It has been proven that having a strong support system is essential for a healthy and fulfilling life. Friendships are important to your support system, but you should also have a wide range of social outlets. Having multiple resources and connections will help to ease your daily stress. If you find yourself struggling to connect with others when you need it the most, here are some tips.
Know What You Need
Everyone is different, which means you have to know exactly what you are looking for from a support system. Are you in need of friends who can help you unwind or are you seeking more professional connections? This is good to re-evaluate because we are always changing. What you needed a year ago could be completely different than what you need now. Knowing what supports you are lacking is a good first step in building a strong team of people around you.
Strengthen Your Existing Bonds
It is easy to forget that sometimes our biggest supporters are the ones who have been there all along. While it can be tough to stay in touch with friends and family throughout the years, don’t let the time or distance stop you from reaching out. If you are feeling gloomy, call a friend. You might be surprised that they are happy to hear from you and have probably been meaning to reach out as well.
If these relationships already exist, you are starting on pretty good grounds. Maybe it’s time to strengthen these bonds, even with people who live far away. Schedule a video call or plan a trip to visit them. If your friend lives close by, try to make impromptu plans with them. It may feel awkward at first to reach out if it has been a while, but once you open that door and allow yourself to be vulnerable, it may feel like there was never any time in between talking to begin with.
Embrace Your Interests
If your friends and family are not available on a more frequent basis, you can seek a social support system that is a little closer to you. This fills two needs: making new friends and giving you a new place to go when you feel low.
Think about which activities you enjoy or are interested in learning more about. You can join a local team or try a meet up. It may feel nerve wracking when you’re surrounded by new people, but don’t worry because they are experiencing similar feelings. While not every group will work out perfectly, the more you put yourself out there, the more opportunity you allow yourself to meet people. The best part is - even if you don’t make a new friend, you’re at least trying a new experience and engaging in a stress relieving activity.
Expand Your Professional Network
If you are at a point in your life where you are career minded, it can be extremely beneficial to create a strong professional support network. Your friends can certainly be helpful when you need someone to talk to, but having a professional network will help you when you want to take that next step in your career.
To start, you can look both inside and outside of your company. If you are planning to switch jobs, it is better to find additional resources outside of your current job. There are professional meetups, networking events, and happy hours. It is valuable to spend time with people who have similar goals as you to give you motivation and inspire you to work harder.
Seek Professional Support
Seeking professional support helps you when you feel that you need that extra level of help. Talking with an unbiased professional can help you feel less overwhelmed and get you back on track. Exploring your inner workings and the way you relate to others can help you form better relationships with others. To work with a therapist, click here.