Between the pandemic turning our world upside down and unprecedented challenges we never imagined, many of us couldn't wait until 2020 was over and 2021 to be here. Now that 2021 is here, many of us are still doing our best to adapt to the “new normal." It's hard not to feel anxious about the future, especially in light of a new year.
One thing we know for certain is that regardless of what happens next, you’ll still need your tribe and support group. Hopefully, you’ve been leaning into your relationships already for comfort and support. If you haven’t, it’s not too late to start. Our relationships are key to our well-being, and as we continue to manage the stress and uncertainty of the coronavirus, we need our relationships now more than ever. Let’s look at the reasons why.
The following is adapted from Assemble the Tribe.
Our support networks don’t just pick us up when we’re down; they help us to become better versions of ourselves.
These relationships are important for both our personal and professional lives. For example, research shows that strong relationships in the workplace reduce burnout and provide us with a sense of belonging.
A study published by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology highlighted: “Health at work is determined to a large extent by our social relationships in the workplace and, more particularly, the social groups we form there.”
While coronavirus may prevent you from connecting with your peers in-person, you can still do so virtually.
Our relationships often expose us to new ideas and experiences. Sometimes these experiences can introduce us to a new hobby or lead us to a new place.
When our relationships include positive peer pressure they can positively influence our attitudes and behaviors. A study by Dr. Debra Umberson, PhD, and Jennifer Karas Montez highlighted that our happiness can be impacted or spread through our social networks.
I have a friend who is one of the most positive people you could ever meet. A year ago, she was in a deep personal health and family crisis. However, in the midst of it all, she was able to maintain a hopeful, positive, and happy spirit. Just being in her presence was incredibly inspiring. Her happy outlook helped those around her to think more positively about the challenges we tackled every day.
Celebrating successes and encouraging each other can also shift the tone and atmosphere in relationships—and we could all use more to celebrate these days.
Having strong connections and support networks are crucial during difficult times, but they also help us live healthier lives long term.
Research shows that we are more likely to live longer, fulfilled lives if we have quality relationships that sustain us emotionally. However, the quality of our relationships matter. For example, lower-quality relationships can lead to higher instances of illnesses such as high blood pressure, cancer, and increased risk of mortality.
In addition to relationship quality, our ability to connect matters as well. A 2015 study conducted by psychologist Julianne Holt-Lunstad and colleagues looked at the data of 3.4 million people across seventy studies. The study found that we expose ourselves to significant health risks when we are lonely or socially isolated. Loneliness, social isolation, and living alone increases the likelihood of death by 29 percent on average.
If you're feeling the pressure of the new year already, it's time to take action. Reach out to your tribe today, reconnect with your support circle, and make sure you're continuing to nurture those relationships.
Between the coronavirus pandemic and the worries of everyday life, we’ve all experienced moments of stress this year. Even though it might not seem like it, these moments can bring us closer together. That’s why having a support network is crucial—the people in that network can help you get through difficult times such as now.
No matter what awaits us this year, we should continue to nurture our relationships. During the good times and bad, our deepest, most authentic relationships are formed when we consistently work to stay connected and stay strong.
Get started today.
P.S. It’s your turn
Do you know who your tribe is? Do you regularly reach out to stay connected?
P.P.S. Are you ready to go deeper?
Find out more in Assemble the Tribe here!
For more advice on building strong relationships, you can find Assemble the Tribe on Amazon.
Leah Dean is a coach, speaker, author, and former chief human resources executive who has worked with leaders throughout the world to build high-performing teams, or tribes, for twenty years. A passionate believer in assembling tribes for greatest impact, Leah is the founder of numerous programs and events designed to help women and girls find their tribes and do great things. Leah lives in Bermuda with her husband and two children. Join the tribe and learn more about Leah’s work and tribe mindset philosophy at www.leahjmdean.com.