Working Out Staying Fit Together

Working Out: Staying Fit Together

Working Out: Staying Fit Together

Let’s face it -life isn’t going back to normal anytime soon. The days of hanging out with friends and getting our party on are still but a lovely memory. So, what can we do to keep our connection with friends intact while also making the Covid-19 days bearable, productive, and dare we say fun? We get fit of course.

You’ve heard it said before…friends that sweat together, stay together. And there is actually scientific proof of that. In a study published by Santa Clarita University, it was determined that we humans love to gravitate toward the exercise behaviors of those around us. The study showed that we are 95% more likely to finish a workout program if we do it with a buddy.

Of course, this isn’t only amazing news for our waistline but also to our relationship and friendships. If we are most likely to finish a program by doing it with our friends, this also means we get more bonding time with them.

We are very fortunate to live in a day in age where staying connected with friends is easier than ever. With apps like Nike Run Club, Strava, and Fitocracy to name a few, we can keep up with our friend’s achievements and challenge (or just join them) in everything from runs, to bike rides and hikes.

Doing these challenges as a couple adds an extra spark of motivation because, by nature, we tend to compete with other couples to gain their approval and validate our own relationship. As long as the competitiveness is being done in good fun and not hiding ulterior motives to put down our friends or our partner, this can be an excellent and healthy way to make the best out of our time.

The list of benefits to working out with friends this way is amazing. You make up your own rules, most places you choose to go to are free, you get to bond with your friends and special other, you get to do all sorts of sight-seeing…and the list goes on. Go ahead and put the word out… The challenge is on!

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Pandemic Safety: Socializing & Interacting Responsibly

While many of us have our physical health in mind right now, we often forget that our mental health can also suffer during this pandemic. Feelings of isolation and lack of socialization can harm our emotional wellbeing, but how do we reconcile that with the risk of meeting with friends?

If meeting in person isn’t necessary for you, virtual hangouts and dates have become immensely popular. With tools like Zoom and NetflixParty, couples and friends have started up different online activities to stay engaged while staying entirely safe. Some suggestions include book clubs, movie watching parties, and shared meals.

Some people prefer to meet and interact in person. If this is the case with you and your friends, it is important to weigh some risk factors. First, consider if anyone in the group or those they live with have a higher risk, such as an autoimmune disease. Also, take into account the activities you want to plan for. Outdoors events are safer, as are gatherings with fewer people that last shorter amounts of time. Of course, everyone must wear there mask as much as possible when together.

Socially distanced walking outside with masks is a low-risk way of interacting while still getting that in-person interactivity. You can catch up while also getting active, which is a challenge for many of us right now. Another great option is getting together in a park. In these public spaces, you can either have a relaxing chat or a bring-your-own-lunch picnic.

Regardless of how you choose to socialize during the pandemic, it is essential to adopt a harm-reduction philosophy. Balancing emotional wellbeing and your physical health is very difficult right now. You and those close to you can come up with a plan to best keep up with each other in a way that allows everyone to feel both safe and comfortable.

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Long-Distance Relationships

Long-Distance Relationships: 5 Tips for Making the Most Out of Them

Are you in a long-distance relationship? If so, you know that they can be extremely difficult, especially during a global pandemic. However, we know from experience that they can also be very rewarding.

Everyone knows the downsides of an LDR – you don’t get to spend as much time with your significant other as you would like. Rather than blossoming through shared experiences, the relationship’s focus on one-on-one conversation can become very intense very quickly.

But what about the benefits of an intercity, interstate, or intercountry relationship? Well, one of its potential downsides – intensity – is also one of its greatest benefits. The frequent phone calls, video chats, and e-mail conversations that are the hallmark of a long-distance relationship can allow couples to get to know one another deeply very quickly. This is great, but can get a little heavy at times.

Long-Distance Relationships

We’ve got some ideas to lighten up your LDR with shared experiences.

  1. Play games together online. Maybe you like chess, or you’re both trivia junkies. There are options for these, and many other games on the Internet.
  2. Read the same book and talk about it.
  3. Watch a movie or TV show at the same time.
  4. Surprise your significant other with a care package that references inside jokes, memories and your shared likes.
  5. Learn together. Why not try a language or a cooking class together? You can find a number of live group classes on the Internet.

And when you do get to see one another, get out and experience things together.

One thing that long-distance couples can find challenging is the lack of a shared social life. This is where Couplr can help you once meeting strangers is popular and safe again! Create social connections during your visits by meeting your perfect couple match on our app. The time spent with other couples can push you out of your comfort zones and into uncharted, and thrilling, territory where you will grow together.

