• leighmcswan

Enrich your life and improve your health with friends.



Have you ever considered your friends your catalysts to better health? Turns out social connection, healthy friendships and community really can lower stress hormones and improve your quality of life. We saw the detrimental effects and secondary deaths as a result of the covid restrictions so, perhaps now more than ever, we need to ensure that we’re bringing those we love into our lives more frequently. The research supports this too. Even prior to the restrictions, we were seeing a decline in social interactions and meaningful relationships (1) - likely as a result of an increasingly digital world.


Our social connections are the relationships we choose to pour time and energy into; these are the relationships we cultivate and nurture because we want to not because we feel we have to, as is the case for some relationships in our lives like family and co-workers.


I’m currently in Salt Lake City, Utah, rooming with 3 of my dear friends. The last time we did this was in June of 2018. Although we’re here for business (it’s Young Living’s annual Grande Convention), it’s clear to see as we’re going through the week that this type of connection is a missing piece of the wellness puzzle for so many. Reflecting on my own emotions and motivations this week got me thinking about how important it is for us, especially as women, as moms to surround ourselves with women who we can relate to and who share similar values that we do. My energy, despite some very early flights and a time change has been quite high. I’m taking care of myself- eating 3 meals a day, supplementing twice a day and filling my soul with a deep feeling of gratitude and elation. Did it take a large output of energy to get here? Yes! Was it easy? No! Do I value this time away for me? Absolutely. I’m extremely grateful to my past self for making intentional choices and early sacrifices to get here. I would do it 100 times over too because this is time I’ll never have back. These memories will last a lifetime too. My friendships matter, this week is a gentle reminder of just how much.


Click here for a list of fun ideas of things to do with your friends.



Consider how you feel mentally and emotionally after spending time with your people- you get the chance to share your experiences, tell stories, to have your feelings validated, to laugh, listen, be listened to, to learn traditions, customs and viewpoints you may not otherwise consider. Meaningful friendships are part of the anti-stress protocol! Time with friends you love and who love you is the antidote to stress.


A period of time spent without friends contributes to loneliness, depression, anxiety (2) and even an increased risk of mortality (3). Those with strong social connections live longer and face less cognitive decline than those who don’t (4).


The bottom line… we need to make room in our schedules for more time with friends.



In my experience, it’s not just the friendships that matter, its the meaningful connections we get from spending time with our friends. We need more of this in our lives. We need companionship outside of our families and our partners, we need our female support systems, our outlets, our fun, our sharing, our learning, our failing- we need it all. We need to opportunity to connect.


Meaningful friendships allow us to:

  • pursue our dreams and desires

  • live a healthier life

  • express our emotions and release them

  • combat stress

  • improve our confidence


Although I didn’t realize it at the time, this would be another gift I received from joining a Young Living team- a team with women from all walks of life with different stories to tell and hearts to open up to and for. I didn’t realize how much my mental health needed these women and how much of an impact I could have by simply being on a team.


We often believe our wellness comes solely from our food, supplements and exercise, and while that’s certainly true, it’s not the only aspect of wellness that needs our attention. There’s much to be gained from investing into the relationships you currently have and elevating them to elevate yourself.


In vibrant health,

xo Leigh



References:

(1) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34646109/

(2) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35622303/

(3) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25910392/

(4) https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1111/j.1745-6924.2009.01141.x



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