Cherish your social connections | Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department

“Loneliness is a growing health epidemic.”

  • Friday, December 21, 2018 12:45pm
  • Life
Marcy Boulet is a Health Promotion Coordinator with the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.

Marcy Boulet is a Health Promotion Coordinator with the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.

The definition of balance is “an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady.” Sounds easy, right?

But have you ever lost your balance getting up too quickly? Or stumbled while attempting to learn a new physical skill? If you think about it, maintaining your balance can sometimes be tricky!

Keeping your balance is also important mentally and socially. In January 2018, former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy shared some striking facts about how important social connections are to maintain good health. Dr. Murthy stated, “There is good reason to be concerned about social connection in our current world. Loneliness is a growing health epidemic. We live in the most technologically connected age in the history of civilization, yet rates of loneliness have doubled since the 1980s.”

The holiday season can be a time where balance gets out of whack. It takes a lot of energy to get through the many festivities. A child’s winter festival at school, family holiday dinner, or your workplace party can feel overwhelming.

Here are a few ideas to help you find that sweet spot between feeling lonely, and feeling socially tapped:

• Pay attention to your sense of social fulfillment. Are you feeling lonely? Do you have a relationship that needs repair? This is a perfect time to reach out as we close this year and begin again. At the same time, it’s OK to pass here and there to rest and regenerate. Stop and check in with yourself about how you’re feeling.

• Aim to have at least three trusted people who would stand by you—no matter what. If you do, great! If you don’t, ask yourself what steps you can take to make some authentic connections. Make that a goal for the new year.

• If you’re someone who’s experienced loss that you may feel more deeply during the holidays, I get it. I am too. Make time for meditation, prayer, exercise or reflection. Take time to honor your grief.

• Invest time in your neighborhood or community for a cause that has meaning to you. Ideas abound during the holidays in your church, United Way, schools and civic groups. Research says you’ll live longer for getting—and staying—involved, and you’ll enjoy your life more along the way.

Read my other post on social connections that includes an infographic and places in Pierce County where you can connect with others. May you find your social and mental balance this holiday season, and in the New Year.

Cheers!

Marcy Boulet is a Health Promotion Coordinator with the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. She specifically focuses on community health, coalitions and social connections. This article was originally posted on the Health Department’s website last year, but was re-run for the holiday season. She can be contacted at (253) 798-4734.

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