The world hasn’t looked the same since early 2020. When life just started to return to some level of ‘normalcy’ in 2021, coronavirus showed us just how adaptable it could be with a new variant that brought with it different lockdown regulations here in Hong Kong. But the pandemic has also forced us to adapt in a way. These regulations and restrictions have not only impacted our daily lives but the relationships that weave together our livelihood. So how does one build, maintain and care for their relationships in such trying times?
The importance of relationships
Continually research shows that quality of connection to others is correlated to our overall quality of life. But toxic work cultures can blur the boundaries between work and life through the advent of technology. It is so important to schedule time for relationships and connecting with our people, as it can be a source of strength for ourselves.
With unpredictable lockdowns, facilities closed, friends and family far away, we have to find new ways to connect with people. Simple ways include zoom and facetime, as connecting with family and friends through video is extremely effective and not to mention fun.
The science in communication
But why is communication so essential? Communication develops the highest levels of oxytocin, the hormone responsible for empathy and trust. Naturally, connection in-person is largely responsible for its’ release. However, given global travel limitations and regulations, video conferencing is the best bet that some of us have at continuously fostering connection with our loved ones. Thankfully, research has found that video conferencing is about 80% as effective at producing oxytocin as in-person communication. Let’s schedule time in our calendar for spending time with people we care about, to continue building those essential relationships.
How to build connections
We build connections through sharing our emotions. A great way to engage this skill is by witnessing each other through different chapters and sharing activities. Although travel is not accessible to a lot of us, we can create spaces online and in-person experiences where possible. This could be as simple as reading a book together so there are more talking points to share, this could be on Audible or by creating a book club where you all meet regularly. If your family unit has children, reading books aloud to them as a bonding activity is a great way to foster connection. Having cousins in different countries share the same book over several weeks can also help family members not feel so far away from one another. Additionally, playing online games through apps such as Words with Friends allows you to have friends in your life even when you can’t physically play together.
Ultimately, making time to connect is a key component of relationship development with your children, your partner or yourself. Giving the relationship your full attention means everyone gets more out of the time. Just because you live with people doesn’t mean quality is being invested in the relationship. Instead, ensure time and attention is given to the relationship, as these connections are the things that increase our quality of life and give us that little boost that gets us through this difficult chapter.
Dr. Kimberley Carder specialises in working with children, helping them appreciate how the family system and their relational understanding is affecting the present moment.
At MindnLife, we provide assessments, psychology, and child therapy programs, designed to strengthen and support optimal social and emotional development. Our psychologists work closely with parents to provide all-rounded support to the child. We strive to create an environment of trust where the child will feel safe to share. Book your appointment with Dr. Kimberley Cardner here: