CONNECTING THROUGH COMMUNITY
🌱 Better Together 🌱
together, we are better people. together, we are strong
The handshake. The gesture of peace to demonstrate that the hand holds no weapon. To symbolize sincerity and peace when making an agreement, when coming to a conclusion, or when making an oath or promise. The gesture that represents connection and signals unity. The gesture humans are learning to get back in touch with.
There are many courtesies whose meaning we take for granted, like the handshake, which was established to signal "we are friends, and you can trust me." Our evolutionary niche is our collaborative nature. We thrive as a species, not because we are the fastest, strongest, or fiercest animal on this planet, but because we rely on and help each other. The need for community and collaboration is hardwired into our DNA and plays an important role in our health and well-being.
Check out our tips for nourishing your need for community and human connection this July.
Sharing food is one of the most ancient methods for bringing people together, and there's a scientific reason behind it! Food is about bringing something into the body to nourish and provide for it, and when people share food it suggests that they are willing to bring the same thing into their bodies, therefore establishing a trusting bond. Eating together shows we feel safe around each other, and we are sharing in nourishment; both of which are important markers of belonging and friendship. This is why meals are often the center of major social events, including first dates and family holidays.
Here are some ideas for sharing food with those you love this July.
- Making time to sit down and have dinner with a spouse, friend, or your family, and stow your devices away so you can signal to your humans that you are fully present and value your time with them.
- Plan a dinner with family and friends where you can cook together. Host a pasta making night, plan an oyster shuck, or learn to make a unique African dish together. Creating "cooking stations" so everyone has a job and can contribute to the meal adds a collaborative spirit to the evening.
- Plan a themed (Greek for example) potluck night and allocate portions of the meal to each guest (appetizer, meat, pasta, veggies, dessert and drinks) so you can come together to create a feast. Indulge in traditional music to align with the cuisine. You'll feel like you're on vacation together!
- Plan afternoon tea with a friend. Provide small bites and a shared pot of your favorite brew, and let the conversation and nutrients from tea feed your brain!
Plan your recipe by taking inspo from these crowd pleasing spices.
Food For Thought:
When you decide another human is your friend, they don't have to have everything in common with you. Whether that means befriending a complete stranger at a coffee shop or getting back in touch with people from the past in our lives. Often times, the best human connections are built from putting yourself in uncomfortable positions and having a will to be spontaneous. When you feed your heart, you reap the benefits.
With technology becoming one of our most important resources, more people are working from home or primarily with screens. While there are benefits to physically going to work to interact with your coworkers, there are plenty of creative and fulfilling ways to establish bonds and team building virtually to make up for those otherwise missed micro-interactions we get in a physical work space.
Whether or not you get to interact with a team of coworkers daily or you work more independently, here are some strategies to nourishing your work relationships.
- If your new office is on Zoom, or any other video conferencing platform, create virtual meetings in the week meant for working collaboratively. Use 15-30 minutes during the day for more informal creative conversations. Our best ideas and solutions often come after we are able to share.
- Host "get to know me" events at each others houses or in public areas where you can socialize with your coworkers. No one understands the nuances of your workday like those working alongside you. Empathy is strong here!
- Indulge in professional development through conferences, special trainings and think professional groups like a "Women's Entrepreneur Group." Participating in your professional growth will expose you to like-minded communities. You will be able to share ideas, strategy and build new relationships.
Join a Group
Social groups act as a great support system when needed. Joining groups satisfies our need to belong, gain information and understanding through socializing It defines our sense of self and social identity, and helps us achieve goals that might elude us if we worked alone. Improve your current mental health and protect your future mental health by committing a portion of your week to go to an intentionally organized activity.
Here are some ideas for participating in and organizing group activities.
- Volunteer for an organization or get a group of friends together once a month to do a trash pick up on the highway. Doing things together that have a positive impact on your community will help you all feel bonded through compassion and a shared willingness to be generous with your time.
- Join a board, club or hobby class. Love animals? Look into joining your local humane society board. Want to read more? Join a book club. Enjoy being creative? Sign up for a painting, weaving or jewelry making class in your community. Stimulate the creative part of your brain; this actually releases endorphins! Community colleges, local organizations and even airbnb experiences offer a great selection of social activities you can sign up for! Go at your pace, and embrace the community you find when you surround yourself with people who have common interests.
- Last month was all about feeding our minds and bodies through physical movement and activity-Joining an exercise class or sports league is incredibly good for your body and brain, as it reduces anxiety, depression and negative mood. Exercising with a team, friends or spouse also stimulates that "tribe/ pack" mentality, strengthening your bonds. You can nourish this tribal bond by joining a kickball league, getting group of friends together for weekly tennis or yoga, or starting a hiking group.
Last month we talked about how important it was to keep your body moving and shaking through physical play-this month we are taking the time to reflect on and exercise our ability to connect with others. After experiencing a lack of human interaction during 2020 and 2021, we are just that much more grateful to have the ability to connect socially with others. Now is the perfect time to re-evaluate how we connect, because if we've learned anything from the past year, it's that we are stronger, happier and healthier when we live with an open mind, an open heart, an abundance of empathy and a will to appreciate each other despite all of our differences.
Meaningful connection with other people has so many benefits; it boosts your mental health, as friendships and connections can increase your feelings of belonging, purpose and overall happiness. Simply being around other people can also reduce levels of stress, improve your sense of self-worth and confidence, and promote longevity.
We hope you spend July nourishing relationships, finding comfort in community and sharing the human experience with the humans you love most.