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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