Enhance Your Social Health This Season

September is a whirlwind of a month! Back to school shopping, new schedule changes with the kids, change in temperature and weather. It can be overwhelming, but it is also a beautiful time to lean into the newness and excitement of it all. 

As we start to turn inward, and prepare for more time indoors with family and friends, it is important to check in with your social wellness. Not social media or news, but tangible, in person, vulnerable conversation social interactions. 

I think we can all agree that this part of our wellness has taken a big hit in the past year, and here at 5 Journeys, we emphasize this pillar of wellness so much that it is one of the 5 Journeys we discuss with our patients! So why is social health so important? 

High quality social health or hygiene, if you will, is associated with increased immunity, memory and brain function, and has even been shown to decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease (1). Additionally, having social interactions with others face to face stimulates neurotransmitters to release oxytocin and dopamine which reduces stress and anxiety, and makes us more resilient to stress in the long run (2). 

How do we suggest you practice social wellness? Well, first, make sure that the relationships around you are healthy and enhance your quality of life! If a relationship is causing much more stress than comfort, it may be time to seek out what the foundation looks like, and how it can be mended. Finding a great psychologist or mental health therapist is a great first step to help you get there more efficiently. 

Here are a few more tips and tricks to practice this fall to help enhance your social interactions: 

Eat & Cook together!

Celebrate family meals month by having the kids or your spouse choose a special meal they would like to make and enjoy together. Eating together as a family on the regular is associated with lower rates of mental illness, substance abuse, eating disorders, and higher rates of resilience and higher self esteem (3).

Be intentional about having one-on-one time

This helps to deepen relationships and form more solid bonds of trust that make us feel safe and seen.  

Set aside time with no electronics or other distractions when with others.

Make an agreement to put away all distractions for a set amount of time to really be with each other in the present moment. Maybe try a new board game, go for a hike, or take a walk around the block after dinner. 

Plan a trip!

Quality time is a great way to strengthen bonds, especially with children that are so impacted by positive experiences. Choose a place the whole family would like to visit, pack up the car, and take a drive to make more memories that will last a lifetime.

Join a group or club with a common interest

If you are new to the area, or in search of some new healthy relationships, search your local community or online for others who share similar interests. It could be a book club, gardening club, or even a spiritual group that you identify with. I can bet that there are plenty of other people just like you, looking to make new connections. 

 

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  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3150158/ 
  2. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321019 
  3. https://www.gse.harvard.edu/news/20/04/harvard-edcast-benefit-family-mealtime