How to Cultivate Supportive Relationships

Getting the support you need plays a big role in your mental health. On your own, it can be difficult to maintain perspective and sustain the effort required to beat illnesses, such as depression. But the very nature of these illnesses makes it difficult to reach out for help. However, isolation and loneliness make mental illnesses even worse, so maintaining your close relationships and social activities are important.

The thought of reaching out to even close family members and friends can seem overwhelming. You may feel ashamed, too exhausted to talk, or guilty for neglecting the relationship. Your loved ones may be a good source of help.

  • Turn to trusted friends and family members. Share what you’re going through with the people you love and trust. Ask for the help and support you need. You may have retreated from your most treasured relationships, but they can get you through this tough time.
  • Try to keep up with social activities even if you don’t feel like it. When you’re depressed, it feels more comfortable to retreat into your shell. But being around other people will make you feel less depressed.

10 Tips for reaching out and building relationships.

  1. Talk to one person about your feelings.
  2. Help someone else by volunteering.
  3. Have breakfast or lunch with a friend.
  4. Ask a loved one to check in with you regularly.
  5. Accompany someone to the movies, a concert or a small get-together.
  6. Call or email an old friend.
  7. Go for a walk with a workout buddy.
  8. Schedule a weekly dinner date.
  9. Meet new people by taking a class or joining a club.
  10. Confide in a counselor, therapist or clergy member.

source: Helpguide.org

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