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Connection as Self-Care: Together We Thrive

Connection as Self-Care: Together We Thrive

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The secret to happiness isn’t working the most impressive job, or living in the fanciest home, or being the most attractive person on the block. Most of us know this on a surface level, but somehow we still find ourselves striving for those things that we are told will make us happy. They may bring happiness for a moment, but then what? What will contribute to lasting happiness? One often overlooked factor of our overall happiness is the quality of our relationships. As human beings, we need each other. It is together we thrive, because true connection is the best form of self-care.

One often overlooked factor of our overall happiness is the quality of our relationships.

Human beings are hardwired for connection. Whether you identify as introverted, extroverted, or somewhere in between, the need for social connection remains strong. As babies, we quite literally cannot survive without a loving caregiver. Our life depends on getting our needs met by others. As we grow older, the need for others changes from a physical necessity, to an emotional one, making it easier to ignore.

Image is of two different skin toned hands holding each other with a brown background, showing connection as self-care.
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What’s the science of connection as self-care?

One Harvard study that was conducted over the span of 80 years (yes, 80 years!!) found that our relationships are a major factor in our happiness. Out of all the other possible factors for happiness that were measured, good relationships were at the core of it. Those with solid social connections also were show to have greatly improved health outcomes as well.

Loneliness has become a serious public health issue in our country. This is especially true for older generations, immigrants, and the LGBT community. It can also be correlated with higher risks of health issues, depression, anxiety, and even suicide. Loneliness may seem like no big deal, but it is actually very much cause for concern. We need each other, and it’s important that we always remember that.

Now what?

Having strong relationships requires work on both an individual level and with the relationships themselves. To have thriving social connections turns out to be easier said than done. Do you inner work so that you can have connections with others that are solid, healthy, and energy-giving. To help with that, check out one of these books for strengthening relationships and improving friendships. Also, read more here at Maidenfolk about how to improve your relationships in this article: 10 Essential Ingredients for a Healthy and Happy Relationship, or 20 Conversation Prompts to Deepen Connection. Know that your need for solid connections is not frivolous. Your desire to have community is an innate and important desire that deserves to be tended to.

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Sometimes, self-care is only portrayed as something that requires solitude, introspection, and seriousness, or that success is only achieved with long hours at work, often at the sacrifice of family or social time. However, the truth of self-care and success is much broader, nuanced, and diverse than that. Joy, play, and pleasure are necessary in our lives. Give yourself permission to enjoy your life and those close to you, and know that is the best form of self-care. Strengthening our core relationships brings more joy and long term happiness to life than anything else.

When time alone is needed, give that to yourself. Notice, though, if your alone time becomes unhealthy isolation. Reach out and ask for support if you need it, and check on others in your life as well. Even neighbors and far away friends. Host a neighborhood get together or a co-workers happy hour. Make the effort to get to know people, and truly ask about how they are doing. Life can get overwhelming at times, but putting in effort to grow your connections with others makes life even more worth living.

What are your thoughts on connection as self-care? Share with us @Maidenfolk on Instagram and let us know, and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter below!

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