Friendships are an important aspect of a happy, healthy life.
As part of our work with clients, we address social support systems – not just to figure out potential obstacles with newly developed healthy eating patterns (i.e. how to now navigate book club, happy hour, pizza night) but to also check in and see how to supported our client feels in life and how to improve it further. Studies show that, particularly for women, social support is a determinant for health.
In addition, the concept of ‘soul-food’ comes into play. Sure there’s nutrition that helps build our bones, cells, muscles, but there’s also invisible energy that also ‘feeds’ us on a deeper level. Think back to your childhood or adolescence when you went outside to play with friends for hours or were thoroughly engaged with a project of your choosing. Your parent might have called you in for dinner but you were so involved in the game or in a state of ‘flow’ with your individual enterprise that you responded with “I’m not hungry!”
While we know that social media is not a substitute for creating deeper friendships, it’s often easier to scroll through our feed, “like,” and move on with our day. We create a self-deceptive illusion of not being isolated; instead, we believe we are ‘connected’ with our community and x-number of friends (followers).
The common challenge for many clients is that, particularly for those in their 30s-50s, the busyness of work and family life, moving away or having friends relocate, changing jobs, and the changing seasons of our lives can loosen the bonds of friendship and social support. It may be years before one even realizes the effect these gradual changes have had on their previously-strong support system.