When we think about being ‘connected,’ many of us think about cell phones or connecting via social media. Others think of making social connections through work or friends, or meeting up for dinner at a local restaurant. We have a lot of tools at our fingertips to connect with friends and family these days. But what does being connected really mean?
Social connections look different for everyone; some prefer to play sports with friends, others have a hobby that allows them to connect with friends with the same hobby, still others connect at work, school or church. The bottom line is that connecting- talking, being social, laughing, enjoying other people's company- is good for us!
So how might you get connected? Try one or two of these tips and see how you feel!
Have you thought about learning to knit or play badminton, do you enjoy bingo or want to join a walking group? York and Adams counties have a lot of activities to get involved with. Senior centers, parks, the YMCA or YWCA, the Jewish Community Center or local churches are a great place to start.
Reaching out to a new person or connecting with an old friend can seem scary at first, but is usually worth it. Think of something you have in common before you call or walk over- start conversation based on what you have in common and go from there.
Don’t be afraid to ask for the help that you need. Call a friend or family member and let them know you are having a hard time. Talk to them about ways they might be able to help you, or just be honest about your feelings. Ask them to check in with you sometime soon.
If you are looking for a way to get connected to others and are not sure of what you might like, consider volunteering some of your time. Helping at a food pantry, checking on elderly neighbors, or reaching out to others in need will help you feel good about yourself and will help someone else!
Remember that friend that you have been meaning to call, just to see how they are? Maybe you were supposed to call them last week, or month, or even last year, and never got to it. Reach out to some friends you haven’t spoken to in a while, or send an email to an old friend to see how they are!
If you are feeling isolated or are having trouble making connections, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Professionals like your doctor, nurse, psychiatrist or therapist might be able to provide some additional tips. In addition, you will have the opportunity to connect with them by sharing your struggles.
It may seem silly, but having a conversation outside while getting the mail or taking out the trash may help us feel more connected to where we live and the neighbors around us. Many people believe that being connected starts with talking to neighbors and feeling like a part of the community we live in.
Pick one or two of the above tips and see how it goes. Whatever you decide to do, be proud of yourself for taking charge of your own feelings! Remember that connecting- talking, being social, laughing, enjoying another’s company- is good for us!
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