Categories
Adulting Bonding Tips Family

Finding balance in the new age of coliving

With the heightened measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19, we are now back to the default of working from home after being progressively going back to the office for a few months.

The concept of “co-living” was introduced to our modern world not long before the pandemic started where it was used to describe different people working and living together under the same roof. Little do we know that it would become a new normal for most people now. The highlight to this definition has shifted from “different people with the same purpose” to “working and living at the same place”.

The line between “working” and “living” has become fuzzy with this new concept. Juggling between work and family somehow becomes harder than most would have thought before.

Work vs Family?

What further complicates is the definition of “family”. With debates against the recent letter by a CEO to the employees which stated employees are not family, we started to think about who we should be calling family and what would be the implication.

LinkedIn poll on should we ever call our colleagues family trigger by Shopify CEO letter to employees family vs sports team

While the context of that debate focused on the business, shouldn’t we be also thinking from a relationship angle?

If my company is like my family, should I join that meeting or should I go and prepare a healthy meal for my blood ties family?

Regardless of your answer, we think there should be a balance. Even more during this critical period of time where we should keep a healthy well-being for ourselves and our loved ones.

Tips to find a balance of working and staying at home

Keep a schedule and make time for what matters most.

work from home mom with kid

Work can be tougher during this period of time as financial needs arise. Therefore, it could be easy for us to unknowingly spend too much time on it. Start building discipline to keep a healthy routine and make time for what matters to us aside from work – healthy meals, exercise, family time, and personal time. Not forgetting also, the people who matter to us but not staying with us. Especially if we have senior parents, make it a habit to check in with them to keep their emotional well-being in good shape!

For example, I make it a habit to call my parents before I start work in the morning.

Find out how Simi app can help you to check in with your loved ones!

Set boundaries and manage expectations

work from home mom finding balance at work and family

Setting boundaries for both work and family is crucial so that we don’t get stuck in between and end up burning ourselves out!

Consider questions such as: When must you shut down your work laptop? What are the times where you should make yourself available for different people? What are considered priorities? When should your kids not disturb you unless it’s an emergency? Which routine can be made flexible?

These boundaries should be communicated effectively with the different “stakeholders” both at work and family.

If I am not able to call my parents that morning due to work, I would send them a text so that they do not wait for my call.

Make time for yourself

work from home self care mindfulness meditate

While finding the balance between work and family, never forget to care for yourself too! Practice self-care means caring for your well-being from all aspects – physical, mental, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. Spend some time to practice mindfulness, write a journal, take a stroll in the nearby park, or try a new recipe could be some good ways to relax your mind and body.

Only when you are healthy then you will be able to work well and care for your family.

A family space

The concept of co-living may be limited to a physical space but a family has no boundary. Having a dedicated space for the family not bounded by the physical distance could mean more bonding can be formed.

Amidst your busy schedule at work and social life, coming back to this private space with only people who matter most to you could be just what you need in this new normal.

And this is what we build for you at Simi app.

work from home mom find time with kid
Categories
Understanding Needs

Practical Gift Ideas for Mother’s Day to Show Your Love

Mother’s Day is just around the corner!

How can we express our love to our dear moms, grandmothers, and aunts who have been showering us with their unconditional love throughout our whole lives? There are many ways to show them we care, as illustrated in the 5 Love Languages for our seniors.

One of the Love Languages is receiving gifts. If one of your mom’s love languages is receiving gifts, then this Mother’s Day is a perfect excuse for you to send her some surprises!

Here are our Top 5 Gift Ideas pick.

5 love languages for senior parent receiving gifts

How to get started on knowing what our parents need?

Read on: Back to basic: Simple ways to get to know our parents better

Read on: Women in your life – how can you understand them better?

1. Home Appliances

Electronics are getting so advanced these days that you can build your own smart home by buying appliances off the shelf.

