We mourn and learn from our Yesterdays, to enjoy and celebrate our Today!
In the previous article, we discussed the stages of grief and how we are all grieving losses from the pandemic. But once we have processed through our grief, how do we move forward? With summer now in full swing and Covid restrictions virtually gone, there are so many great opportunities to gather with the friends and family members we may not have been able to see this past year. Summer is a wonderful time to be outdoors and go on adventures with the people we love–and it doesn’t have to cost much (or anything) at all! Here are some ideas to bond with your people this summer:
Plan a Picnic
Why not enjoy a good old-fashioned picnic at the park or on the beach? This timeless and classic outdoor activity is perfect for the warm months and a great way to spend time (and enjoy delicious food!) together. Prepare a homemade meal and dessert beforehand, or run to the grocery store for some yummy deli sandwiches. Then invite your friends, pack the basket and blanket and be on your way! There are great spots to picnic pretty much everywhere, so find a convenient and quiet place near where you live and make the arrangements. Everyone will be glad you did!
Find a Walking/Jogging Buddy
Summer is a great time to be active, and what better way to stay consistent than finding a buddy to exercise with? Whatever you’re into–swimming, biking, jogging, or plain old walking–grab a friend or family member who also enjoys that activity and schedule a regular time to do it together! You will be so much more likely to stick with it if you have a partner (or a few!) to hold you accountable. It’s also so much more fun and can help distract you from the discomfort of burning those calories!
Host a Barbecue or Dinner Party
Whether or not you have a barbecue, having friends and family over for an evening meal is a wonderful summer pastime. Don’t be intimidated if you don’t know how to cook or don’t feel like you have the best hosting skills–enlist help! You can always do a potluck-style dinner and have everyone bring a dish so all you have to do is clean your house and prepare a table. The important thing is bringing people together around food and fellowship. Nobody will judge your decorum; rather they will appreciate the effort you went to to get everyone together. Sharing a meal together is one of the best ways to grow intimacy with others.
Join a Bible Study or New Serving Opportunity at Your Church
Most of us feel a little more adventurous during the summer months, so why not channel that energy into joining a new ministry at your church? It is likely that small groups and serving opportunities are back to meeting in person, so this may be a great time to get to know some new members of your congregation. Or, this may be the time to join a new church! Many people are trying to reconnect and connect with new people after being isolated for so long, so take advantage of this ripe time for new relationships. It can be scary to step out and try something new, but usually it is well worth it if the motivation is meaning and connection. You will find that most people are very receptive and welcoming to newcomers, especially in the church!
It’s been a long year. Covid has taken a real toll on each of us, and self-care is crucial right now. Whether you find being with or without people relaxing, do what is most restorative to your soul at this time. Don’t feel pressure to be constantly social just because you can now, but rather ease into it. There will be plenty of time to gather together going forward, and your people will still love you and be there for you even if you don’t feel quite ready to jump back in full force. Take the time you need to readjust to everything opening back up and be kind to yourself in the process. None of us came out of this pandemic unscarred, and it’s unreasonable to expect things to go right back to “normal.” Have grace with yourself, and whenever you feel ready, go out into the world and enjoy being with your people again.