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Humans are inherently social beings. We look to others for cues on behaving and surviving in an uncertain world to maintain social health. We also rely on their support for our emotional well-being.
However, having friends means being a good one yourself. You need to put in the energy to nurture your relationships if you expect folks to be there for you when you need them. Here are eight tips on how to maintain your social health.
1. Cherish Your BFF
What would you do without your BFF? They’re there for you through hardships at work and on the homefront. They deserve a little TLC for all the richness they bring to your life.
Let her know how much you appreciate her friendship. You can do so by turning her Facebook page into a tribute to your many adventures together. Are you not on social media? Why not have a girl’s weekend. Even if the weather is yucky or your wallet’s bare, you can binge-watch your favorite shows in your pajamas while making popcorn and enjoying each other’s company.
2. Take Charge of Your Schedule
Getting out your planner might not sound like a social activity. However, here’s the deal — if you don’t plan to manage your responsibilities, you’ll find them spilling over into your personal time.
Many of us already have enough between working multiple jobs to meet rising economic demands and raising children to consider social hour a premium. Please don’t risk losing it because your other responsibilities spillover, eating up every minute.
It doesn’t matter if you prefer an app or an old-fashioned paper planner. Sit down each Sunday night and chart your week — including time for socializing. You don’t have to attend a party each week, but you should leave space for phoning friends and going on date nights with your partner.
3. Get Active
You want a social circle that supports healthy habits. One way to grow yours? Get active yourself.
You don’t necessarily need to join a gym, although that’s one option. If you go that route, it’s generally best to find one between your home and work to make it convenient.
Another option is finding a walking or running buddy or group in your neighborhood. You can use Meetup and Nextdoor to connect with others near you who share your fitness hobbies.
4. Join a Club
If you’re in university, expanding your social network is a snap. Inquire about clubs on campus and find one that suits your interest — you can find those dedicated to anything from astronomy to arts and crafts.
However, please don’t think you can’t connect this way if you’ve already graduated. Check with your local parks and recreation department — they probably have various activities you can join for a free or low cost.
Volunteering puts you in the perfect mood to meet new friends. It sets off a neurochemical storm of dopamine and oxytocin in your brain, making you feel upbeat.
Are you remaining behind closed doors while Covid is still a threat? You can find virtual volunteering opportunities running phone and text banks for organizations in need of soliciting votes and donations.
6. Adopt a New Hobby
Enjoying a new hobby is another way to meet folks. You’re bound to run into someone at the bike or runner’s shop who shares your enthusiasm.
Are you looking for a relaxing pastime? Fishing lets you kick back on the shore with a brewski — and share conversation with a new friend. Even heading to the local park to feed the pigeon gets you out and communicating with others. You never know who you might meet.
7. Invite a Relative for Tea
When was the last time you invited someone over for a spot of tea? You might reply, “never” — why not change that answer?
This tip works particularly well if you have relatives who also need to maintain their social health but remain isolated due to medical conditions. Why not set up a weekly virtual tea time via Facetime or Google Meet? You’ll safely enjoy the companionship.
8. Connect With Animals
If you have a dog, you know it’s sometimes challenging to go for a walk without at least one stranger approaching you, asking to pet your pup. Animals are natural icebreakers, giving you an instant topic of conversation.
If you love the furry set, but your landlord or dorm manager forbids pets, why not walk dogs for a local shelter? You’ll increase your daily step quotient, do a good deed and meet new folks in your community.
How to Maintain Social Health
Humans weren’t designed to live in isolation. We need positive interactions with others to learn from each other and offer emotional support. However, you have to put in the time and energy to nurture your connections. Learn how to maintain your social health by heeding the eight above tips.