Strengthening our Social Support Network
Overview: Strengthening our Social Support Network
Having a good network of support from friends and family affects both our mental fitness and our general wellbeing and physical health. So if we find that we’re not opening ourselves up to connecting with others or not making time to support people we know, it’s critical to make changes. You don’t need a huge network. Just a handful of friends and family, in and out of the workplace, is enough just as long as you engage with them regularly.
Poor social support networks have been shown to have an impact on our mood, especially if we are feeling lonely. A strong social support network means that you have more emotional, physical and logistical support available to you, both day-to-day and when life throws challenges at you. Relationships with others provide an opportunity to talk things through and even for mentoring which often reduces the stress and anxiety of problem solving. Social support can also improve the motivation and perseverance we need to reach our goals. It even affects our immune system which keeps us fit and healthy and capable of performing at our peak.
Stop and think about how much time you are spending with friends and family.
Does it feel like you spend enough of your time with others, so you can be supported by them and support them back? Are you realistically giving yourself the opportunities to build a supportive social network? Maybe you choosing to avoid other people or you just feel you don’t have time in your life for them.
- Don’t wait for others to pick up the phone or to organise things. Be proactive and reach out to them.
- Sometimes we need to use the amazing levels of technology we now have, from messaging to video calling. Don’t rely on technology, though, as face to face will always be the most beneficial way to engage with someone.
- Don’t be shy to seek support from your peers. A problem shared is not always a problem halved but it still makes sense when you need to work things through.
- Find like-minded people. Try expanding your network of social support by going to places or joining clubs where you know there’ll be people with similar interests.