Social Wellness; How To Make Self-Care Feel Less Lonely

Last Wednesday, I attended a webinar on “2022 Wellness Trends Making Headlines” hosted by The Global Wellness Institute.

One of the trends that kept popping up over and over again was social wellness. The need “to connect and engage with others and our communities in meaningful ways.” (GWI)

Basically, after 2 years of on-and-off lockdowns, we’re starting to crave human contact again.

We don’t want to do things on our own anymore.

We’ve become so accustomed to having alone time, setting boundaries to protect our energy and working from home, that we’ve become lonely.

But whereas people think self-care is all about cherishing time alone, doing inner healing work or simply pampering, I am here to tell you that it can be sociable.

Stock image shows 3 pink fruit smoothies taken from above height on a striped table cloth. Image is purely for decorative use only to support the blog post about social self-care

Is self-care making us lonely?

A lot of my own personal development in the last 5-years has come down to spending time with myself and getting to know myself better.

As Lucille Ball once said, “Love yourself first and everything else falls into line.”

There is currently a huge push toward self-love, healing and finding inner peace.

Because after all, the most important relationship in your life is the one you have with yourself.

We take time out of our day to meditate, journal our thoughts and repeat daily affirmations to truly connect with our inner being.

But a lot of these mainstream practices require us to spend time on our own. To shut the doors on the world, switch off the outside noise, and just be.

And I’ve definitely been guilty of this, preferring to stay home and indulge in self-care rather than going out to socialise with friends.

Now I’m not saying this is necessarily a bad thing. We all need time alone right?

Plus, I’m getting older and more introverted and I’m not as social as I was once. However, I got to the point where I was so determined to “work on myself” that I took it to the extreme.

I began to close myself off from friends and stopped making an effort to make plans. I was also being sucked into the hustle culture narrative of “keep your head down and just do the work, no matter what. Say no to every invite that comes your way, because if it doesn’t push you further towards your goals then what’s the point?”

I stopped hanging out with friends, even avoiding speaking to them on the phone and I ended up only doing the things that would improve my personal development and help me grow my business.

But after months of indulging in consecutive days of self-care and solo activities, I soon realised I wasn’t having any fun. I was lonely and I missed female company.

So this year, I’ve made more of a conscious effort to practice more recreational self-care and social self-care. The areas of self-care that allow you to cultivate joy and have fun!

Because we can’t be self-improvement projects all the time, it’s exhausting.

And the truth is, when practising self-care, you don’t need to close yourself off from the world. You don’t need to distance yourself from your friends or family in the name of “becoming the best version of ourselves.”

“Don’t get so caught up self-improving and trying to become “your best self” that you forget to live your life and actually have fun!”

Notes by Thalia

What is social self-care?

Before I do a deep dive into the 31 ways you can practice social self-care, let’s first recap what it means.

Social self-care is simply nurturing your social connections.

Self-care doesn’t always have to be about spending time by yourself. It can sometimes look like reconnecting with friends, or building and maintaining healthy relationships with loved ones.

But social self-care can also be the opposite, where you reevaluate toxic friendships or limit time with negative people.

And these practices are perfectly fine and are 100% necessary.

However, this is where some people can take self-care too far, as they deem everyone in their immediate circle as someone who “drains their energy.” They become too picky about who they spend their time with and begin “to limit people’s access to their life” all in the name of self-care.

It’s all well and good spending time alone to replenish or focus, but when you turn that “me-time” into “a form of protection and avoidance, it becomes problematic.” (Bustle)

Humans are inherently social.

Forming social connections is part of who we are as they help us to feel loved and less alone. These social interactions are also essential in developing and improving our communication skills. But if you continue to purposely avoid social situations and distance yourself from others, then you run the risk of turning into the protagonist from My Year of Rest and Relaxation, “I did crave attention, but I refused to humiliate myself by asking for it.”

All jokes aside though, making and keeping close friendships and relationships prevents loneliness and isolation. They give us a sense of belonging.

So don’t deeply engross self-care into your life to the point where you close yourself off from the world. And instead, learn to incorporate social self-care activities into your wellness routine to keep your social connections strong and healthy.

Make self-care less lonely with these 31 ideas

From cuddling your pet to finding a global pen pal, here is an extensive list of social self-care ideas to add to your wellness routine when you’re craving some human connection!

  1. Hang out with a close friend with zero distractions (yes, put the phone away)
  2. Host a game night with your friends or family
  3. Take your workout to the gym and join an exercise class
  4. Smile at the next person you see
  5. Join an in-person cooking class and take a friend
  6. Go on a date night every week with your partner
  7. Start an in-person book club or sign up for one
  8. Enjoy a girly weekend away with your mum or guardian
  9. Be kind to people you meet on the internet
  10. Join a sports team in your local area like hockey or netball and meet new friends
  11. Volunteer or contribute to a good cause
  12. Do something nice for a stranger
  13. Participate in community events
  14. Go back to your old school to give a talk
  15. Strike up a conversation with someone on their own
  16. Make an effort to get to know your local barista
  17. Bake your neighbours brownies
  18. Enrol in a local art class or something else that tickles your fancy
  19. Keep up regular contact with friends by scheduling frequent catch-up calls
  20. Sign up for group dancing lessons
  21. Get in touch with an old school or uni friend and reconnect
  22. Message a friend and tell them why you’re grateful for them
  23. Check-in with a loved one to see how they are
  24. Build an engaged community online
  25. Write a letter to a friend or find a global pen-pal (P.S — I’ll be your pen-pal)
  26. Schedule in regular phone calls with loved ones
  27. Invite your family round and cook Sunday lunch
  28. Have an old school sleepover with friends when you just reminisce (and watch the OC)
  29. Give the biggest cuddle to your furry friend!
  30. Join Bumble BFF and make new friends
  31. Slide into my DMs and come say hi

Save these ideas on Pinterest for Later!

Social self-care ideas, limit time with negative people, call a loved one, build an engaged community, message a friend, hang out with a friend with zero distractions, learn to say no
31 social self-care ideas infographic including cook your family Sunday lunch, smile at the next person you see, have a big cuddle, enrol in a local class, bake your neighbours brownies, be kind to people online, come say hi to me, write letters to a friend, schedule in frequent catch-up calls with friends, volunteer, connect with an old friend and join a local sports team. Black text on off-white background with coloured graphics

Final notes

It’s important to remember, self-care looks different to everyone.

It’s about what works for you and what makes you feel good.

So like with all my tips, I encourage you to test out these social self-care ideas first before fully committing to them and adding them to your wellness routine the next time you feel a little lonely.

Try putting together a self-care calendar or tracker to help you track which social self-care ideas you enjoyed the most, didn’t drain you and which ones you would do again.

Rate each ritual out of 5 stars. Ask yourself, “how did this activity make me feel?.”

And why not go one step further and use the Daily Wellness & Self-Care Planner.

18 page undated daily wellness and self-care digital planner available on Etsy. Mockup image next to a beige text box and black writing.

This 18-page planner provides you with the accountability and structure you need to plan rest & self-care so you can wave goodbye to burnout.

Use it to:

  • Build a morning & evening routine that works for you
  • Successfully build better habits
  • Track sleep
  • Map out your meals & exercise for a healthy week
  • Reflect on the day and practice gratitude
  • Plan out a week of self-care activities
  • Journal your thoughts & feelings
  • Plus much much more.

buy now

Until next week,

Thalia xx

Disclaimer: Please. note, this post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links then I will be rewarded at no extra cost to you. Any money earned through affiliates will be put towards running my blog and newsletter.

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Notes by Thalia

Notes by Thalia

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Here to help you mindfully navigate and balance your day. Notes on self-care, mindful productivity, mental well-being and wellness.