Staying Connected is Vital to Our Physical Health

By Kendra Bylsma, Director of Wellness, AllOne Health

When facing work’s challenges and stresses, nothing is more crucial to our success than holding on to the people around us. Yet when the alarm bells go off, we typically lose sight of this and try to go it alone.

We’ve all been there: A daunting project gets dropped on us and we get consumed with worry that we’ll fail to meet its demands. As the deadline looms and pressure mounts, we start eating lunch at our desk, working late, and even through weekends.

We have no time for casual Zoom chats or nonessential calls. Our emails grow impersonal. As for family and friends? Well, they’re often the first to go when we enter crisis mode.

At this point, one of two things generally happens: We either fail to finish the project or we power through it, only to be rewarded immediately afterward with another challenging project. But at this point, we have no oxygen left in our tanks. We feel miserable, dejected, overwhelmed. Worst of all? We’re all alone.

When discussing wellness, it’s important to acknowledge that human beings have a biological need for social support. In fact, researchers have found a connection between social isolation and an increased risk for hypertension, especially among women. In the book “Loneliness,” the author discusses how a lack of social connection is as deadly to our health as diabetes and heart disease.

We need each other, today more than ever before. Taking care of yourself means allowing others to fill in the gaps and bring their best talents to fill your cup. If you’re taking yourself too seriously, find a friend who can help you laugh. If you’re worrying too much, find a mentor who can guide you through your emotions.

Whether you are an introvert or extrovert, we all need to feel connected. In fact, feeling connected is the No. 1 predictor for happiness in life. To boost your wellness, intentionally plan one night a week with family or friends, just like you would schedule a workout.

Intentionally, reach out to someone who could use a friend today. Happiness boomerangs happiness, so pay it forward by staying connected, one intentional act at a time.