When we think about self-care, we may only picture activities that involve ourselves, like journaling, meditating and taking time to rest. However, one important part of self-care is maintaining social relationships. This could include our relationships with our families, but also the people beyond that circle. Socialization and having close connections with others is important to our wellbeing. These relationships give us people who will listen to us, support us, and create memories with us.
Right now, it may be more difficult than usual to maintain our friendships as a part of social self-care, because of the pandemic. While it’s important to prioritize the safety of ourselves and others first, there are still ways to maintain these relationships without significant risk. Now, more than ever, having supportive social relationships is essential for our mental health.
Here are four tips for practicing social self-care:
The key to social self-care is finding a balance. It’s important to prioritize our relationships, but we also don’t want to spread ourselves too thin. It’s okay to focus on just ourselves when we need to take a break. You can decide for yourself what a good balance will look like between time for personal self-care and social interactions.
Practice Reaching Out to Others
Maintaining social relationships takes time and effort, from both sides. While it’s great to be the one saying yes to social invitations, it’s also good to take initiative to reach out to others too. Being proactive about making plans will show that you care about your relationships and that you are prioritizing them within the rest of your life. It’s also important to be mindful of who you reach out to. Put time into relationships that recharge you, add value to your life, and leave you feeling fulfilled.
Focus on Quality Time
Having surface-level interactions with others is not the same as social self-care. It’s more than just having brief meetings with people. These relationships are meant to be a part of your self-care, so they should be dynamics that make you feel good. Enjoying the act of socializing, with meaningful conversations and activities, means that you are getting the quality time you need within those friendships.
There are many different ways that you can feel recharged and content through your social relationships. You can get creative with how you spend your time with the people you’re close with. Incorporate your hobbies into you social interactions. For example, if you like to read, you could start a book club; if you like to cook, you could make dinners together; or if you like to exercise, you could go on walks or hikes with friends. The activities that you already enjoy as a part of your self-care can easily be shared with others too.