Is your mother still using the traditional rice cooker? Is she still having to endure the smoke from deep-frying your favourite “sotong” (cuttlefish)? Maybe it’s time for you to introduce her some advanced kitchen appliances that is practical and simple to use. My mom recently love her new electric cooker / steamer which she can just reheat some soup or steam little buns at her convenience.

Don’t forget to help her to set up the appliance and guide her on how to use it. Adoption of new technology does not happen naturally!

2. Mobile Gadgets

When is the last time she upgraded her mobile phone? Is she having issues with the keyboard, volume, or speed of the phone? While she may think that it’s not necessary to change to a new phone as the current one is still usable despite some defects, it may be worth considering the convenience she gets to enjoy if she gets an upgraded gadget. Knowing what she usually likes to do on her phone can also help you decide on the model to get for her.

Most importantly, provide her with a “hyper-care” period by helping her to set up and get used to the new gadget, and make her feel safe using it.

3. Health & Wellness

Some examples of health supplements are vitamins, collagen, birds nest, herbal drinks. Always remember to verify the seller’s source and credibility before buying!

Choosing the right health supplements for our mother requires understanding of her needs. Does she need supplements for her joints, eyes, or digestive system? Does she has any allergy? Will she resist in taking supplements? If so, why?

Those are just some examples of questions to ask yourself before buying the supplements. It’s about buying for her needs and understanding her behavior.

Check out this HemoHIM herbal drink to strengthen immune system for women

Apart from supplements, massagers can be a good idea too. And make sure you teach her how to operate them safely!

Check out this Snailax Massager

4. New Hobbies

Helping our mothers to find new hobbies can be great too. Giving them new “toys” to learn new skills and pass time can help them stay energetic and youthful.

Be it a new cookbook, terrarium, or a camera drone, if you know something that might spark her interest, it’s worth trying to pick up the hobby with her. That will also encourage more quality time with her and even intergenerational bonding with your kids if any.

5. Daily Accessories

Who doesn’t want their mom to look good? Our mothers deserve to be pampered! We can get them new watches, jewellery, beauty & personal care items, and even new pair of shoes.

However, it can be tricky if they have very specific preferences. So, do some homework on observation. Although it’s about the intention of gifting and not about the gifts, it is a great bonus if the gifts are of their very liking!

Also, think about their current conditions. For example, if my mom is still working and she runs sales, though I know that she used to like wearing 3-inch high heels, should I buy her one if I know her knee is not feeling comfortable recently? Another example, should I get her a normal pretty watch or an Apple watch which she can pick up her phone call more easily? If I’m getting her an Apple watch for that purpose, should I get her an Airpod too? Well, the list goes on as we put in more thoughts into making their lives better.

Hope that gives you some good inspiration to get a nice gift for your mother this Mother’s Day! The best gift for her is nonetheless your quality time spent with her and your tender loving care for her.

By the way, Shopee is having sales right now for Mother’s Day!

Categories
Bonding Tips Understanding Needs

The 5 Love Languages of our senior parents

You may be familiar with the renowned book of Dr. Gary Chapman, “The Five Love Languages”, when you first got into a relationship or preparing to get married with our chosen one. But the concept of love languages goes beyond a romantic relationship. Discovering your love languages not just empowers you to ask for love in the ways you enjoy receiving it but also encourages you to question how the people you care about prefer to receive love and appreciation from you. It is definitely applicable to all kind of relationships as having this deeper understanding of yourself and your loved ones can help to take your relationships to the next level.

A particular challenging relationship that this concept can help to renew the energy is that of the ageing parents and adult children. As seniors age, their physical and mental challenges and limitations increase. Their adult children may sometime find it challenging to keep up with the relationship as they too are facing new phases of life. By applying the love languages to the relationship with your ageing loved one, you can be sure to discover transformation to your relationships!

Help your seniors discover their love languages

The first step is to discover their love languages. You can get some clues by thinking back on how they showed you love both now and as you were growing up. Were they affectionate or verbally encouraging? Did they make an effort to spend time with you, help you, or give you gifts to make you feel special?

