Love in the Time of COVID

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Is it just me, or has it been a tough year to connect with people? Our usual sources of community have not been as available to us during the pandemic. Even with the people inside our own four walls, our normal rituals used to create intimacy may have been interrupted. So as Valentines Day rounds the corner, how do we fan the flames of love in the time of COVID?

The last 10 months have demanded that we become more creative, flexible and resilient than ever. This also applies to the ingenuity needed to stay connected to those we love most. During what we all refer to as “normal life”, the recommendations usually would involve things like regular date nights with your S/O, parent/kiddo outings, family vacations, girls dinners, etc. etc. But much of that has been a no-go since last March. Even trying to adventure in the great outdoors is risky because what if someone suddenly needs to go to the bathroom and you aren’t allowed inside anywhere with your 8 year old who is now about to explode? It all feels so stressful and it’s just easier to give up and stay home. Plus, that feels safer. 

But sometimes–although well intentioned–safety keeps us at arms length from each other. And when this whole thing is one day over, do we want relationships that are a mile wide but an inch thick? I doubt it. 

So, how can we celebrate the holiday of love this year while also obeying COVID protocol? It takes some intentionality and planning, but it can be done! Here are our top 5 favorite ideas!:

  • Family Date Night Idea: The Great Sing-Off!

Grab one of these fantastic bluetooth wifi-enabled Karaoke mics and have your own            family edition of American Idol! Pop some popcorn, craft a fantastic playlist and sing the      night away with your favorite people!

  • S/O Date Night Idea: Date night in….in a box!

There are so many fun date night subscription boxes out there, that it takes all of the          stressful planning away! You can put the kiddos to bed, open the box, a bottle of wine        and simply enjoy each other. Laughing and flirting–who needs a fancy locale for that?        Your kitchen table is the perfect place as long as you are with your perfect match! 

  • S/O Date Night Idea: Take it on out to the Drive-In!

During warmer months, the inside theater is not your only option for going out to the          movies with your hunny! Our local drive-in was hopping all summer and due to the            pandemic, they bent their rules on allowing outside food. So grab some Thai from your        fave QC place and catch the latest blockbuster under the stars with your love! A lot of        park districts also hosted drive-in nights for the whole family–an event we hope does not go away in the years to come! 

  • Girls Date Night Idea: We are nailing this friend thing!

Have you gotten good at this Zoom thing OR WHAT?? We are rock stars so why not bring that energy to your girlies over video messaging? Texting is fun, but we need to see each other’s faces & laugh wrinkles! There are a lot of fun ideas out there like board game night, crafts, trivia, etc. One that has really taken off is an at-home mani party over Zoom. So turn on those cameras, poor the margs, laugh with your girls and get your nails looking fierce! Just lock the door so that no one in your family tries to interrupt girl time!

  • Parent/Child Date Night Idea: Take a hike, kid!

Not sure about your little bundles of joy, but mine are TOTALLY OVER BEING INSIDE ALL THE TIME ON SCREENS WITHOUT SEEING THE OUTSIDE WORLD IT IS TOO MUCH AND THEY ARE DONE. So, when trying to carry on the tradition of forging bonds with your kiddos one-on-one, it’s nice to get them outside (in a safe way) and off of a screen for a minute (praise be!) We have some amazing local hiking spots available to us and even on balmy winter days, there are opportunities to get outside and breathe some fresh air together. Away from the hell that is remote learning, working from home, grocery delivery, masks, hand sanitizer and all the rest. So grab your mini-me and stretch your legs!

What has worked for you to keep love alive during COVID? We’d love to hear your creative Valentines Day (and normal everyday) ideas in the comments below!

For another fun family bonding night idea, go here!

Let’s use this weird time in history to actually strengthen our relationships! Can we do it? If we use our time well, we sure can!

Date night IS doable–even during a pandemic! Find some ideas here and here and some encouragement to build into your S/O relationship here!

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Becky Clark is a local Rock Island mama to 2 kids--ages 10 and 6. Becky has been married to her high school best friend, Derek, since 2005. Becky and Derek have been Quad Citians for 10 years, although they originally hail from the northern Chicago suburbs. Becky is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and provides therapy services part time at South Park Psychology in Moline as a contracted private practice clinician. She also teaches Social Worker courses online for Ashford University. Becky is very active as a volunteer at the kid's school as well as at their home church, Bethany Baptist in Moline. Becky loves spending time with her family, friends and her church family. She also enjoys being a tourist in her own town, reading, crafting and volunteering for ALL the things--much to her husband's dismay. The Clarks hope to add a furry {baby} family member to their brood this summer, ensuring that no one will ever sleep again. To follow Becky's clinical therapy business on Instagram, visit her at: https://www.instagram.com/12stonescounseling/ To schedule a psychotherapy session with Becky for you or your family member, call South Park Psychology in Moline at 309-797-2900 and ask to be scheduled with Rebekah Clark

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