Isolation is a major cause of depression. As we move into adult responsibilities, such as work, parenting, and marriage, we tend to let our relationships fade into the background. The trend to work remotely has increased our isolation. In the ever-increasing tasks of “adulting,” self-care often takes a back seat. Self-care includes physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, personal, and professional tasks. A healthy support system plays a role in all these categories of self-care.
Whom do you already have in your life? Do you feel respected by this person? Do you trust this person? Does this person bring out your best qualities? Does this person allow you to feel good about yourself? We often ask ourselves when we should ask for help, what we think will happen if we do, and whether our expectations are positive or negative.
Here are some great tips to build a personal support system:
Turn to family and friends
There is no substitute for family and good friends to support and encourage you when the chips are down. Sometimes just talking to someone can lift your spirits and help take the weight off your shoulders. Having someone listen to your concerns helps make you feel supported and understood, which in turn encourages you to look at things differently.
Cultivate a variety of interests
Read more, go to the movies or a play, listen to great music, enjoy beautiful art. Engaging in healthy and mind-expanding activities can preoccupy you when you need a healthy distraction. Not only do they preoccupy you, but they also help you grow and develop, therefore leaving less time to brood or stay down for very long.
Exercise and play sports
Have an assortment of exercises or fun sports you can draw upon to work out and let off some pent-up energy and steam. There is nothing like a good workout to stimulate your endorphins, the “happy hormones.”
Take a short, affordable trip
We all have someplace we’ve always wanted to visit, but just never got around to it. Travel to a big city like Chicago or Toronto and partake in the cultural treasures it has to offer. The experience can expand your horizons and give you that change of scenery you need. Or just take a trip to the countryside and enjoy the bucolic surroundings.
Create a quiet place or sanctuary for yourself
Find a quiet place in your home, a corner in your local library, or a park where you can go to meditate, contemplate, or rejuvenate yourself. You can go for a stroll in the park and enjoy the flowers, trees, and birds and connect with your surroundings.
Volunteer at a hospital or nursing home
Take a day and volunteer your services to someone who needs your help. Giving support is as important as receiving it. It will put things in perspective.
When we are down, rather than resorting to unhealthy outlets such as overeating or consuming alcohol or other harmful substances, we can find positive ways to express ourselves while at the same time building resilience.
Dan Jachimiak is a life coach and life-skills trainer working with teens, young adults, and adults in the Toledo area. He can be reached at 419-787-2036. ❦