Self-care entails more than just pampering yourself once in a while, it concerns the way we care for our body and mind on a daily basis. It’s therefore not just a physical thing either; holistic self-care involves looking after our emotional, mental and social well-being too.
Time spent developing relationships with people in our social circles is a particularly overlooked aspect of self-care. We’re social beings by nature and this is an important facet of our lives to consider when planning our time; just as a plant requires water to grow, so do human beings need social interaction to grow, develop and thrive. And that’s not all: a study in the UK, led by Christian Cook, professor of physiology and elite performance at Bangor University, showed that athletes who spent the recovery phase in a social environment with friends not only recovered faster but also performed better in a competition a week later. Social connection has positive effects that include shifting the nervous system into recovery mode and has great effects on stress physiology. That’s why a healthy and supportive social group, be it family, friends or colleagues, is the most fundamental aspect of social self-care, but simply having these groups isn’t enough; the ways in which we interact with one another can be decisive in how socially healthy we are.
Do it your way
Social self-care doesn’t mean you need to go out every evening in order to maintain an active social life. The prospect of going out for drinks after a long day at work might be yawn-inducing, but social self-care doesn’t necessarily have to be strenuous; a phone call with a family member or friend, a quiet evening in with a roommate or sharing a training ground with your fellow Free Athletes can more than suffice for many people. Ultimately, it’s the quality of the social interaction that’s most important and invigorating, not the quantity or ‘excitement factor’. It should never feel like an exertion or obligation; choose the means of socializing from which you can benefit the most.
Take breaks from social media
“Social” may be its name, but it’s not necessarily its nature. Whilst it might feel that we’re more sociable and connected than ever, studies have proven that social media can sometimes actually lead to a breakdown in communications and the fracturing of relationships. Taking a break from your online persona either to connect with people in the real world or to simply spend time alone can help ground you in reality and put things into perspective.
Make the effort
Once all of your school friends have spread out across the globe, organizing a reunion might seem like more effort than it’s worth, but really, it’s an effort we should all make once in a while. Reminiscing on old times, evaluating personal changes and reflecting on life events with people outside of your daily social groups can widen our perspective on ourselves and the world. At the end of the day, we consider these people our friends for a reason, and what they have to offer is more than just another Instagram like.
Social self-care is an important part of leading a holistic lifestyle, and Freeletics can help. By using our Training Spots, you can find your local Freeletics community and share your passion for all things Freeletics by training together. Download the app now to experience it for yourself.