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Helping Others

Helping Others: 5 Tips for Staying Sane through the Process

It’s summer, the weather is beautiful, and you want to be hanging out with your loved ones. Only, the coronavirus is still out there.

It can be easy to get down in the dumps about social distancing. If we’re not careful, the strain can really take its toll. We’ve brought you ideas for socializing from a distance, taking care of yourself, and using creativity to bolster your relationships.

As the pandemic continues, here are a few more ideas to help you get through this time by helping others. Read on for our top 5 ideas for staying sane while giving back.

1 Write a letter

An actual handwritten letter put in an envelope with a stamp on it. Letters are rare these days. How excited would you be to find one in your mailbox? That’s what we thought. Write to a friend or family member and make their day.

Helping Others

2 Donate

You can donate your time or your resources. UChicagoMedicine has a list of places that can use donations including food, supplies, and even blood, which is needed now more than ever

3 Pick up trash.

There might not be as much of it lying around as during a normal summer, but beautifying your neighborhood’s parks and green spaces is a great way to give back while staying socially distant.

4 Check in on your friends and neighbors

Especially the elderly and those who live alone. You never know what someone might be going through. Your phone call or email could lift someone’s spirits on a difficult day.

5 Volunteer

Food banks and other community organizations always need volunteers. Social services around the country have been working overtime to provide food to families whose children depend on school meals for nutrition, and they are in need of volunteers. Spending a few hours helping others will help lift your spirits amid uncertainty.

Sometimes looking out for others is a form of self-care. We hope these tips have given you ideas for taking care of your community and yourself at the same time. Stay well and healthy.

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5 Tips for Charming Your Significant Other’s Family

Summer Adventures: 5 Tips for Charming Your Significant Other’s Family

Life is different now, but it won’t be this way forever. At some point, we will be going back to our normal routines. And for some of you, that might include meeting your significant other’s family for the first time.

If you’ve been sitting at home for the last couple of months, you might be overly excited to get out of the house and meet new people.

via GIPHY

Or you might have gotten used to your solitude and are wondering whether brushing your hair is really necessary before meeting the woman who birthed your boo (spoiler alert: it is).

via GIPHY

So, go make yourself presentable, and then come back to read our 5 Tips for Charming Your Significant Other’s Family:

1. Bring a Gift

No, we’re not suggesting bribery … per se. A hallmark of older times, hostess gifts are still appreciated, all the more because they’re not as common as they used to be. No need to splash out on something expensive. A pot of fresh herbs or a special treat from your favorite bakery are thoughtful ideas.

2. Avoid Pitfalls

If you’re lucky, your SO’s family is easy-going. But chances are, there are still some topics you should avoid. While we don’t necessarily agree with the age-old philosophy that restricts polite conversation to the weather, it’s a good idea to avoid hot-button issues and capitalize on common ground. Maybe you and your boo’s dad both love to garden, or run. Arm yourself with information that will help you make a connection, and steer clear of anything off-color.

3. Be Helpful

If you’re meeting in their home, don’t forget to offer to help. Be the first to start clearing the table or offer to dry the dishes if someone else is already washing them. Not only will you mark yourself as someone willing to pitch in, but you will create another opportunity for conversation.

4. Don’t Look Like a Slob

This one should go without saying … but we’ll say it anyway. Make sure you look neat and well-groomed. Save the ratty tank top for your workouts and the provocative dress for date night.

5. Breathe

Last, but not least, relax. When you’re stressed out, you’re less likely to maintain control of yourself. Be yourself. You got this.

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Get Creative

Get Creative: Stay Motivated, Positive, & Sympathetic with Your Inner Circle

You know friends and special others can help you land jobs; you know they can influence your mood and behaviors and you know that you can do the same for them. But what do you know about helping your favorite people develop their creativity and what that means for you?

Did you know that love, specifically long-term relationships, boosts your creative thinking? A study conducted by the University of Amsterdam concluded that people in long-term relationships have enhanced holistic thinking and therefore, creative cognition. It was also determined that these results had nothing to do with sexual encounters and therefore, the results can also be applied to long-term friendships and family members.

But why is creativity in a relationship so important? What does that mean for your love life, relationships, and friendships? Let us explain.

