Hey there, culture ambassador! Did you know that having a solid social support system can have a huge impact on your mental and physical health? Yup, it's true! Building and maintaining social relationships can help us cope with stress, reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation, and improve our overall quality of life.
Not only that, but even in plenty of those awards to show who is a top company to work for they ask the question: Do you have a best friend at work? Turns out, our relationships are a big indicator of our success or even failure. So, we need to take a closer look at how social support can benefit both our mental and physical health.
When we have a supportive social network, we're less likely to experience depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. Having friends and family to talk to and share our experiences with can provide emotional validation and encouragement, help us gain perspective, and develop a more positive outlook on life.
And let's be real, sometimes life can be tough. I'm thinking of myself right now and how we have 2 kids, both under 3 years old, and between sleep deprivation, constant pulls on our time, and so many other challenges as a new parent...we NEED help cuz this on top of everything else in life is TOUGH. But having a strong social support system can make those tough times a little bit easier to bear. Having someone to lean on during those times can make all the difference. I'm so grateful for my wife and I's family support between our two sets of parents. There's no way I'd even be half as sane as I am now (and that's still only a shade of my full potential) without them.
But the benefits of social support don't stop there! Having a supportive social network can also have a positive impact on our physical health. Studies have shown that individuals with strong social support systems have better immune system function, lower blood pressure, and a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. Plus, when we surround ourselves with people who encourage healthy behaviors, like exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet, we're more likely to adopt those behaviors ourselves. I don't know if you've heard the phrase "we're a reflection of the closest 10 relationships we have" but let me tell you - you should evaluate that soon and see how things are stacking up for you and your support network!
Speaking of, how can we cultivate and maintain those relationships? Sometimes we're a little out of practice when it comes to friendships, or maybe you're building a new network because of moving, previously toxic relationships or a myriad of other potential reasons...Sit down honey - we got you!
- Make Time for Relationships: Set aside time for social activities and make plans with friends and family members. It's all too easy to get caught up in our busy lives, but making time for relationships is crucial. If you're like me, you need to put this in your calendar and schedule this. It may seem forced at first, but trust me - it'll yield great fruits!
- Be a Good Listener: Show interest in others and be a good listener. Ask questions, show empathy, and validate their feelings. People love feeling heard and understood. If you're wondering how to do this, practice our L.U.V.E.R. model: Listen - Understand - Validate - Empathize - Repeat
- Stay Connected: Use technology to stay connected with friends and family members who live far away. Schedule regular phone calls or video chats to stay up to date on their lives. While I'm not big on social media, you could use this too, but just realize that social media has been shown to do more harm than good for our mental health. Treat it with respect!
- Join Groups: Join groups or organizations that align with your interests and values. This can be a great way to meet new people and build relationships based on shared experiences. Like bowling? Running? Sand Volleyball? Just about any hobby can bring together a community of people. Go check out these potential groups!
- Volunteer: Volunteering can be a fantastic way to meet new people and build relationships while also making a positive impact in your community. This may sound odd, but if you're in a new town - start here. These are often some of the best people to get you plugged into the city around you. They know the area, know different needs, and lets face it if they're volunteering chances are they are good people to be around :-)
Social support is a crucial aspect of our overall wellbeing, with positive impacts on both our mental and physical health. By prioritizing relationships, being a good listener, staying connected, joining groups, and volunteering, we can build and maintain a strong social support system that enhances our overall quality of life. So let's get out there and start building those connections!