Our social environment has a pretty significant impact on our health. Our mental, physical and emotional health can all benefit from a fulfilling, supportive, nurturing community. Your health is impacted by your community.

An often overlooked part of self-care involves a strong sense of community. A sense of belonging, being understood, sharing common interests and experiences, and surrounding ourselves with people who lift us up and fill our lives with positivity and purpose. It’s about being a part of something. Feeling included.

Struggles with Loneliness and Isolation

Loneliness and isolation can hinder healing and also trigger symptoms of depression, anxiety, and overwhelm as well as other physical symptoms. Stress responses in the body can result from chronic loneliness and isolation. Most of us know that stress can cause a whole host of physical symptoms including aches and pains, headaches, high blood pressure, muscle tension, impaired immune system, trouble sleeping, and digestive problems. 

I’ve experienced the impact that loneliness and isolation has had on my emotional, physical and mental health first hand. Moving away from my community of family and friends in St. Louis in my 20s wasn’t easy. But I developed new friendships and had a supportive loving partner to help fill the voids from my old community.

I worked from home for years as well, which can feel very lonely at times. When I had my son, I found a mommy and me group of women and babies that helped me navigate the challenges of being a new mom. When I was trying to balance working full time with getting my Masters and health coaching certifications online while trying to navigate chronic illness, I did not prioritize my social life for a long time. Unfortunately, I probably felt even more unwell as a result of not allowing myself the time and space for more loving connections.

In dealing with autoimmune diseases and other chronic health issues, at times I felt misunderstood, judged, and in hindsight may have isolated myself as a result. The added stress that resulted from feeling no one really understood what I was going through or would relate to my experiences only made my healing journey more challenging. But when I did spend time with people who brought joy and meaning to my life, I noticed improvements in my symptoms while with them. As if I was absorbing their positive energy which would help ease my discomfort. Maybe allowing myself to just get out of the house, take a break from work and school, and have some fun was a kind of medicine in and of itself. A much needed distraction.

Had I known what I know now, I would have sought out a support group or other means of connecting with others who were going through something similar. I would have talked about how I was feeling more often and more candidly with those who have always been there for me as opposed to trying to act strong, like I had it all together all the time. I would have accepted more help when my husband offered to let me rest. Instead of avoiding getting together with friends due to my symptoms, I would have opened up more about what was going on with me and welcomed support. We live and learn, right!?

Create a Caring Community

Being nurtured by positive relationships with relatives, friends, neighbors etc. who care about you and have your best interest at heart can affect you just as profoundly, and maybe even more than what you eat, how much you exercise, how much alcohol you drink or cigarettes you smoke. Studies have shown that those who have rich social lives and loving relationships don’t get sick as often and live longer. Safe and supportive social connections can significantly help with stress resilience. 

It wasn’t until more recently, I’ve been craving a more robust sense of community in my own life. With running my own virtual business as a solopreneur, I am once again finding myself longing for more connection, and to feel more engaged in the local community. Reaching out to Ventura County Mom Collective and volunteering to be a contributor was one more recent step I have taken to expand my social connections, especially with other local moms. I’ve been building some great relationships within this community and really find it rewarding to support other local small women-owned businesses in any way I can. I’ve also been building relationships within the wellness arena locally with a goal to spread awareness of what I do as a holistic wellness/nutrition coach and determining how partnerships/collaborations with local wellness clinics can benefit all parties. 

I’m an introvert by nature, so meeting new people and stepping out of my comfort zone by initiating new conversations/meetings and putting myself out there does not come easy to me. I’m mindful of the relationships I choose to bring into my life and my business, and am careful to only share my valuable time and energy with others who bring the best out of me. Those who appreciate who I am authentically. I am determined to continue to build and nourish my community, and am passionate about empowering others to do the same.

Better Together

I realize now more than ever how humans have the power to nourish each other. Healthy relationships contribute to happiness, relaxation, and can benefit our health in ways that are similar to nutrition, physical activity and sleep. There is most likely some mind-power at play here. When you feel nurtured, loved and supported in a relationship, your mind experiences fewer stress responses and elicits more relaxation responses. Your body then responds according to the mind’s signals. Who doesn’t want to feel more relaxed, supported, and nurtured?!

Join Me

I have found even more community by teaching weekly wellness workshops that focus on building a supportive local community. It is a place to gather and practice self-care for the mind, body and spirit.  I discuss holistic nutrition, stress, sleep, rest/relaxation, mindful movement, environment, toxins, mindset, self-love, and community!

Because I know the impact of community on my health.  How are you building your community?


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