A few weeks ago, my Facebook friend Kelly (who blogs over at The Take Action WAHM!) left a comment on my yoga blog post saying that she’d been thinking about trying yoga for a while – and really wanted her sister to do it with her, but was pretty disappointed that her sister wasn’t interested. Kelly didn’t say so, but I got the impression that she felt like starting yoga would be much easier if her sister was there to give it a go too. And Kelly’s totally right – things are so much easier when we’ve got a buddy along for the ride. The social support it gives us can be so important to our health journey.
Looking back on my first ever post to this blog, I detailed the five areas I felt health flowed from, and one of those areas is our social lives, which is something I haven’t explored much yet. But, Kelly’s comment left me thinking.
We all want a buddy, a support network. What if, like Kelly, you don’t have one?
Going it alone is hard. It’s hard anyway, but doing it alone is even tougher. Your fears get bigger, your self-doubts take on a life of their own, and it’s all too easy to pack it in because you’ve convinced yourself you can’t do it, it’ll never work, and no one knew about your goal anyway, so it doesn’t matter.
Well, I’m here to tell you, it does matter.
You and all your goals matter. Each and every one of us has the opportunity every day to improve our lives – and by doing so, make the world a better place. So, let’s find you some workout buddies/healthy eating friends/change the world comrades/good old-fashioned (kinda) social support!
Ok, so I know I just said ‘old-fashioned’ social support. I don’t mean we need a pen-pal.
Though that might be awesome! When was the last time you got a letter? ‘Live the Whole Pen Pal Support Group’?? Anyone?
But anyway, I mean we want to get involved with a group or community that supports us in our goals. In this case, specifically, your health goals.
Some of you are lucky enough to have friends and/or family who happen to be on the same page as you and not only support you, but join you on your journey. Others, maybe you feel alone. Others, maybe your existing social network is actually a bit hostile towards your changes or goals. This can be super tough. But, I am here to tell you that no matter who you are, where you are, or how you want to get healthy, there are others out there like you who need you just as much as you need them.
First, let’s take a look at why social support is so important to our health journey. Then I’ll show you some places where you can find your peeps.
Why get social support for your health goals?
It’s well documented that for many heath behaviors, social support is a great advantage:
– Weight loss efforts are vastly improved by having friends and family involved
– Self-care activities are increased with more social support
– Healthy lifestyles are supported by having others involved
– Exercise motivation is increased, even when the social support comes from a support group and not from friends and family.
– Healthy eating is also improved with increased social support
So, no matter what your goal, it can really help you to plan, be motivated, and then actually achieve your dreams in the company of other supportive people.
Where to get social support
Right, so there’s the ‘why’. Now, how are you going to find these people to support you if they’re not in your intimidate circle?
Health Coach – If you’re looking for some one-on-one detailed support and knowledge, you might be interested in working with a health coach, personal trainer, or a specific support person. This is exactly the kind of support I offer through my Eating Psychology coach services – a friend, confidant, strategist, and knowledge base to help you get to your goals in a totally supported way. This is social support tailored to your needs.
Nerd Fitness – This is my favorite online wellness community! No matter where you’re at or what you’re into, you can find awesome people on the forums here to connect with, group up with, and support. They have a buddy-group section, as well as specific boards for all things health and fitness related. You find a lot of people here, from many walks of life, who are looking for some social support, either as an extra help, or because they just can’t find what they need offline. I can’t tell you how important this community has been to me and my journey over the past 4 years. Other awesome places for digital support are Facebook groups, the comment communities of websites related to what you want to do, and even twitter.
Meetup – I’ve spoken before about meetup. Here you can find groups of like-minded people meeting in real life to support each other and do things they love. Hiking, yoga, running, arts, writing, meditation – whatever wellness related activity you’re looking to get into or be supported in, check meetup to see if there’s a group in your area. If there’s not, you could try starting one. I’m planning a Live the Whole meetup group for Seoul in the later part of this year!
Take a local class – This can seem a bit old-school compared to all the digital options available to us these days, but finding your social support through community classes or local events is awesome. I know it’s hard to show up as the new person, all alone, but after a time or two you’ll be a part of things. Most people know what it’s like to show up alone – it takes guts! – and will make an extra effort to include you. In fact, I’ve found it’s often easier to make new friends in a group if I show up alone. So, get out into your community and find some social support that way.
Tell me in the comments: where do you get your support?