  • Creative minds tend to be more motivated–having a creative circle can help with motivation in any aspect of your life, whether it be your inner competitor, cheerleader, or empathetic self. Staying motivated and having motivated relationships can help you stay consistent with your goals.
  • Creativity correlates with positivity–You would think you would have to be in a pit of despair to get your creative juices flowing, but the opposite is actually true. Staying positive can enhance your creativity, and being a part of a creative/positive circle can help you live a more fulfilling life.
  • Sympathy is beneficial to creativity–If you have a good support system around you at all times that shows you sympathy or to which you can show sympathy, you become more sensitive and attuned to others’ needs, which is a trait that fuels creative minds.
  • A diverse social network enhances creativity–As long as you remain open and share your thoughts honestly, having strong relationships with creative people can help open your eyes and mind to new ways of doing things, solving problems, and even encourage you to push past your current limits.

There are so many ways to enhance your creativity with friends, families, and significant others. From long, open conversations to trying new restaurants to the more traditional forms of art like taking art classes or playing board games, there are so many ways to remain active with your friends and family members. Whichever way works best for you, encouraging your circle to stay creative is a whole new level of cool friendship unlocked! 

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Remote socialization

Remote Socialization: Virtual Activities to Try with Others During COVID-19

Many of us have been searching for new ways to safely spend time with friends and loved ones while safe at home. Luckily, many hobbies and endeavors can be enjoyed together with others remotely! Here are a few ideas to bring you a new way to connect while upkeeping social distancing.

Book Clubs

Reading not only helps keep us entertained and mentally stimulated, but it also gives us a great reason to snuggle up under a tree at a park or under a blanket on the couch. Share your experience with a group of friends by starting up a book club! Planning a book club will allow you all to enjoy new literature together and will provide a fun, structured way to chat with a group on a scheduled basis! Some groups change their book theme every new selection, while others stay on a set genre such as Science Fiction or Fantasy. You could also focus on works from a specific period, related to particular topics, or books from one author or publishing house. For a unique twist, try a cookbook club where you all attempt a recipe from the same book!

Remote socialization

Take a Class Together

Many esteemed colleges and institutes are providing select courses free of charge, such as Harvard, Khan Academy, and Yale. Take a class with some friends to continue your self-improvement journey together while cooped up at home. Courses cover topics from art history to food sciences, so there is bound to be something to pique everyone’s interest! Some masters are even offering their classes, such a Michelin Chef Massimo Bottura, who is leading an Instagram cooking course called Kitchen Quarantine.

take a class

Schedule Movie Nights

Many people are missing going to the theater together with tools like Netflix Party or Metastream to experience film together simultaneously. A hangout session like this is a relaxing way to feel like you are spending time with friends, and it doesn’t require an extensive input of energy. If you are looking to kick it up a notch, have every participant prepare a film suggestion from a theme and present all of the movies throughout the month. For example, have everyone pick a film from an individual director, genre, or featuring the same actor.

movie night

Share a Meal or Drinks Through FaceTime and Zoom

Just because you are stuck at home doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the company during dinner! Coordinate a time with friends to have a meal and spend time cooking and chatting over a video call app. To add another level of cohesiveness, cook from the same recipe together!

Alternatively, pick back up on happy hour traditions through video and enjoy a responsible couple of drinks with friends or co-workers. End the week on a light note and make it a regular occurrence after work on Fridays!

Share a meal

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Self-care during this covid-19

Self-Care: Making the Most of Your Alone Time during this COVID-19 Shutdown

Things changed so quickly.

For many of us, it feels like we are on pause. Instead of spending our days outside enjoying the approaching warm weather, it is easy to feel as if we are simply behind glass, looking out, wondering when life will resume.

Self-care during this covid-19

Since the COVID-19 crisis began, we have offered you suggestions on how to improve your relationship in a social-distancing-friendly manner, how to keep up your relationships when you can’t see your loved ones in person, and how to give back to your community.

It’s important, now more than ever, to reach out and maintain those ties that bind. But it’s equally as important to practice self-care. After all, you can’t fully invest in a relationship if you’re not whole yourself. And many of the things that fulfill us may be off limits right now. So how do you practice self-care if you can’t get to the gym, go for a manicure, have a picnic in the park with loved ones, or whatever else you usually do to get centered? Netflix binge sessions are great, but sometimes you need to get away from the screen for a bit. We’ve got a few ideas.

Embrace Art

Even if you’re not an art aficionado, doing something creative is balm for the soul. Maybe an adult coloring book and some vibrant colored pencils are your jam, or perhaps you prefer watercolors. Tap into your memories of elementary school art class (clay bowls, anyone?) and see what supplies you can dig up to indulge your inner creativity.

