Did you see this title and start counting on your fingers: “I know there’s physical health, mental health… wait, social health??” Social health refers to wellbeing gained from someone’s social bonds and interpersonal relationships. Humans are such social creatures; we all need social interaction for our health, even those that consider themselves to be very introverted. Having strong relationships has even been shown to increase physical health, not just emotional wellbeing!
I just moved 3,000 miles away from my home in Portland, OR to start grad school here in Newark. While I have already met some incredible people here and they are helping me keep my “social tank filled” as it were, I still miss my community on the west coast. A lot of us had to relearn ways to be social this past year and even though we can still see some of our people in person, maybe there are still some that you can’t. Below are some things I have been prioritizing with my friends and family back home in order to stay grounded and feel emotionally full and happy!
Nurturing Your Distanced Relationships:
- Have an on-going game (like Words with Friends) that you play back and forth.
- Schedule an on-going “appointment” the same time every week/month to catch up.
- Host Zoom happy hours with groups of friends.
- Send a good ol’ fashioned letter or postcard.
- Start planning a trip or fun activity for the next time you will see each other.
- Take a 10 minute break to call a friend while you go on a walk.
- Watch a movie “together”: start it at exactly the same time so you can chat throughout!
- Pick a recipe that you cook “together” so you can chat while you’re in the kitchen.
Doing these things with my closest friends back home has kept me feeling so much more fulfilled and therefore able to concentrate and perform better in school. The next time you are feeling burnt out: drink a glass of water, eat something comforting and do one of these things with someone you love – I promise it will make a world of difference.
Written by GUADS staff member Kate.