Last year I experienced more downtime and opportunities for new activities. Some evenings and weekends were filled with wedding planning, others with board games or cooking experiments. I enjoyed the extra time afforded to spend with my fiancé. I thought my drastic schedule adjustments would be hard to get used to, but it was fairly easy.
Before long, I knew previous schedules and activities would make their return. Meaning I needed to decide what was most important to me and what I was not willing to sacrifice. One of my top love languages is quality time. Over the years I find myself recharging in the presence of close friends and family. This rang even truer last year.
Along with all of 2020’s changes, I learned how important quality time with my fiancé, family, and close friends was to my mental health. Matt and I made date nights in, meaningful conversations and new experiences a priority. Our engagement came at a unique time that allowed us to focus on intentionality. We drew closer together and strengthened the foundation we started to build.
Time with friends meant a lot of game nights over zoom, virtual happy hours, or small gatherings. We found ways to deepen our friendships in fun and unique ways. In years past we hiked, laughed over dinners, took short road trips, or barbecued. Remaining close was important to all of us. Knowing this, we committed to putting in the energy to strengthen our connections.
Each of these efforts brought more knowledge and understanding of how I recharge. I saw the value my friends and family placed on my time and presence. My outlook on the situation around me improved as I realized the gift I both gave and received from my friends and family. An overwhelming feeling of groundedness encompassed my mind as I surrounded myself with people I love. My mental health saw improvements as I felt the worth of my relationships through these lenses.
As the word reopens, I want to ensure I prioritize what’s important to me. Consistent quality time with my loved ones brought me sanity, joy, and something worth anticipating. Sanity in knowing my friends are always there; joy from deepening those bonds; anticipation of unique and fun activities. Gathering and spending time with others takes effort but will always be worthwhile. I’m learning the value of prioritization, engagement, and investment. All three of these will help as I evaluate who and what is important in my life. I am growing in each of these areas so I can be a better wife, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, and co-worker.
How can this apply to you? This month make a list of ways you spend your time. Challenge yourself to grow and learn what you need. Make YOU and your mental health a priority.