These days, it seems the word “social” has come to mean jumping on a smartphone or computer to engage in social media as much as it does engaging in real human contact.
Why is human contact important? Because depression, poor self esteem and even a shorter life span are just a few of the side effects of social “disconnection.” In addition, being social (outside of the cyber world of Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and the like) has a positive side effect of helping make others feel good about themselves and building stronger ties with the ones you love.
Here are a few easy ideas to not only help improve your social wellness, but also your health!
1. Join a Gym: Becoming a member of a fitness club usually means that you’ll have access to a network of people though classes and other fitness events. Many times you end up connecting with someone who can help you reach your fitness goals, or even meet you for a coffee or smoothie after a workout!
2. Volunteer: Volunteering not only gets you out of the house and gives you the opportunity to meet others, it also helps make the world a better place and brings smiles to faces of those that you’ve helped. Volunteering helps you feel useful, which is an important human social element (click here to learn more about volunteer opportunities at Griffin Hospital).
3. Choose a Hobby: Chances are that there are others who enjoy the same things as you do. From photography to knitting, you can easily become engaged with a group that can help propel you to the next level of your craft while making friends in the process. Search online for local clubs or look into your local place of worship, library, or community center as a starting point.
4. Nurture Your Friendships: Perhaps you’ve been spending too much time with one person, or you’ve been meaning to catch up with some old friends but just haven’t made the time. Take this opportunity to connect with old friends or find the time to call a friend you haven’t seen in a while and rekindle relationships.
5. Connect with Pets: The love of animals often brings people together. If you have a pet, join a pet club or look for pet events at your local pet center or rescue shelter. Studies have also shown that owning a pet (like a dog or a cat) can help lower stress and boost self-esteem.