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Get Your Social On

How many times have you convinced yourself to hang out with friends or family, even when you really did not want to, but found yourself feeling so happy and refreshed afterwards? It’s so easy after a long day of work to convince ourselves to stay in and lay around the house alone, but we often feel much better when we surround ourselves with a supportive, motivating social network.

Don’t get me wrong, alone time is incredibly valuable too, which is why I set aside time each morning for myself to be alone, read, and drink my coffee before my day gets rolling. But like anything else in life, and another mantra Made 2 Move tells patients often: balance is key. Balancing social time with alone time is going to vary from person to person, and may take some experimentation to find the proper doses for your individual self.

Try to be very reflective after periods of socialization and alone time, asking yourself: do you feel filled? Or do you feel drained? This can also circle back to who you are surrounding yourself with. More on the importance of wisely choosing your social circle later. What does the research say on the importance of socializing?

The Research

Last week’s Made 2 Move blog delved into the research on grip strength and it’s correlation with health related quality of life. Interestingly, this same study also examined socialization and its effect on a person’s reported quality of life and health-related quality of life.

The study found that those with the highest amount of social interactions with non-relatives were in the highest health related qualtiy of life category as well (and their grip strength was higher than their counterparts). Strong and social! While health related quality of life is determined by many factors outside of the ones studied in this research, the importance of socialization is backed by science. Not to mention, socializing just feels good.

In examining the opposite side of socialization, isolation has been found to be negatively correlated with health outcomes. Social isolation was widespread during the COVID-19 pandemic and contributed to rising levels of loneliness, anxiety, depression, and other health related issues. We are social creatures by nature! So what are some of the benefits we see when we lean into this natural tendency towards socialization, connection, and community?