ActiveYou: The power of friendship and close connectionsposted by Brent Brown on September 1, 2020
Good friends can be good for your health!
Interacting with others and forming connections is an essential part of staying happy and upbeat. Many of us enjoy being in a busy environment or surrounded by friends and family. But even if you can’t interact face to face, there are still ways to stay connected.
It’s not exactly news that being alone can lead to loneliness. And loneliness can lead to depression and anxiety. But you may not know that it’s also associated with other serious conditions like heart disease. So it’s no surprise that socializing and staying connected with others are recommended by mental health experts to help ward off these issues.
Arrange a virtual hangout – Go on virtual lunch and dinner dates. Lunch dates and romantic dinner plans can still happen with the help of a smartphone or laptop video call. Enjoy a meal and relaxing conversation with your friends or special someone right from your device.
Have a game night – Put away your devices and dust off the board games, trivia challenges, dominoes, and cards. You can also virtually invite friends to the occasion and have them join in on the fun via webcam.
Take a virtual tour – Family vacation or tours postponed? No worries. Several museums offer online virtual tours you can enjoy with your family and friends from the comfort of your own home.
Get moving – Join a live workout session from home. You can stay socially connected and get a great workout from many different online exercise classes.
Adopt a pet – Pets can be comforting and may also lower stress and blood pressure. Adopting a pet is a great way to improve your mood and prevent you from being lonely.
How can healthy friendships improve your well-being?
•Elevate your mood. Spending time with happy and positive people can boost your outlook.
•Help you reach your goals. Whether you’re trying to give up smoking, or otherwise improve your life, a supportive friend can increase your willpower and chances of success.
•Reduce stress and depression. An active social life can bolster your immune system and help reduce isolation.
•Get you through tough times. A solid support system can help you cope with serious illness, the loss of a job or loved one, or any other challenges in life.
•Boost your self-worth. Being there for friends in need can provide a sense of purpose.
Ways to meet new people
To meet new people, it’s important to be open to different experiences and to go outside your social circle; however, in this time of social distancing, meeting new people can be challenging.
Here are a few ways you can go safely beyond your regular social circle:
Be a part of new virtual groups and events. Try an online book club or support a community event. It’s a great way to meet people with common interests.
Attend an outdoor exercise class such as yoga or CrossFit. You can still be social while you practice social distancing.
Walk a dog. Dog owners often stop and chat while their dogs meet each other. If you can’t adopt a dog, volunteer to walk dogs from a shelter or a local rescue group.
Use social media. While spending too much time online can make people feel isolated, it can also be a helpful tool. Use Facebook Groups to help you find local people to connect with who share similar interests.
Don’t forget to reconnect with family and friends. Use video chat to have a trivia night, play bingo, or celebrate birthdays and holidays.
Note: Services are provided by ActiveHealth Management, Inc. The programs, care team, and care managers do not diagnose or treat members. They assist you in getting the care you need, and the program is not a substitute for the medical treatment and/or instructions provided by your health care provider.