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Power of Relationships

· Social Well-being is the strength and quality of your relationships with others.

· Social Well-being means you have a variety of strong ties with others. Think family, friends, teachers/ coaches, classmates and teammates.

· It helps to have the support system during more difficult times in your life and to cope with self-doubt. It helps you to be more successful in life.

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT IN EVERYDAY LIFE?

1. Be aware of your Mental Health: bouts of anxiety or depressive episodes might hinder you from achieving your goals. Drink enough water, eat healthy food, get enough sleep. If these episodes affect your ability to perform daily activities, it is important to seek professional help. Schedule a session with a professional counsellor or psychologist – there lays so much strength giving yourself the opportunity to heal. If you had the flu, you would go to the doctor; why should you treat mental health any different?

2. Build healthy relationships: Surround yourself with people that accepts you for who you are, who encourages and challenges you to be a better person and who boosts your self-esteem. You will not always have control over all your relationships; your classmates, your teachers, coaches are all out of your control. But you can decide on the friends you hang out with and how much your family members have an impact on your life. Reduce the time you spend with people who drain you of energy or make you feel badly about yourself. Seek out friendships that sparks joy and makes you feel validated for who you are.

3. Getting the balance: Make sure to invest in relationships with your family, your friends, classmates and teammates. A variety of relationships ensures that you have support throughout all your spheres in life. Don’t limit time spent only on one of these groups. Make sure to spend time alone with yourself. Make time to reflect on your own, to recharge your “batteries” to be able to invest in other relationships. Take a walk in nature, take time to read something that makes you tick, play your favourite game.

4. Real connection: Self-disclosure is important skill to develop. If you are able to communicate what you really feel or think to someone else, you deepen the trust within the relationship. Why? You understand each other better and know what to expect from one another.


FOCUSSING ON MAINTAINING HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS DURING SOCIAL DISTANCING:

In its essence social distancing will confine you to your house and your immediate family members. Although this could be a valuable opportunity to deepen the relationships within the family, maintaining the other relationships in your life is of utmost importance.

Without the option of physical contact or social gatherings you can utilize video calls to make sure nonverbal behaviour is shared to make communication more effective. Use variety of communication methods; voice notes, messages, gaming voice chats and sending memes or funny videos (because we are South African and fix everything with humour).

STRATEGIES TO STRENGTHEN RELATIONSHIPS NOW:

1. Positivity: spread joy in stressful times.

2. Be open and honest: active listening, making eye contact (via video calls), nodding, “mm-hmm” are all signs that you are listening. Share your own thoughts and feelings in an honest way. Show genuine People like feeling validated and realising someone else is also just human.

3. Assurance is key: acknowledge their importance in your life. Tell them that they are valued, cared for and loved (think of Grandma and Grandpa in this time!).

4. Network! What? Yes. Friends are important in this phase of your life. Meeting new people is now more of an effort. Join WhatsApp Groups or other social media groups with shared interests or follow a # . Connect different people.


Sources:

· https://www.psychologytoday.com/za/blog/conscious-communication/202003/maintaining-relationships-while-practicing-social-distancing

· https://www.pointloma.edu/building-relationships-virtually-while-social-distancing

· https://positiveorgs.bus.umich.edu/enabling-people-and-organizations-in-trying-times/building-relationships-amidst-social-distancing/

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