The Fourth Factor of Health: Relationships
We have explored the first three factors of health in the three previous posts: sleep, nutrition, and exercise. Today we explore relationships and connectedness and how they can affect your overall health. This topic may surprise you since it reaches beyond the physical. Health, however, isn’t just about weight and muscles, it’s about developing and caring for your whole person – physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and spiritually.
Creating Healthy Connections
Humans are social creatures. No matter how independent or introverted you are, you still need actual
human connection. This doesn’t just mean having people you spend time with, it means having people you
spend time with you make you feel seen, heard, and supported.
Do you have at least one person in your life that you feel supported by? (i.e. you can reach out to them
if you are having a tough time, they encourage you to take healthy risks, and to try new things)
If yes, that is awesome! A supportive friend or loved one is something to be valued and that relationship deserves you time and attention.
Think about how you do and can continue to make time to keep that connection close.
If no, here are some ways to try and change that:
We naturally surround ourselves with people who reflect our lifestyle choices. This can be tough when
we decide to work on being healthier, as the people in our current circle don’t always share the same desires or values.
Ask yourself if the people you spend time with have the same interests or desires as you. Especially if you are working to make healthier choices, are you surrounded by some people who live out those same values and can encourage you on the journey?
If you are struggling to name a like-minded friend, where can you find people that are?
You need to work on finding a community. For us, and many other folks who are CrossFitters. we have found these connections and community at our CrossFit gyms. For others, it may be a church, or a group of people with the same hobby.
Consider 3 ideas of places you might be able to find and connect with like-minded people.
do you have to take to make these connections happen? Join a class, a gym, a volunteer group, or a club . Find out the registration dates. Set any necessary finances aside. PLAN for success so that you have the opportunity to see new relationships develop.
Consider setting a daily and/or weekly goal for connection and relationship building. That can be as simple as: putting your phone away while you are eating food with another human, taking your dog to the dog park once a week (double win: people you have something in common with and happy pooch!), or making a standing “date” with a friend you wish you saw more.
Relationships are not only essential to our overall health, they are also high impactful in how we feel about ourselves and our progress in the things we’re pursuing. Connect with others who will encourage healthy habits, celebrate your successes, and make room at the table for others to do the same.
The concept of the 5 Factors of Health was coined by Ben Bergeron. This PDF was created as a self evaluation and goal setting tool by Rachael
O’Donnell LCSW, LADC, CrossFit level 2 Trainer, and Pn1 Nutrition Coach.