Strong social networks make life easier and happier!
Often when you’re feeling overwhelmed by work, study, family commitments and life in general, you cut yourself off and hunker down, thinking that any social interactions take time away from what you should be getting on with. The truth is socialising is an invaluable tool for stress relief and is vital to your wellbeing.
Studies show people with strong social networks are generally happier with greater job performance and leadership skills.
When your schedule seems so tight, it feels impossible to spare half an hour to meet a friend for coffee, it's probably even more important to take the time to reach out.
Tips for creating a strong support network
- Commit to at least one social engagement per week. It could be simply coffee with a friend or spending time with a special interest club.
- Make use of technology. Face-to-face interactions are best but staying connected with your support network through emails, texts and social media, is a useful way of staying present in a relationship, especially if you are far away.
- Follow your interests. Sign up for a class, join a club or volunteer your time. Even if you don’t make new friends instantly, connecting with like-minded people will inspire you.
- Make use of our online study groups to connect and network with other students completing the same course as you.
- Not everyone has one special friend they can confide in. Look at different relationships for different kinds of support. Perhaps you have a work colleague you can talk to about work problems or another school mum to chat to about your kids.
- Don't wait for others to reach out , it’s ok to ask for help, no matter how awkward it feels.
- Be there for your family and friends even if just to say hello. If you are there for others, they’ll be more likely to be there for you.
- If you’re suddenly faced with a particularly stressful situation, for example a chronically ill family member, seek out support groups. You'll find relief in talking to and sharing with people going through similar circumstances as you.
- If you lack a strong support network, there are many organisations you can turn to. Community centres, Citizen Advice Bureau, and refugee and immigrant groups may be able to help you identify and connect with specific support groups. New Zealand Now has some useful links for immigrants or simply Google specific support groups.