We all wish we had more time to spend with our loved ones. But after a harried 9 to 5 day at the office, we find ourselves crashing, either into bed or in front of the TV, instead of spending quality moments with our kids, spouses, partners, and friends. We rationalize that we’re better off not sharing our cranky, stressed, and often sleep-deprived selves with our families, and mentally commit to make up for lost time on weekends or holidays.
But while we wait for those “opportune moments” to show up, we miss out countless opportunities to forge real connections with the people around us. How do we find that perfect balance of “me time” and “we time?”.
First of all, cut the guilt when it comes to your kids. Studies conducted on the relationship between child-parent bonding time and children’s success levels (both socially and scholastically) have shown that the relationship is not direct. Kids growing up with hovering, constantly available stay-at-home moms or dads don’t necessarily feel closer or more positively toward their parent. The conclusion of these studies show that quality trumps quantity when it comes to familial bonding. So that quick trip to the ice cream store after school can mean more to your child than a three-hour homework session, if you truly communicate, engage with, and take interest in your child’s observations and opinions all the way through.
Secondly, set aside time on your calendar, ideally once a week, to go out with some friends. It’s been consistently proven that social interaction on a constant basis leads to decreased stress levels, lower risk of depression, and overall better health. And again, quality over quantity. You don’t have to hit up fifteen bars with Steve in order to reap the benefits of social time. A quick bite to eat, phone call, or even online game of cards can really deepen your relationship without cutting into your busy schedule.
Keeping track of time is an underratedly difficult task in our modern era. While our attention is constantly being pulled away from the things that matter, it’s up to us to make meaningful use of our limited free time. Why not treat yourself to a discount luxury watch to celebrate these precious moments with your loved ones?