Embrace art, Self-care

Do Some Gardening

Even if you live in an apartment, this is the right time of year to encourage new life by planting some seeds or starts. A kitchen mini-herb garden is easy to grow and useful for all that cooking you’ve doing lately. Or plant a flower box. If you find yourself working from home, you’ll have time to remember to water your seedlings, so even if you’re usually a black thumb, you might succeed this time.

gardering

Tackle That Home Project

Have you been meaning to paint your bathroom, fix your faucet, or tackle that Pinterest pin you saved two years ago but have never had the time for? Now’s that time. And there’s something so satisfying about improving your home. The project will get you out of any rut in which you might find yourself, with the bonus of making the place you spend all your time just a little nicer.

Home project

We’re all in this together, and it’s not going to last forever. A little self-care now will go a long way later when we’re all back to our busy lives. Hang in there, and stay well

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Strengthening Bonds: Volunteer with Friends

Strengthening Bonds

If you’re looking to strengthen your relationships, or even forge new ones, there’s really no better bond than legitimately saving the world together. With dozens of volunteering opportunities (right now and year-around), Chicago has no shortage of options for friends to come together, roll up their sleeves, and help save the world. 

Think about it, chances are some of your fondest memories go back to when you’ve been part of a team. Whether that was part of a sport or a cause or even a job, working with your friends for a bigger cause is a guaranteed way to feed your soul while also having tangible ways to give back to your community and build each other’s self-confidence. 

If volunteering is something that you’ve always felt you were called to do, but thought of as a loner activity, ditch that mentality and ask your special other and friends to join you. Not only can the added support for what can turn out to be a mentally exhausting activity come in handy, but together, you can play on each other’s strengths to tackle tough situations. 

Where can I sign up?

There are different ways of finding the right fit. You can go to the soup kitchens’ direct website by either yelping your nearest soup kitchen and then signing up directly through their website, or by signing up for a volunteer match website like volunteermatch.org where you can literally choose to be volunteered for anything from a crisis counselor to finding support for putting a nonprofit event together. 

If weather permits, you can even choose to have a “Beach Clean-Up Day” that can end in a bonfire to reward yourselves for your hard work. 

The list is endless. If being a part of a group that helps strengthen each other’s value system sounds like your cup of tea (or coffee, no judgment), making a difference is only a signup sheet away. 

If you’re looking for volunteer opportunities specifically geared towards a cause as a result of the current coronavirus emergency, please refer to local hospital, clinic, school, and restaurant websites. Many neighborhoods, towns, cities, and organizations are organizing a variety of volunteering efforts to help support essential workers in the community as well as healthcare workers. Don’t forget to support your local small businesses at this time, many of whom may not survive this crisis.

To stay updated on the latest and most accurate information related to COVID-19, please refer to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

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COVID-19 Boredom: Keeping in Touch with Loved Ones

COVID-19 Boredom

The subject on everyone’s mind — boredom. It only took a global pandemic, but if this current state of affairs has taught us anything, it is to never take for granted our social gatherings (especially with friends and family) ever again. Humans need human interactions, and when we’re lucky enough to have them, we need to nurture them. This is imperative even from a distance! Below we’ve put together a list of a few social distancing ideas to help you and your special other connect with your friends and/or family from afar.

Zoom Out

Zoom isn’t just for work meetings. Use it to connect with friends/family and make the most of it by trying some of the following ideas:

  • Covid-19 BoredomStart a Book Club – Use an app like kindle to download the same murder mystery, then have a meeting to see who cracked the case first.
  • Use Social Media – In a bizarre twist of events, the social media apps that we once used to disconnect, can now be used for their intended purpose – to connect. Use fun filters, post your favorite recipes, and show off your current hobby on your favorite social platform!
  • Synchronized Show Watching – Pick a show you all agree on and binge it at the same time. Then, meet on zoom to let your emotions flow.
  • Play Virtual Games – Now is a good time to show off those charade and pictionary skills! Our personal fave is scribbl.io 🙂

Find a Way to Help Together

From sewing up face masks to donating canned goods, there is an outpouring of love, support, and community service from entire communities, without ever even seeing each other! Make a plan to donate or safely work together to help others get through this tough time. Even a simple hello can make someone’s day!

Go for a Walk (Apart)

If you live close enough, you can arrange to walk together on opposite ends of a street, or you can do a virtual walk and facetime/chat at the same time. Staying fit AND connected — multitasking at its finest!

These tips are great to help you through this time of isolation, but keep them in mind when your schedules get crazy again and life gets in the way again of you physically seeing your friends/friends. Stay safe everyone, and remember, we’re all in this together!

To stay updated on the latest and most accurate information related to COVID-19, please refer to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

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