The crocuses are up, the days are longer, and the rains have begun. It’s looking like spring! For many, winter can feel long and dark but it can also be a time when we embrace solitude and reflect on our lives. What new growth am I looking forward to for myself? What supports might I need to make these changes happen? How do I create these positive connections in my life? Spring is the time to leave some of our solitude behind and challenge ourselves to “get out” and enjoy nature and build supportive relationships.
I recently discovered that individuals are TWICE as likely to rate themselves as lonely as compared to 10 years ago. This is a startling increase in such a short time period. What does this say about our society and how does this relate to increases in health mental issues, particularly depression? When individuals are experiencing depression, they have a tendency to isolate themselves but we also have to wonder at their degree of isolation before depression set in? The energy required to get to work, take care of personal and family needs, and get all of “those jobs” done can often leave little time and energy to get out and mingle with our neighours or spend time with our family and friends. But… Like many things we want to accomplish in life such as exercising, eating well, or reading a good book, we often have to set aside time and make a commitment to getting it done. Connecting with others requires the same commitment. Small changes which we can sustain are the best way to begin. Even a short walk in the neighbourhood can offer a chance to make a new acquaintance. Organizing a potluck, walking group, or book club can create new opportunities for connection and bring new meaning to our lives. We are relational beings. So… Reach out. Make connections. Build community. We will all be richer for it.