Staying socially connected is an important part of your good health and well-being. It's easy to become isolated after a move to a new installation or when your spouse or partner is deployed. Make the time to find a social outlet to help relieve stress and build happiness. Here are seven ways to stay connected with old friends and to make new friends during a move or deployment:
- Be positive. Even if you are less than thrilled about your new location or unhappy because your spouse is deployed, try to keep a positive attitude. Looking on the bright side of things will help you feel better.
- Get out of the house. Your comfort zone might be at home, square in front of the TV or computer when you feel lonely. Surfing social media does not count as a social outlet. Start simple with things like taking a walk or going to the library to create opportunities to see old friends or make new ones.
- Go online. Being online isn’t all bad. A few minutes on the internet can turn up local groups or activities you may be interested in joining. Don’t forget to check with your family readiness group for activities and groups.
- Start a new hobby. Take a look at what your local parks and recreation programs have to offer. You can learn a new language or research your heritage. If you have a hobby or interest, there is sure to be a club or group of folks who want to obsess about it together.
- Find new friends through your kids. If you have children, they have done some of the work for you. Set up play dates with neighbors and kids from school. You can hang out with other parents for some much needed adult conversation while the kids play. Bonus: You might find friends you trust to watch your kids while you attend kid-free activities.
- Volunteer. Many local charities and military programs on your installation need your skills and talents. You can serve your community, learn new skills and create lasting friendships along the way. Don’t know where to start? Your installation Military and Family Support Center can advise you on opportunities on the installation and in the local community.
- Use your installation resources. Your Morale, Welfare and Recreation program provides recreational opportunities including sports programs, fitness centers, performing arts programs, libraries, tours of local attractions and much more.
Making the time to get out of the house to be with friends, old and new, is worth the extra effort. The more connected you are to others, the better you'll feel.