Wednesday 20 February 2019

9 Ways To Boost Your Social Life As a Busy Mum

Socialisation is an important life process which occurs when you interact with others. In its most basic sense, socialisation is important in order to develop the skills necessary for living. Without socialising, we would never have learnt the crucial skills we need to survive. Through socialising we learn to talk, walk, eat and use the toilet. We learn how to be a part of the society in which we live and conform to its rules and norms. We learn the language of our environment, our role in life and what is expected of us. Socialising also plays an important part in the development of personality in children.

I have always been a very social person and love to be around others. However, since becoming a mum, socialising has become more challenging. As a homeschool mum, I see other homeschool mothers all the time since I take my children to homeschool groups and activities, however, it's always about the kids. I rarely get time without my little ones in order to relax and meet with people in an adult environment. But, is this right? Shouldn't I have some time for my own socialisation too?

As busy mothers, we often think we don't have time to socialise with friends. We rarely have any free time and often think there are more important things we could be doing. On top of that, by the end of the day, we often feel too exhausted to go out and spend time socialising with others. It is so tempting to collapse on the sofa and read a book or watch TV rather than go out with friends. However, I do believe we need to be making more of an effort to fill up our own cups and socialising is a great way of doing this. This is because socialisation is actually pretty important and has so many benefits. Here are some of them.

Benefits of socialisation

You may live longer

Studies show, those with social support live two and a half years longer that those who are isolated! If that's not a good reason to socialise then I don't know what is!

Better physical health

Social people are likely to be more physically active because they are out and about more. They may also take sports classes or go to the gym which will improve their health. Furthermore, social engagement is associated with a stronger immune system. This is because socialising reduces stress. When we are stressed, hormones are released that get us ready for an emergency situation but they also decrease our immunity. Some experts say that 90% of illnesses and diseases are actually caused by stress! So, anything that reduces stress, such as socialising, is really positive for your physical health.

Better mental health

Studies show that when people are more talkative and assertive, they are more likely to experience positive emotions. Interacting with others makes you happier and decreases feelings of depression. This is because when we talk to people, neurotransmitters are released that regulate our stress response. Dopamine is generated which makes us happy and kills pain. When we shake hands with someone, oxytocin is released which increases feelings of trust and lowers levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, which leaves you feeling less stressed. Moreover, when we spend time talking to others, we have less time to wallow in our own thoughts.

Lowers risk of dementia

It has been found that socialising improves cognitive skills such as memory. You know how they say learning in order to teach is better than learning for an exam? This is because you will be using that information, sharing it with others and talking it over with them. This repetition of talking things over and consolidating the information in your own mind, will improve your memory skills. It is because of these better cognitive skills that you may have a lower chance of developing dementia later on in life.

Improves self-esteem

Socialising is great for self-esteem. This is because having a group of people who you feel you belong with, makes you feel special. If you have low self-esteem to start with, it can be difficult to start socialising but getting out there and being social will really help to counteract those negative feelings and you will start to feel good about yourself.

How to boost your social life

Schedule time for socialising

This is the most important tip. As busy mums, we often put ourselves last, neglecting our own needs. We pack our diaries with things for the children to do but leave no time for ourselves. Therefore, it can be helpful to try and schedule in time for your own socialising. Whether it's once a week or once a month, make sure you schedule that time in your diary so you can arrange a babysitter and have no excuse not to go out.

Sign up for a class or join a group

Whether it's taking an art class or becoming a member of the local choir, joining regular classes or groups is a great way to meet new people and make new friends. The good thing about these groups is that they are often regular so you know you will be going each week or so and seeing the same people each time. This regularity helps to build relationships with people.

Attend a place of worship

Religion is often great at bringing people together. If you belong to a religious group, try frequenting your local place of worship. There you will be able to meet like-minded people and you will feel a sense of belonging which will improve your self-esteem.

Volunteer for a charity or organisation

If you are able to spare some time, helping out at a local charity is a great way to help those in need. Charities often have low budgets because they want to put as much of the money they raise into helping people, therefore, giving your time for free is so beneficial to them. I know not everyone is able to do this, and if you cannot, don't worry. However, if you have the time and are looking for ways to meet people, volunteering can be excellent.

Participate in a neighbourhood project

Perhaps there are some local projects happening in your local area right now that you can get involved in. This is a great way to meet people who live close to you. Check in your local newspaper or online to find out about any neighbourhood projects that are happening at the moment.

Play a sport

Sport provides a great opportunity to socialise. A lot of sports involve being part of a team and, therefore, meeting new people and communicating with them is inevitable. Are there any sports teams that you have been thinking of joining? Now is your chance. Find out when they train and see if you can join them.

Invite family and friends over for coffee

This is one of the easiest ways to socialise and I'm sure you are doing this already. Just a simple thing such as inviting a friend over for a coffee and chat is a great way feel happy and boost your self-esteem. Most mothers will find it hard to meet for coffee without having the children in tow. However, you can try and arrange this in the evening once the children are in bed if you would like more grown up time.

Exercise with a friend

I have already mentioned starting a sports class or joining a team, but have you thought about doing this with a friend? Alternatively, try joining a gym for exercising. However, gyms can be quite lonely when you have no one to talk to so why not see if any of your friends would like to join you so you can keep fit and have fun together!

Use skype or video calls to connect with family and friends abroad

Finally, if you are really struggling to connect with people who live near you, you can always take advantage of technology and make a long-distance video call to a friend or family member.

I hope you learnt some good tips here that you will be able to use in your daily life. Once you begin scheduling in time for socialising, you may find that it's easier than we thought. Do you get time to socialise without the children? If you have any more tips, please leave them in the comments below.


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