The last few years have been strange and frustrating, to say the least. For so long, we were advised to avoid gatherings, including (and even especially) those around the holiday season – the time of year when gathering had always been commonplace.
Families and friends had to be separated from each other due to the pandemic, only getting together virtually for an occasional Zoom call or spending time waving at their loved ones through windows. Even worse, so many had to spend the holidays alone.
While COVID continues to be a reality, one that we’ve grown to live with, families are spending time together once more, people are visiting friends, and the holidays are again spent in the company of those we had to avoid for so long. People are enjoying togetherness. They’re laughing more, hugging more, and spending time together while enjoying face-to-face conversation.
It’s been long studied and concluded that enjoying close social ties with friends, partners, or family members can make us happy and improve our overall life satisfaction in the long run. In-person meetings and gatherings allow people to share, laugh, comfort one another, and be present in ways they couldn’t with social distancing.
According to Medical News Today, “… direct person-to-person contact triggers parts of our nervous system that release a ‘cocktail’ of neurotransmitters tasked with regulating our response to stress and anxiety. “In other words,” the article said, “when we communicate with people face-to-face, it could help to make us more resilient to stress factors in the long run.”
The fact is, we NEED to be around other people. And now, for the most part, we can be.
Having the opportunity to be together with friends and family at a holiday gathering has brought us a new appreciation of the little things – like just being able to see our friends and family in person! It has made us appreciate that human contact we went without for too long.
Once again, we can bask in the simple joy of being together. Enjoy the holidays with those you love.