This week our Soul Sister Health gals are talking friendship.
Friends with benefits. Real benefits. We are talking benefits to your health - both physical and mental health! We talk about this topic a lot, because we really truly believe that this is really important for true health. Being fit and eating well is really only part of the equation. As humans, having a community around us is vital to our health and wellbeing. We were not designed to live in isolation. We all desire support and community to varying degrees but research constantly recognises the importance of having ‘your people’, or ‘tribe’ in our lives.
It is fact that people with strong social networks live longer and live a healthier existence, with less illness, than those without the strong network. Social support, whether from a trusted group or valued individual, has been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological consequences of stress, and may enhance immune function. Social networks, whether formal or informal, provide a sense of belonging, security, and community.
In fact, social support is now proven to be a literal life-saver. People that are supported by close relationships with friends, family, or fellow members of church, work, or other support groups are less vulnerable to ill health and premature death. There is also a strong tie between social support and measures of wellbeing. Those who have close personal relationships cope better with various stressors, including bereavement, job loss, rape, and illness (See Salovey, 2000)
When women have babies, it can be a particularly isolating experience. Often times you have left a job, you are forced to spend a lot more time at home due to manic feeding and sleeping schedules and sometimes, it is just too hard to get out the door. This is a particularly vulnerable time and one that we know first-hand can be extremely tough. We all crave support from other women in different ways – whether it is long chats with a girlfriend(s), debriefing and comparing notes with your fellow mums, phone calls with your own mum for advice, a daily verbal download with colleagues or just for a good ol’ fashion girls’ night out!
You might need people around you all the time or prefer those interactions for short bursts of time, the reality is, we need to set up our lives to ensure that we are getting the support we need – none more so than at this time!!
In our increasingly technical world, we hear a lot about the negatives and how it is the death knell for ‘old fashioned’ face-to-face relationships. But, consider how -email, skype and social media have blossomed and now enable people, particularly in more isolated settings, to stay in touch with friends and relatives and even create relationships with people they haven't met. As our lives get busier, online connections become increasingly important – at the very least they can provide support, information, and comfort – and sometimes you don’t even need to get out of your pyjamas!!
The message here -"find your tribe" - whether that is a physical group you can belong to and seek support from or a virtual one - it may seem so trivial but it is so vitally important to your overall health! You need to know you are not alone. We all struggle and life can be really challenging. For many women it’s a constant juggling act and the priority for your own health falls way down the list. It can be so reassuring to know that other women are going through what you are going through. None of us are perfect. Personally, we consider ourselves permanent ‘works in progress’ when it comes to our health, but we know that with each other we can all move towards a healthier life and a more vibrant existence.
We are so utterly passionate about creating a community for women, who just like us want, need and deserve that support, even if you don’t realise it, just yet! We are women, we are sisters, we are friends, we are mums and through our personal and professional experiences we have come to appreciate all of the many struggles faced when it comes to creating a balanced life, full of health and happiness.
Are you looking for a somewhere to start? Well, you have come to the right place :-) Our Soul Sister online community is a place in which we want women to feel comfortable, supported, inspired and empowered. We are all about women and we are for women. You can join our growing online tribe now, in so many ways! Sign up to our mailing list at soulsisterhealth.com.au, follow us on Instagram @soulsisterhealth or jump on our Facebook ‘Health Hub’ for loads of health, nutrition & exercise information and tips. Plus you will be the first to know about any ‘tribe only’ discounts and specials!
Anna & Em xo
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Salovey, P., Rothman, A., Detweiler, J., & Steward, W. (2000). Emotional States and Physical Health. American Psychologist, 55(1).