Or you can also help them take a quiz on the 5 Love Languages website. Walk them through the questions and as they share their answers, you can get your answers too!

5 love languages for senior parent

How can the 5 love languages be applied to loving our senior parents?

1. Acts of Service

If your parent’s love language is Acts of Service, they would appreciate the ways you help them out, big or small. Very often, they may not feel comfortable asking for help, so taking the initiative to help them can mean a lot to them! Start by asking yourself, “what could I do that would make their life a little bit easier or happier?”. Observe their daily routine, what bothers them the most? Can you help them to remove those roadblocks? For example, helping them to pay bills online or organizing their medicine box. β€œLet me do that for you” is the magic phrase for this love language.

5 love languages for senior parent act of service

2. Words of Affirmation

Seniors whose love language is Words of Affirmation would feel most valued when you express your heartfelt feelings in words. Be generous with your kind and encouraging words to let them know you care for them and sincerely acknowledge or praise them for something they are good at – for example thanking them for preparing a nice meal and telling them how much you like their cooking. If saying “I love you” is awkward for you, try writing it down on a post-it note and paste it on their fridge or bathroom mirror. Writing a loving letter for them as a surprise can also be very meaningful.

Find out how Simi app can help you deliver those love messages without verbally telling them.

5 love languages for senior parent word of affirmation

3. Quality Time

Most seniors would appreciate quality time together. Seniors with Quality Time as their main love language would appreciate this even more. Giving them your undivided attention is how you show love to them. You could spend time to do activities together – such as cooking, making crafts, doing chores, grocery shopping, or even just stay at home to chit chat. They would know you spared your time out of your busy schedule to accompany them and that’s all they need to feel loved.

5 love languages for senior parent quality time

4. Physical Touch

As someone ages, loving and gentle physical touch gets rarer, which can be challenging for seniors who speak this love language. Holding your parent’s hand, hugging them, or simply sitting close to them to make them feel your presence can really make a difference. At times, you can also help to comb their hair, cut their fingernails, apply massaging lotion, or do some simple facial care. These would be warmly welcomed as signs of love and care.

5 love languages for senior parent physical touch

5. Receiving Gifts

For seniors whose love language is Receiving Gifts, it means they appreciate the thought behind the gifts. Be it a gift you bought or handmade, they would feel your love for them from the fact that you thought of them. It is even more valuable when you put effort into knowing their needs and preferences. A sweet surprise during special days can mean a lot to them.

5 love languages for senior parent receiving gifts

In summary, most people relate to all of the love languages but stronger in a few of them. Knowing your own and your loved ones’ love languages can help with daily interactions and showing affection to each other. Very often, someone shows their love through the love languages they most related to because they are familiar with it and they yearn for it. So, observe, reflect, and start speaking the same love languages with your senior parents.

Categories
Bonding Activities Understanding Needs

Women in your life – how can you understand them better?

People say that women are so hard to understand. Women in your life – your mother, grandmothers, aunties, sisters, girlfriend, wife, best friends… how well do you know them?

To build any relationships with anyone, you have to put in efforts. Just like building any business cases, you have to first do an assessment of the current status. So to improve the relationships with the women in your life, you first have to assess how well do you understand them. Where are the gaps? What did you not know about them? Knowing them better is sure going to help to enhance the relationships.

Relationships are built on emotions. But there is no easy way to understand them emotionally, especially women! The first step to knowing them better is to know their daily lives and their preferences. Here are some tips on how to understand our senior parents better, which can also be applied to any relationships practically.

Making an effort to knowing them can be awkward sometimes if you try to be very direct. That’s why a little gamification may help!

This coming International Women’s Day, we put together a simple Simi Game that can help you assess your understanding of the women in your life with some fun and bonding time!

Get the Simi Game – International Women’s Day Edition game deck here.

With each question, take the opportunity to discuss and have a heart-to-heart talk as well. We hope you have fun and get to know each other better at the same time! Let us know in the comment! πŸ˜‰

How well do you know your partner? Find out by playing the Simi Game for Couples.

