Every Saturday morning, my youngest (but still grown) daughter, her partner and their two loveable (but still smelly!) dogs drive down to our place on the Gold Coast to walk the dogs along the beach.
For about 45 minutes, we wander along the sand and catch up on the week just passed. We rehash the challenges we’ve faced at work, complain about our annoyances, seek comfort and reassurance and laugh at our small, shared moments. For the last few months, our conversations have been dominated by talks of our plans for Metanao and working through the endless lists of tasks we are slowly making our way through.
Since we are a small, busy family with our own lives and challenges, these Saturday morning’s often provide the only chance to unwind and recharge. They provide the opportunity for me to reconnect, not only with my daughter who lives away from home, but also with my husband, David. While we live and share our lives together, some weeks get away from us and we miss the opportunities to talk and connect with each other. These walks allow us to devote time to what really matters, free of technology and distractions.
This last Saturday, our walk got me thinking about all the benefits of making a conscious effort to reconnect with our loved ones.
Reconnecting strengthens our relationships
The most obvious benefit is that regularly taking time to be together and enjoy each other’s company is good for our relationships! We remain active in each other’s lives and regularly reaffirm our commitment to our relationship.
Reconnecting with loved ones reduces stress and anxiety
Taking some time away from work and our everyday stress to reconnect with our loved ones, whether it’s doing something active like walking on the beach, or just something you enjoy like sharing a meal together, is a great way to get some distance and perspective from your problems.
Additionally, having a sounding board for our struggles and a supportive shoulder to cry on helps to ease the burden of our day-to-day challenges. The reassurance and support we receive from our loved ones reminds us that we have the strength to face our biggest hurdles.
Reconnecting emotionally and physically
Sharing your innermost thoughts and ideas allows your partner to connect with you by feeling valued and embraced as you show your vulnerability. Touching in a non-sexual gives you both the warm fuzzy feelings as you try to get a close to them as physically possible. Touching by holding hands, tickling, playful wrestling, hugging or sitting on your loved one's lap say’s ‘I love you’ more than if you had said the words.
Ways to reconnect with family
Designate an evening to eat dinner together, whether as a date night, or with the whole family
Have a family games or movie night
Go for a hike or walk in nature
Put a weekly lunch or coffee in your calendar
Walk your dog every evening after dinner for 20 minutes
Go to the park for a couple of hours each weekend
Play a family sport
Cook and then enjoy a meal together
Take a drive to a favourite lookout or picnic spot
Have Saturday or Sunday brunch together
Volunteer together one weekend morning
There are so many different ways you can dedicate time to reconnecting with your loved ones - the list above is just to get you started. The critical thing is to dedicate your whole self to this time with your family. Turn of your phone and TV, and really spend the time to reconnect.
Sue Geelan is a registered solution-focused counsellor based on the Gold Coast, Australia. She works with couples and families to repair and build relationships and take action towards a happier shared future together. Learn more about here services here.