By Amy Ouzoonian
I'm waiting in an airport in Denver, about to send my partner a calendly to schedule a heart-to-heart conversation. That's when I realize that we've gotten too busy for our own good, or at least I have. Sure, my work is important. I love what I'm building in MoodConnect, but it's important to remember that the connections we maintain with friends, partners, and family significantly contribute to our overall well-being and our ability to thrive. Strong interpersonal relationships can reduce stress, improve mental health, and even increase longevity. With that in mind, let's delve into the importance of making time for relationships outside of work and how to fortify these connections.
The Power of Personal Relationships
1. Reduction of Stress: Spending quality time with loved ones can provide a much-needed respite from work-related stress. Engaging in enjoyable activities and deep conversations allows us to vent, laugh, and refocus our energies on the non-work aspects of our lives.
2. Improved Mental Health: Strong social support can protect against mental health issues like depression and anxiety. Interactions with friends, partners, and family provide emotional support, boost our mood, and enhance our self-esteem.
3. Increased Longevity: Astonishingly, a study published in the journal "PLOS Medicine" suggests that robust social relationships may be as important for increasing lifespan as quitting smoking and surpassing other well-known risk factors for mortality.
Given these compelling benefits, it's clear that investing in our personal relationships is not just a luxury but a necessity for health and wellness.
Cultivating and Strengthening Relationships
Now that we understand the importance, let's explore some ways to nurture and strengthen our friendships and relationships with spouses and partners.
1. Prioritize Quality Time: Allocate regular, undistracted time for your loved ones. Whether it's a weekly dinner with your spouse, a monthly catch-up with friends, or a daily phone call with family, make these interactions a non-negotiable part of your schedule.
2. Effective Communication: Honest and open communication forms the bedrock of any relationship. Express your feelings, thoughts, and needs clearly. Equally important is to listen actively and empathetically when others share with you.
3. Celebrate Milestones: Celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and other significant milestones. These occasions offer an excellent opportunity to express your love and appreciation for your loved ones.
4. Shared Activities: Engage in activities that you all enjoy. Shared hobbies, sports, or interests create a common ground for bonding, facilitate enjoyment, and create lasting memories.
5. Support in Times of Need: Be there for your loved ones during challenging times. Offering your support during difficult moments demonstrates your commitment to the relationship. Ask for help when you need it as well. Relationships that are mutually beneficial are the best.
6. Frequent Check-ins: Regularly check in with your loved ones, especially if you can't meet physically often. A simple message, Facetime, Zoom, or call can go a long way in showing that you care and are thinking of them.
7. Express Gratitude: Never miss an opportunity to express your gratitude for their presence in your life. Genuine appreciation strengthens emotional connections and deepens relationships.
Relationships are a priority that often gets forgotten, but truly our connections and network is our networth. So, in the end I didn't send my partner the calendly, I took a moment and called him and we talked a little and it was good to be in the moment, connecting with someone I love. These simple ways that we can practice self-care and more is available for you to access and you can track your own mental health as you connect with your family and loved ones, when you sign up for MoodConnect.