A primary factor in promoting self-care and resilience is having caring and supportive relationships.
Sometimes these relationships take place within a family. At other times, those relationships are found in friends, co-workers, and outside “family.”
Relationships can create love and trust, provide role models for us, and offer encouragement and reassurance to help bolster our own resilience / self-care. Positive relationships help us to buffer stressful experiences, provide us with feedback to change our view of life experiences, and help us to cope with stressors to maintain a sense of balance and well-being.
Positive relationships can improve our overall health and well-being. Participating in activities with friends can promote a healthier lifestyle by developing positive health habits.
Have friends who validate you or who don’t judge you. Knowing you’re “safe” with someone creates an environment for honesty, openness, and growth.
Allow yourself time to build these relationships or friendships. Incorporate rhythms or routines that will encourage predictability whether it’s a weekly coffee date, lunch with a co-worker, or meeting at the gym to work out together.
Ask yourself, “If I was in crisis at 4 am, who would I call?” Having that 4 am friend provides us with an important self-care resource.
Here are some suggestions to help us develop our relationships with others:
- Maintain eye contact during the conversation.
- Remember the importance of our non-verbal feedback – a smile, laugh, look of concern, or touch can help validate others.
- Don’t overdo the praise and positive feedback, it can make people feel uncomfortable/patronized.
- When there’s a positive experience, concentrate on asking questions which encourages the person to talk about their good news. There’s value in savoring the positive emotions.
- If this type of interaction does not come easily to you, try to ask at least three questions.
- Schedule time with your spouse or significant other (walk & talk) and to learn about your colleagues.
- Know that crying is okay. The tears we release when we are upset actually help us to release toxins from our body.
- Practice random acts of kindness. They provide a positive benefit to others and to us.
- Remember that frustration can lead to aggression, especially when we are fatigued or feeling rushed.
- Consider a mentoring relationship or participating in a community outreach event.
- Give yourself permission for self-care.
- Be aware of the negative loops we / others can fall into in our thought process and break these patterns. Sometimes we can do this on our own and at other times those around us can help us see / break this negative thought process.
- Have diversity in our relationships.
- Confront to get closer – not to zing!
- Know that there’s power within our smiles.
Below is a video of a 7½ minute TED Talk that was presented by Ron Gutman on the hidden power of smiling. It’s worth a look!