Social connections create a place of belonging and stability when life gets hard. Even having a handful of close parent friends can help you know that you are not alone in your struggles.
What is Social Connection?
You might think social connection is the ability to make friends, but it’s much more than that! Social connection is feeling close to another person or other people. And it includes feeling cared about by others and belonging to a group or community. Science shows that social connection is a core need for all people and helps you feel content with life!
Why do social connections help?
Parents who feel valued by and invested in their communities are more likely to reach out for help when needed. Parenting is hard! But when we have a group of people that help lift the load, it can be a little easier. Besides creating a support system for you and your family, social connections have lots of positive benefits! They can:
- Lower your anxiety and depression
- Help you regulate your emotions
- Create higher self esteem
- Increase your capacity for empathy
- Improve your immune system
How do I make social connections?
Making meaningful social connections as a parent can be difficult! With so many responsibilities and limited time, it can be difficult to set time aside for yourself. On top of that, putting yourself out there can be vulnerable and you may feel uncomfortable at times. When you feel uncomfortable, remember that half of the battle is showing up and simply saying, “Hi!” to someone.
To build more social connections in your life:
- Participate in neighborhood or community gatherings in your area, like potlucks, picnics or dinners!
- Join an activity at a local child care, community center or family resource center! This will give your kids time to make friends while you socialize with other parents.
- Visit your child’s school activities, class parties or parent meetings to get connected!
- Check out your online community! Join your local facebook parenting page, or set up a profile on Bumble BFF. The internet has made the world a little smaller and sometimes that’s a good thing.
- Wherever you go, remember to stay present, get involved and find shared interests! You may be pleasantly surprised about what happens when you stop hiding behind your phone.
If the task still seems daunting, check out this video from SoulPancake to get inspired!
Melinda Gates put it best:
“Deep Human Connection is…the purpose and the result of a meaningful life andMelinda Gates
it will inspire the most amazing acts of love generosity and humanity.”
As you start (or continue) your journey to build connections, know that your efforts benefit not only you, but also your family. Parents need friends! And whether your social connections are with a few close friends, or with many, the love and support you receive will help you and your family in ways you can’t even imagine!
If you are interested in learning more about other protective factors, join us at the Joining Forces Conference for parents, caregivers and professionals! The conference will be held virtually on April 25th and 26th. We hope to see you there!