It is important to spend quality time with friends and family, and not only because those times are fun and wholesome, but also because research shows that fostering strong relationships can be beneficial to one’s health in the long run.

Loneliness and social isolation has also been linked to a greater likelihood of health conditions like heart disease, dementia, and stroke, according to the CDC. 

The thing is, hustle culture and faux connections from digital media have allowed social connections to take a back seat in our society—but experts agree, we really should be putting them at the forefront. Staying connected essentially contributes to our staying healthy.

Off course, while social interactions might be a strong suit for some people, others have a hard time navigating friendships. Regardless of which category you fall under, keep reading to find out ways you can strengthen your relationships this year.

Practices for strengthening your relationships this year

Here are some actionable ways to start tending to, and strengthening, your relationships today:

  1. Take inventory: Before you send off 50 text messages to catch up with everyone in your contact list, take some time to reflect. What relationships in your life need more attention? Which ones are going well? Do any conflicts need to be resolved for a relationship to advance? Questions like these will help you determine who to reach out to first.
  2. Reach out: The first move? Reaching out. You can either dive into making IRL plans or start a light conversation via text or phone to catch up.
  3. Make plans: If you’re already connected with a friend or family member, try to make a concrete plan in the near future. You can opt to invite your friend or family member to a group activity or make one-on-one plans from the get-go.
  4. Keep it casual: Not sure you’re ready to make plans or have a formal conversation with someone? Keep it light by using social media to bridge the connection gap gently. This can be an easier way to break the ice between friends and launch into more meaningful conversations.

Your “stronger together” plan

Set a strong base

  • Break the ice (whether it’s thin or thick) by reaching out to someone you haven’t seen in a while but have been thinking about
  • Make a plan with one friend you wish to see more
  • Call a family member you haven’t talked to in a while
  • Practice being more vulnerable in conversations.

The level-up

  • Go analog and write a letter to someone you love
  • Bring relationships together by planning a group activity
  • Master the art of hosting and invite over some new and old friends

You know your relationships better than anyone, so find a way to start deepening the connection that makes sense for you. Whether it’s a family member, friend, or your partner, expressing interest in strengthening your relationships is a vulnerable, but worthwhile, step to take for your mental, social, and physical well-being.

DISCLAIMER: These posts should not be used to self-diagnose or self-treat any health, medical, physical or psychiatric condition. Information shared via posts does not replace professional healthcare advice specific to your condition and needs. If you are unsure whether you would benefit from implementing tools discussed in these posts, please contact your healthcare provider.