that it's easier than ever to put off reaching out to someone we care about.
Here are a few examples of how you can nurture meaningful connections in your life.
Hold the space for a "Connection Hour" on your calendar. For me, this looks like a twice per week, hourly commitment that includes a list of people I could reach out to. Within that hour, I'm free to reach out to one or many people on my list. Sending a quick, "Hey. How are you?" text is a great place to start. Or you could call or visit. Whatever works for you. Since I have two young kids, I'm typically texting a family friend to schedule a playdate. Maybe you'll make fun plans with a friend or perhaps you'll simply exchange a few messages to catch up. Either way, it feels nice to let someone know you're thinking about them, and they'll appreciate the gesture too.
Send a loved one a handwritten note - like a beautiful postcard of where you live or a card to brighten their day. Find a quiet time, like Sunday morning, where you can sit down and write a letter to someone you care about.
Plan a hike. Nature is the perfect backdrop for connection. A distraction-free walk together allows us to offer someone our time and attention. It's invigorating, and is a beautiful way to start (or end) the day.
Say thank you. Showing your gratitude for something, no matter how big or small, could make someone's day. Saying "Thank you" and "I appreciate you" is all it takes.
Remember birthdays. Note important dates on your calendar and send someone special a Happy Birthday message. Since people may be busy on their birthday, I like to send a text to let the person know that I'm thinking of them and that I wish them the best day! And I ask when they'd like me to call so we can catch up.
Send a voice message. The technology we have now can both overwhelm and astonish us. The free Signal messaging app is what I use when leaving a friend a voice message, and I love receiving messages in return! It's wonderful to hear a friend's or family member's voice, especially if you haven't in a while.
Play starts with connection. When we prioritize both essentials, we're doing something good for ourselves, another person, and the world.
For more on play, I invite you to purchase a copy of my book, "Play," on Amazon or at Bookshop.org. You can also visit me and get in touch at stephaniemcguirt.com.
Stéphanie McGuirt is a Fountain homeschool mom, business owner, and local author. Her first book is "Play: Simple & Creative Activities to Inspire and Engage."
Contact the author: [email protected]