It has been a 2020 we will never forget we are now facing into a new year like never before.
Whether you found yourself surrounded by loved ones or alone over Christmas, let's not forget that we are all social creatures as humans.
The relationships we develop and maintain with others deeply matter to our wellbeing and health, which can be tested during the current Covid-19 pandemic.
Full Level 5 restrictions are now inevitable as the health system feels the strain. The recent surge in cases coupled with weather changes, decreased daylight hours, and less socialisation are expected to exacerbate feelings of hardship and distress.
It’s never been more important to stay connected. Although it looks like we will have to remain socially distant again this January, that doesn't mean we need to be emotionally distant.
TV Presenter Baz Ashmawy tells us how he stays connected with friends and loved ones while keeping his distance. He said:
I'm lucky as I grew up in the 80's where we had a different relationship with the telephone. You see, long before phones were high tech computers they were devices we used to talk and emotionally connect on.
With social media and the texting app's galore, we can sometimes replace chatting on the phone with quick messages and emojis. It's just not the same. That's not talking. It's essential to check in on friends. See how they're doing or when you're feeling a little low talk to someone.
We all know the importance of exercise. And training together is excellent, but even a socially-distanced simple walk with a friend is a fantastic way to lighten the load of your exercise regime while also seeing a friendly face. Don't underestimate it.
The combination of light exercise, fresh air and human bonding is really everything the body and mind need. Many people supplement their regimes with loads of different supplements and protein powders, but I've found I prefer to take my proteins from my food and as far as supplements, I only take Zenflore now. I honestly find it helps so much with my mood, my concentration and my energy levels. I'm a busy guy, and it compliments my lifestyle. It can take the edge off during particularly busy or demanding times. Makes me just that bit sharper and reduces tiredness.
I've always been a gamer, which might not appeal to everyone, but online gaming is huge, simple and great fun. It's an easy way to laugh and enjoy the company of your friends while also spending time together. As for what console to use? Ask your friends what they're playing on. If anyone's looking for me, I'm on the PlayStation.
When I would moan as a teenager my mum used to always say "you've far too much time on your hands" and this can be very true. Take up a new hobby with a friend.
It'll give you something to occupy your time with while also having something to connect with friends over and keep each other accountable. Jigsaws, cooking, painting, guitar, bodyweight training - anything!
You'll be able to laugh and support each other while constructively using your time - you never know, you might even enjoy it.
Technology. We live in an age like no other. We have zoom parties, poker nights and Netflix movie parties. There's live video conferencing on everything from Skype, Whatsapp, Google Hangouts. You name it!
There are a million ways to stay connected. Doesn't matter how you do it, just make sure you do it.
Be good to your friends and yourself.