When you think about managing your mental health, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? For many people, it might be seeing a therapist or counselor, taking medication, or practicing deep breathing exercises or meditation.
Those things can help your mental well-being, and other mental health boosters such as spending time outdoors and exercising are also important. However, don’t ignore the benefits of quality time with your friends and family.
By spending more time with the people you care about, you’ll have a built-in support system for anything you might be struggling with.
You probably didn’t need an excuse to spend more time with friends and family, but whether you’ve been struggling with your mental wellness or just want to make it a priority, let’s cover some of the most significant benefits you can expect.
You’ll Reduce Your Stress
Stress impacts everyone in different ways. Eliminating stress completely from your life is next to impossible. However, too much stress can cause a variety of physical and mental health issues, including:
When you spend time with people you love, you can openly discuss your emotions and anything that might be causing stress in your life. Your friends and family can’t necessarily take the stressors away. However, allowing yourself to be vulnerable and feeling comfortable enough to talk with people can help reduce your stress levels and make them easier to manage.
Additionally, the emotional support you’ll get from those people helps to improve your psychological wellness. Studies have shown that people who spend more time with family members and friends have a greater sense of purpose and find life more meaningful. What’s a better stress reducer than that?
You’ll Boost Your Self-Esteem
Whether you’ve dealt with self-esteem issues your entire life or it’s a recent problem, spending time with people you care about can boost your confidence.
Quality time with friends and family can remind you how special and important you are. It’s not necessarily about having people compliment you or tell you you’re great. It’s the time itself that bolsters you and helps you recognize you have much to give.
It’s a positive cycle, too, since people with close friends and family ties are more likely to have deeply-rooted, supportive friendships. That kind of support can make it easier to deal with things like:
If you’ve started to experience symptoms of those issues due to low self-esteem, consider spending more time with those closest to you.
It Combats Loneliness
If there’s one thing the COVID-19 pandemic reminded us of, it was the devastating effects of loneliness and isolation. Loneliness can be an incredibly harmful issue, leading to symptoms of anxiety and depression. It has even been found to increase suicide rates and affect mortality.
Loneliness is nothing new, of course, but because the COVID-19 pandemic caused so many of us to isolate and stay away from others for so long, it became a huge problem for millions of people.
Technology can help to fight loneliness and keep you from feeling isolated. We’re lucky to live in a time that allows us to connect in other ways beyond face-to-face meetings. However, there is no replacement for spending quality in-person time with people. Whether you’re struggling with loneliness or feeling the effects of the pandemic, it’s important for your mental well-being to spend more intentional time with friends and family.
How to Spend More Intentional Time With Friends and Family
So, how do you do that?
There’s no ideal activity you can do with friends and family that makes a difference in your mental well-being. It’s more about doing those activities with a sense of mindfulness and intentionality. Pay attention to the people around you. Put your cell phone away and be an active listener and strong communicator.
Some of the best activities for spending intentional time with people and strengthening your bonds include:
- Going on a vacation together
- Family dinner (this can help with your kids/teens’ mental health, too!)
- Breakfast with friends
- Camping or hiking
- Cooking together
- Spending a day at the park
It’s not uncommon for everyone to have busy schedules nowadays, so make your time together a priority by scheduling it in advance. Doing so will make it easier for you to create a healthy habit of getting together with people regularly.
It’s not hard to convince most people to spend more time with their friends and family. However, when you understand the mental health benefits it can provide, you might start to take that time more seriously and focus on being more “in the moment” when you’re around the important people in your life.
Whether you’re currently struggling with mental health issues or want to prioritize wellness, don’t hesitate to stay connected to friends and family and make spending regular time together a top priority in your life.
About the Author: Dan Matthews is a writer, content consultant, and conservationist. While Dan writes on a variety of topics, he loves to focus on issues that look inward on mankind and that help make the surrounding world a better place to reside. When Dan isn’t working on new content, you can find him with a coffee cup in one hand and searching for new music with the other.
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On June 28, 1969, New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay nightclub in Greenwich Village, sparking a riot and six days of protests. This incident, known as the Stonewall Uprising, marks a turning point in the gay rights movement, now celebrated as Pride Month in June.
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