By Sydney Janssen | Illustration by Jubilee Hernandez
With COVID-19 changing everyone’s lives right now, it is likely that people have become even more aware of how socializing impacts their sense of well-being. Not only can socializing improve your mental health, but it can also improve physical health. According to the Mayo Clinic, socializing not only fights off feelings of loneliness, but it can benefit memory and cognitive skills, improve one’s sense of well-being and happiness, and may help people live longer.
Psychology Today states that having a social life can improve mental health, and research has shown that building social connections boosts one’s mood and makes it less likely to be depressed. Additionally, it may reduce one’s risk of dementia. There has recently been more evidence to this point, as people who generally communicate more with others have performed better on memory tests and cognitive skills tests than those who do not connect with others regularly. Evidence also suggests that people with active social lives are less likely to have dementia than those who do not socialize often.
Psychology Today also indicates that having an active social life improves physical health, specifically by strengthening one’s immune system. This has proven to be especially effective in older adults. Some main benefits of a better immune system include being more able to fight and prevent colds, the flu, some types of cancer, and overall staying healthier.
Home Care Assistance also offers a unique perspective on some of the more unrealized benefits of socializing, which includes improved confidence and self-esteem. When we spend time with others and our sense of well-being is improved, this can boost one’s confidence. This website also says that socializing may improve cardiovascular health and promote a sense of purpose. When people have something to do, someplace to go, someone to see, or someone who is counting on them, it makes one feel more accomplished. The article claims that when people count on another person they hold themselves more accountable when taking care of their health so they can be healthy and live for as long as possible.
As Dr. Craig Sawchuk of the Mayo Clinic says, “We are social animals by nature, so we tend to function better when we’re in a community and being around others.” As many people realize, socializing can make an enormous difference in how we feel and makes life so much better.
During these times, when many people are under stay-at-home orders, the way we socialize has likely changed, but the amount people socialize does not have to change. It is important to make time for the people in our lives, whether that is through talking to family in person, or to anyone through texting, calling, FaceTime, Zoom, HouseParty (an app for group FaceTime), etc. No matter how busy you are with school or work, it is so important to make time for the people in our lives, and to make time to care for yourself too. Socializing has many health benefits for mental and physical health, and it’s fun!