Staying Socially Connected
Everyone benefits from social health, no matter what age. Here are three quick tips for keeping up with friends.
Tip number 1: Wake up!
For you students out there, this is especially true, but it applies to all ages-- manage your sleep habits. Keep your essential rest at 8-9 hours each night, but don’t sleep the day away! It’s a common myth that you can “catch up” on sleep during your weekends or weeks off of school or work. Bad news… it can’t happen.
Making up for lost sleep isn’t a thing-- for instance, getting only 5-6 hours of sleep one night and trying to make up for it with 12 the next won’t work. You either get the sleep you need, or you don’t. There’s no building sleep up like a savings account, and there’s no such thing as an IOU either-- sleep debt has real significance on a bunch of things like memory and learning, performance in sports, and of course social interactions.
That said, wake up and get the day started. You’re more likely to connect with friends and family if it isn’t already 1 or 2pm by the time you’ve cleaned up and gotten ready for the day.
Tip number 2: Meet in Real Life
Connecting through social media is great. However, use media as a tool for social health, not a replacement. Humans have evolved to benefit from face to face interactions where we can read body language and facial expressions that give us useful feedback.
There is no substitute for real conversations without a screen involved.
Playing online games or communicating through text messages or social media is a part of life; it allows us to be connected to people in a way that never could have happened centuries ago. But our social wellness improves when we are physically present and enjoying each other’s company.
This transfers to mental health benefits, and of course laughter is one of our physical health necessities as well!
Tip number 3: Be Flexible
This is a two-parter. Plan ahead, but also be spontaneous.
In some cases, it’s nice to do things spur of the moment and just kind of go with the flow of a summer day off. On a day without plans, be willing to do this from time to time and just take the day as it comes.
But even in the summer months, we can find ourselves booked and busy and feeling like we’ve been left out of the friend loop for a while. If this is the case, plan ahead! Don’t worry about being too forthright if you ask about a day weeks ahead of time. Maybe there’s an event happening that you want to attend, or a music fest, a holiday party… you get the idea.
Make plans ahead of time and have something great to look forward to.
“Growing Up Great!”
For more health tips geared towards adolescent boys, check out Growing Up Great!, a body-positive guide to getting through puberty confidently by respecting the body and all of its changes.