Healthy Habits

Build a Social Support Network

little girl with mother and grandmother

Content provided by the Health & Wellness Team at GBS Benefits

Those who find ways to relate to friends, family, and neighbors experience a higher quality of life.

A strong social network is critical when experiencing any level of crisis, from a tough day at work to a traumatic event. Those who find ways to relate to friends, family, and neighbors experience a higher quality of life. Support systems create a safety net of people willing to listen to concerns, provide comfort, and brainstorm solutions. Support is also essential in preventing isolation and promoting physical and emotional health. Having a pre-built social safety net will provide a sense of comfort during times of need.

Creating a social network doesn’t happen overnight. Compare this process to creating a patchwork quilt. A variety of different pieces are added over the years, while others are replaced when worn and frayed. Some unique pieces may be surprising but add a fun element to the quilt. Consider approaching daily life by looking for ways to improve social connections. This month focus on sustaining current relationships, building new relationships, and redefining existing relationships.

Sustain Current Relationships

Identify friends and family members who offer support and help. Who listens and provides advice? Who looks for solutions to problems? Take time to tend to these relationships by reaching out to connect regularly and by reciprocating this support.

Build New Relationships

Build new relationships by joining a club or volunteering to meet new people with similar interests. Make time to visit with neighbors and find common ground. A great way to build new friendships at work is by sitting with a different group of people at lunch. Take advantage of technology by writing an email, sending a text message, or video chatting with new friends and coworkers.

Redefine Relationships

Be aware that some relationships can run their course during certain seasons of life. Relationships can ebb and flow as people change, and that is okay. Be mindful of possibly toxic relationships that are doing more harm than good. It may be necessary to step away from friends, coworkers, and even family members. Aim to build relationships that are positive and helpful and put others on pause when they are no longer reciprocating support.

Relationships are Reciprocal

Social support is certainly not a one-way street. Relationships are synergistic and work off each other. While we rely on others, we also serve as a form of support for our friends, family, and neighbors. Offer health and assistance to those within your social network and be proactive to notice, listen, and validate others.

Don’t be afraid to tap into your social networks for help – that’s what they are for!

Did You Know? Having adequate social support enhances quality of life and promotes strong psychological health. A secure network of family and friends can be critical during times of need. Strive to strengthen your social network by reaching out to others and offering support to those in need.

References
https://mhanational.org/stay-connected
https://extension.umn.edu/stress-and-change/building-social-support-connections
https://www.verywellmind.com/social-support-for-psychological-health-4119970

 

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