Whether you’re celebrating a big win, grieving a loss or simply sharing your day-to-day achievements, having a strong support system to share with is priceless. Physical health has always been important – historically, medical professionals encourage patients of all ages to take care of their bodies with physical activity, good nutrition and restful sleep. But total body health is a combination of physical and mental well-being. In recent years, mental health has (finally!) become an important topic of conversation. And as a result, many people are being more mindful of their stress levels, being more conscious of things like boundaries, self-care and self-love.
While there are many tactics out there that can support mental health, there are little things we do as human beings that can improve our emotional and mental well-being. Something as simple as indulging in good conversation with a close friend has the power to reduce feelings of depression and anxiety. Confiding in a relative, sharing the mental load of a to-do list with a partner or bonding with a colleague over a big project can help ease stress. If we’ve learned anything over the last two years, it’s the importance of having a strong support system.
By definition, a support system is a network of individuals that can provide practical or emotional support. This means you have someone to rely on when you need them the most. And a support system looks different for everyone. Maybe it’s composed of parents, grandparents, siblings or other immediate family. Other times it’s co-workers, friends, teammates or neighbors. Here’s a few advantages to having a strong support system:
- Being able to “vent” to a trusted friend helps to reduce stress and anxiety, and can increase your mood.
- A basic human need is to feel a sense of belonging. Whether it’s with family or friends, we need to feel safe in order to thrive.
- A support system is a two-way street. Not only do you have someone to depend on, but you also provide a safe space for those you love. This improves your self-esteem as it feels good to know you have someone who cares for you, but it’s also nice to feel needed.
- Emotional support during good and bad times is priceless – a good support system is available during both and is pertinent to emotional health.
So, what happens if you don’t have a strong support system to turn to? Lack of support has been linked to depression and loneliness, which increases the risk of alcohol use, cardiovascular disease, depression and suicide. Socialization is a basic human need, and there are ways to grow your network so you can surround yourself with people you can trust and depend on. Here are a few ways to find a healthy support system:
- Volunteer for organizations or causes that are important to you – this is a great way to meet like minded individuals who you share an interest with.
- Join a gym or a sports league – not only will you support your physical health and pick up new hobbies, but this gives you an opportunity to connect with other motivated, inspirational people.
- Take the time to get to know your neighbors and colleagues – you never know when you’ll hit it off with someone who could turn out to be a great friend.
- Strengthen your bonds with your family and friends – check in and regularly and don’t be afraid to open up.
The point is, we all need someone to talk to – whether we’re happy or sad, mad or inspired. Having a strong support system is something we might take for granted until we need to lean on them during trying times. So take this as a friendly reminder from the Hiveclass team to express gratitude for your existing support system and make yourself available to those in your life who need you!