Create a Community to Thrive In

I consider myself a pretty healthy person, by most people’s standards. I work out regularly, eat a well-balanced diet (that includes cheat days of course — it helps with the balance!), I practice yoga and meditation; you know, all the normal healthy stuff.

Another important facet of health, that often gets overlooked as merely a want and not a need, is community. Sure a social life can seem low on the list of priorities when in addition to your own health you have that of your family’s to look out for, not to mention work, and the house. But community is so much more than a social life. This is your tribe, the thing that brings you back to earth when the rest of your life has sent you spinning out into the great beyond. In fact on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a theory in psychology about human motivation, after physiological and safety needs are met, the next thing people require is feeling like they belong.

We spend half our waking hours at work, another hour — or more sometimes — commuting to and from work. That can make life feel, well, lonely. Sure the whimpers and slobbery kisses from the dog, and an occasional “hey mom” from my teenager when I walk in the door, might satisfy those needs if for just an instant. But the inherent notion of community is to feel like you belong.

Some call it “girl time” others call it “poker night”, but Maslow was onto something. For me to feel completely healthy and in a space where I am thriving physically, mentally, and emotionally, I need that sense of community. It may seem like a luxury, being third in the hierarchy pyramid after all. I wholly understand the days when having enough time to finish work, put food on the table and hopefully brush your teeth before bed is a win. But even on those days, I try to find ways to incorporate community into the crazy.

Try doing a few of these ideas to keep connections thriving:

  1. Ask your work wife to coffee in the break room.
  2. Walk your dogs with your neighborhood bestie.
  3. Have a homework “play date” with your old friend from PEP and catch up over wine while the kids crank out some algebra.
  4. Host an old fashioned pot-luck supper for friends you haven’t seen in more than a couple of months.

Believe me, if there’s a will, there’s a way. I can do a million push-ups and eat healthy for weeks on end, but some days an honest to goodness one-to-one exchange is the only thing that gives me strength.

So wherever you are, and whatever you’re into, keep eating healthy, moving your body, and calming your mind — but don’t forget community. It will tie everything together…or at least be there for you when it all unravels.

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