Our lifestyles changed dramatically over the past year. Quite suddenly, normal working and socializing activities ceased, and we became confined to our homes. Throughout this pandemic, virtual events and remote working tools have been (and continue to be) vital lifelines for many people. However, today, as vaccination programs are underway across global populations, a return to in-person activities has become a possibility for many. As we’ve learned over the past year, being too close to others raises the risk of COVID-19 transmission. However, there any many benefits to being physically present with others that can’t be replicated with the help of an internet connection… As long as we respect and adhere to social distancing guidelines. Here’s why we need to get back to in-person activities as soon as possible.
Feel better, naturally!
Lockdowns protected populations from widespread COVID-19 transmission and attempted to safeguard the health of nations. However, there were numerous downsides, bringing with them their own consequences. Through prolonged solitude and the lack of human interaction, many people started to feel the effects of social isolation, anxiety, and depression. For some, protecting their physical health meant hurting their mental health. But in-person activities can protect both our mental and physical health. According to the Mayo Clinic, socializing staves off feelings of loneliness, helps to sharpen memory and cognitive skills, and increases our sense of happiness and well-being because it increases self-esteem and self-confidence. Bring exercise into the mix to keep the body healthy and voila! Need we say more?
Rejuvenate team spirit
When we’re physically present with a group of people, we absorb atmospheres and the energies. As great as online get-togethers are, they do not and cannot give us the same feeling. And we simply don’t use the same level of interpersonal skills online. The result of this is two-fold: 1.) we lose some people skills and 2.) we don’t feel as connected to others. This can be undone by slowly integrating more in-person engagement opportunities in a safe and responsible way. For employees, reigniting bonds with colleagues and leaders results in better collaboration; that wonderful feeling of all being on the same team and part of something greater than ourselves.
Exercise gives the brain a massive boost by releasing endorphins that interact with our brain receptors to reduce our perception of pain and trigger positive feelings. Physical activities also stimulate the release of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin- chemicals vital to mood regulation. Therefore, social interactions help us feel connected and an energized mind helps us to perform at our best. Getting these benefits together, as a team, will make that team more enthusiastic and productive.
Isn’t it time we got back to engaging physically?