Categories
Bonding Tips Understanding Needs

Back to basic: Simple ways to get to know our parents better

Are you confident in knowing your parents well – from their habits to their needs and wants? Are you sure that your knowledge of them is still up-to-date?

Growing up, it seems like there were more opportunities for our parents to know our habits and preferences rather than the other way round. We have been more vocal in expressing ourselves too. As a kid, most of us would naturally ask for things we want and sometimes, throw tantrums if we don’t get them. I remember I disliked herbal soup so much that I would cry and refuse to eat dinner. I got scolding by my mom, of course. But the next time she cooks herbal soup, she will make sure she cooks my favourite dish as well. Our parents observed our behaviours and learned to be better parents. They made sure to consider our favourite colour when picking our school bag; they tried to watch cartoons with us so that they know who we are talking about; they picked out onions from our dish so that we can eat happily.

When we become teenagers, our parents would be even more attentive in observing us so that they can tune in the right frequency as us. And they never stop doing that even as we became adults. They tried to learn our jargons and slangs so that they can join in our conversations more easily; they learned the meaning of emojis so that they don’t embarrass us; they wanted to find out who are our classmates and colleagues so that they can link our stories and gossips.

But this often does not turn into a reverse cycle where we grow up doing the same thing for our ageing parents. Most of us will only repeat the process for the next generation when we become parents.

Have you ever made an effort to observe your parents?

The needs to observe our parents in order to “serve” them better probably do not surface until we realised our parents need special attention from us due to their deteriorating health. But, we shouldn’t wait until that moment to start learning to do these. Even when our parents are well and healthy, it could mean so much to them if we pay as much attention to their needs as they did for us when we were younger.

What are their favourites – food, fruits, colours, places to visit, activity to pass time…? Have those changed over time? Are there conditions or constraints that we should be aware of that inhibit them from enjoying their favourites?

What about their preferences of styles? Type of clothing materials they prefer? Shoe type – sandals, flip-flops, open-toe…? The furniture at home? The little things they use in their daily life, such as a toothbrush?

Have we ever wondered, why do they always wear the same old shirt instead the new ones we bought for them? Why do they always like to eat salty or sweet food even though we have advised them multiple times of the risk?

Why are they so stubborn?

Sometimes, we got so frustrated that we chose to give up in trying to change them for good. But we failed to recognise that they chose to wear the same clothes because it’s more comfortable; they added more salt or sugar because their tastebuds are not as sensitive as before.

Observe to Understand

If it took our parents years to understand us, we must make efforts and time to understand them too. One practice that I learned is to simply observe their daily lives. Then, ask relevant questions.

A few years ago, I visited my parents and spent 10 days with them. My two main observations had helped me to engage them better.

  1. They are curious about new innovations, photos on the phone, news and happenings around us. This can be a good conversation topic to keep them updated and engaged.
  2. They have fixed routines and activities every day, e.g. time to watch the news, to water plants, to top up medicine box, etc. Catching them at those timings can help us share some quality time together.

I leveraged those observations as our conversation starters. To do so, I use two basic communication technics to engage them – Ask & Listen and Show & Tell.

Ask & Listen

Essentially, everyone wants their voices to be heard. With age, our voice gets more credibility and becomes louder. What we say becomes more significant within our circles. However, it will hit a plateau and go down. But the desire to be heard do not go down as significantly until we choose to accept it. This could potentially lead a senior to isolation as they no longer feel their voice is of significance to be heard by anyone anymore.

our voice significance and desire to be heard varies by age
An illustrative chart to show our desire to be heard as we age and how significant our voice is to others.

We definitely do not want our parents to feel that way someday. So, it is important to give them the stage to voice out their thoughts and needs safely. We can start by asking them questions related to our observations of their daily activities and habits. For example, knowing that my dad likes to follow the news on China, I can educate myself briefly on some current affairs or knowing some key names and ask him for opinions. More importantly, we have to give them full attention when listening. Do practice active listening and don’t insist if they are not in the mood to speak.

