The relationships we have with other people are one of the most important factors in our overall wellness. Research has shown that people who have a strong social support network have improved mental and physical wellness, and are less likely to struggle with problems such as low mood and worry.
Unfortunately, in the modern world, many of us suffer from loneliness. There are many possible reasons why somebody might struggle with social connection, including busy work schedules, mental health and substance use-related concerns, and, more recently, restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you’re trying to manage mental health or substance use-related concerns, there are a number of reasons you may find it difficult to maintain your relationships with others. For example, you might have trouble getting up the energy for social gatherings, or you might feel anxious about social contact and find yourself avoiding other people. While there’s nothing wrong with skipping out on a social event every now and then, in the long run, withdrawing from your relationships with others is likely to do more harm to your well-being than good.
Even if you are not dealing with other wellness issues, the COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult for many of us to connect with others in the ways that we’re used to. Although conversations over the phone or the Internet are better than nothing, it can feel more distant than in-person meet-ups. On top of this, while we used to have social contact with many different people as we went about our day-to-day lives (think chatting with a coworker at the water cooler), now that many of us are working or attending school remotely, we might not encounter many people unless we deliberately schedule time to spend with them. This makes it easier to lose touch with the people we care about.
Make a point of scheduling time to spend with your friends or family.
Join an interest group in your local community, or find online spaces dedicated to your interests & passions.
We can only show up for the people we care about if our own needs are also being met. Make time for things like self-care.
If you’re lonely, don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed: even before the pandemic, a growing number of people have been struggling with loneliness.
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