Community can quite simply be defined as a group of people who come together over one or many commonalities to create an overall sense of belonging. The importance of community however is much more complex. Unfortunately, our sense of community and community-related events have been at an all-time low as the months of the global pandemic are turning into years. While isolation and socially distancing have played a key role in keeping us safe, it has only compounded an epidemic that has been on the rise for many years. That epidemic is loneliness and is crippling to so many people around the world. Even pre-pandemic, so many of us had adopted the mentality that we have to do everything ourselves and asking for help is a sign of weakness. Not to mention with the rise in technology, how easy it’s become to sacrifice connection for convenience. Human beings are social creatures with a biological need to connect with others. We have physical and emotional responses to things as simple as voice and touch. If we were meant to live in solitude these responses wouldn’t exist. So what is the cure for loneliness? Community.
How Can Community Help?
There are several ways that engaging with a community can be beneficial. First and foremost, it offers human connection, which is one of the most basic needs of a human being. By sharing a common experience and connecting with others, you are actually improving your overall mental and physical health by reducing the risk of obesity, dementia, anxiety and depression while improving things as complex as immune function and mood. Connection is also vital for developing resilience when faced with adversity, as well as a better understanding that you’re not in fact alone and we all share similar plights. With connection also comes support, understanding, accountability and inspiration. On top of this, you are opening yourself up to an even greater capacity to learn. There’s the old saying ‘two heads are better than one’. Well, how about 10, 20 or 100? Others may ask questions you didn’t know you had or offer a perspective you hadn’t considered. The benefits you receive from being an active participant within a community are limitless and it is the perfect antidote to loneliness and isolation while also keeping you accountable and inspired.
How Can I Get Involved During the Pandemic?
Unfortunately, as we discussed above, seeking out community has proven to be substantially more difficult during the pandemic. However, definitely not impossible! Here are some ways to get involved right away, while keeping yourself and others safe.
- Look for people with a common goal to you
Finding individuals working towards a similar goal to yours can not only make your connection that much deeper but can lead to an exponentially higher success rate. For instance, connecting with other individuals trying to lose weight has actually been proven to be more effective at getting and keeping the weight off than going into it alone. It means more accountability, inspiration and knowledge, all of which are integral to your success. Luckily so many of these things are available virtually, and while it’s not as ideal as in-person connection, if you commit to being an active, engaging member in these communities you will see results.
- Find people with common interests
Search for classes or communities that exist around a shared hobby or interest. This can be anything from cooking, gardening to salsa dancing or even just a specific idea or opinion. Again all of these can be found virtually or in a socially distanced and COVID safe manner. If you are able to find in-person meet-ups, just make sure that you are following the latest COVID safety recommendations in your region. Whether in person or virtually, you will be able to connect with others who share your passions and expand your knowledge in a subject that interests you!
- Use community to form and maintain healthy habits
There are many communities that are geared towards improving your overall health by instilling healthy habits. These communities exist in the form of virtual and in-person group fitness classes, mindfulness communities and so much more. Dr. Jodi Larry offers the Rituwell 10-day Foundational Reset, where she helps you in creating healthy habits and connects you with the Rituwell community, so you can share in the experience. (More on this below) There has never been a more crucial time to be cognizant of our overall health and this is a great way to stay motivated and inspired.
- Start your own community
Take matters into your own hands and start a Facebook group or a forum. You could even start a walking group in your community by advertising at local libraries, grocery stores or rec centres. Get creative and make an effort to meet and connect with people in your neighborhood or online with individuals who share similar goals or interests, even if that interest is just simply meeting new people! If you are able to, hold meetups outdoors in open spaces and encourage masks and social distancing to make gathering safer during the pandemic. Sometimes it just takes one person to get the ball rolling and make a lasting impact on their lives and the lives of others.
Volunteering within your existing community is an excellent way to give back and form deeper and more meaningful connections with your neighbours or those in need. In light of the global pandemic, there are many places within your community that could likely use a helping hand. Maybe a nursing home or daycare centre for example. However, it could be as simple as offering to mow your elderly neighbours lawn or pick up some groceries for them. A little bit of kindness goes a long way, particularly in these lonely and isolating times.
Regardless of how or why you get involved, it’s clear that being a part of a community has limitless benefits to you and everyone involved. It is a key component to getting and staying healthy, both mentally and physically. So get involved today!
Community is one of the 5 pillars that Dr. Jodi Larry teaches in her quest to help people live a healthier and happier life. The Rituwell 10 Day Foundational Reset that we talked about above will further cement the importance of community and set you up with daily rituals for a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. On top of this you will be immersed in the Rituwell Community once you sign up for the reset and have access to community events, classes, group chats and so much more. So say goodbye to fad diets and so-called “magic pills” and sign up for The Rituwell 10 Day Foundational Reset to change your life for the better, once and for all!
By Kristin Nixon