Our favourite ways to keep celebrating and stay connected

Now, more than ever, it is important for people to find ways to stay connected with loved ones.

It’s part of our DNA, we are all people-persons. While hunger and thirst signal the need to eat and drink, we yearn for social connection because we really do need it for our wellbeing. Whether it’s talking, listening or a hug, connecting with someone helps us feel soothed, especially when things feel out of control.

So now we’ve lost the chance to catch up with friends and go out to dinner, or have a meal with the whole family, how can we stay connected without being face-to-face?

Here’s our four favourite ways to connect and celebrate the best things in life, albeit a little differently.

1. Host a virtual dinner party

The “done thing” on a Saturday night in the eighties, dinner parties are now back in vogue - this time with a twist. Virtual dinner parties are as simple as using Zoom or a chat room to dial in friends and family and enjoy a meal together online.

It’s a chance to laugh, share frustrations or worries and spend quality time together. It’s a way to connect and gain those important physical and mental benefits associated with sharing meal times.

You can link in friends and family, whether they live in the next suburb or in another country. To make it even more fun set a theme, dress up, play a game or try all cooking the same dish.

2. Log in for lunch

If you’re now working from a home office, it’s easy to skip your lunch break or mindlessly eat at your desk.

So, if you find yourself working through lunch, or you‘re missing your work mates, try taking a virtual lunch break with your colleagues. Creating a virtual lunch hour will help draw a line between work and create space for those important brain breaks.

It may also create one of the few moments in the day to laugh and just chat. While it may not seem as important as a pressing deadline, this banter helps strengthen relationships, develops empathy and builds support. Even better, grab the laptop and sit outside in the sun while chatting.

3. Gift of baking 

It’s no wonder COVID-19 has prompted a boom in baking. It’s far more than a boredom buster.

Baking focuses your attention on a calming activity, just like the mindful colouring-in craze. It’s a creative release that can make you happier and it also stimulates the senses, which can increase feel good endorphins.

If you’re worried about eating all your baking creations (watch out waistline) try looking for ways to share your cakes - it will make someone’s day and yours too. Why not drop a cake off at a friend’s or family member’s house?

It’s sure to go down a treat and will give you a chance to check in at a distance. Try a driveway cuppa with a neighbour over some cake. Or if your child has a birthday coming up, why not make cupcakes and take them to friends ahead of a virtual birthday party, so you can all sing happy birthday and enjoy the cakes together online.

4. Take a cooking lesson with an expert

Many celebrated chefs are offering virtual cooking demonstrations to stay connected with passionate foodie followers and offer up the flavours they can’t serve up as they normally would.

Tune in and gain useful culinary skills, which you can then serve up as something new to your household. Even better, if you have a family member that makes a dish that’s always the star of the family dinner or an heirloom recipe, ask them for a virtual cooking lesson – the next expert in the family might just be you.

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