Show & Tell

If we are clueless about the topics our parents would be interested to talk about, we can be the ones doing the talking. We can do some guesswork and show them interesting pictures or videos (e.g. funny cat videos, cool gadget, old photos) and tell them stories about it. It is a trial and error, and we may not get their interest right from the first time. If they do not seem interested, move on. If they do seem interested, let them explore further and let them share their stories as well. For my dad and me, it was the Google Map that worked. When I was young, he always liked to show me the physical map book. He was fascinated by Google Map where he can scroll and zoom to anywhere. The next time we speak of a new place, he would ask to see it on Google Map! For my mom and me, it’s the photos of people on my phone. I would tell her their names and some stories (or even gossips) and that can take very far.

Go Now Go Further

As we grow up and enter into new phases of life, we leave our parents’ nest and set up our own. Distances can make it harder to bond. It will take a greater effort to race against their age to know them better and give them the best they deserve, just like how they cherished the moment with us as we grow up.

Make efforts to call them at a regular timing, try to exceed call duration each time, list out new topics to engage them, gossip with them, change their phone ringtone to your voice… I’m sure there are many other ways to enhance our relationships with our parents! Share your best practices with us!

Originally posted on Project Somebody Blog on June 2, 2019 by the same author.

Categories
Bonding Activities Bonding Tips Understanding Needs

How well do you know your partner? This V-Day, find out by playing the Simi Game for Couples.

Am I the only one who struggles to find the right gift for my partner during Valentine’s Day or other special occasions? Don’t you wish you can subtly do your research of your partner’s preferences before buying your gifts and worrying that your partner may not like it? Of course, it’s the sincerity that counts. Let’s be honest here – giving gifts that your partner says “oh, I love them!” but end up not using them, is kind of sad isn’t it?

If you recall, we have seen some “tragedies” on NUS Whisperers or Mothership that complained about their partners not knowing their preferences well. We may have our own comments about their materialistic mindset. However, it is not the intention of this post to solve their problems.

Building a healthy relationship is about openness in communication. It starts with making an effort to know your partner’s needs (physical, psychological, spiritual…) from their lifestyles, daily routine, preferences, and beliefs.

So, this Valentine’s Day, we prepared a simple “Simi Game – Couple Edition” to spice up our understanding of each other so that we can all be a caring and loving partner. πŸ˜‰ The game is very easy to play. You need to prepare:

  1. A piece of paper and a pen to record the score of your partner.
  2. Option card A/B. You can print it from the game deck or simply write your own.
  3. The game deck.
  4. [Optional] A soft toy to hit your partner softly if they get a simple question wrong.
simi game for couples example

Get the Simi Game deck here!

Game Rules (Normal):

  1. This is a game to test how well couples know each other in different aspects of life.
  2. This game contains a list of questions with 2 answer options – a or B. Print out 2 sets of the option cards A and B.
  3. Each turn, a player pick a question and flash to the partner player.
  4. The partner player has to guess which answer option would the player choose.
  5. On a count of 1-2-3, both players flash their option card.
  6. If the partner player flashes the same option has the player (i.e. the correct answer), the partner player scores a point.
  7. Repeat and calculate the scores.

Game Rules (Hard):

  1. To make the game even more challenging, try adding the following rules.
  2. Add 2 more options – Both or none.
  3. If both options apply, flash both option cards.
  4. If none applies, don’t flash any card. Shout out the correct answer instead.
  5. Correct answer +1 point. Incorrect answer -1 point. Remain silent 0 point, but can only use this option 3 times.
simi game for couples example
simi game for couples example

The questions in the deck include topics related to food, daily routine, brand preferences, behaviour and so on. They will be updated from time to time! If you have other questions or topics to add, please feel free to reach out to us on Instagram or Facebook!

Enjoy and let us know how it goes! πŸ˜‰