Opportunities to Connect: A Social Connection Calendar
Social connection is a critical component of good health. People who have social support from friends, family and community suffer fewer health problems, live longer and report being happier than folks who don’t have that sort of support. In fact, a 2010 study found a lack of strong relationships had a 50% risk of premature death from all causes. The same risk as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and a higher risk than obesity and physical inactivity. How does social connection make us healthier? It reduces stress, increases your immune system, improves recovery rates, supports self-esteem and empathy, reduces depression and so much more.
The amazing thing about social support as a preventative and curative health strategy is how easy it is to access. With benefits for the giver and receiver, no special equipment or knowledge required, and the ability to tailor social connection to our own taste, mood, resources and circumstances, it is truly the easiest health intervention.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, when all of us are facing unimaginable challenges, reaching out can feel hard. However, when finding social connection seems most challenging, when the world feels heaviest, or stress and anxiety make picking up the phone feel like an obligation, this is when it is most important to give and receive the positive benefits of social support. So, call a friend, find a support group, join a safe winter sport, go to that virtual knitting circle, plan a silly game night over zoom, find ways, space and time to safely connect with your loved ones and community. It is a gift that keeps giving and worth the extra time and effort.
To help support folks in prioritizing social connection we’ve put together a Social Connection Calendar full of opportunities and events to safely connect, both virtually and outdoors. We’ve also assembled a Resource Guide with further social support information including online group game platforms, tech support, connection platforms and resources, recovery support, mentorship programs, senior cyber coaches, teen focused support, LBGTQ+ resources and more.
Libraries have always offered support and resources to their communities and, during COVID, they have adapted and continue to offer community connection for all ages in innovative ways.
Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick has a packed event calendar with activities daily for all ages. For example, every Monday night from 5-6pm they offer a virtual craft meet up! Grab a cup of tea, your latest craft project, and your digital
device to join fellow local crafters online as they gather for casual conversation about what they are working on and anything else that strikes their fancy.
Another cool activity the library hosts is the Digital Escape Room. Every other Tuesday a new virtual escape room experience is available, a group game geared toward teens where you solve the clues, crack the codes, and answer the riddles while racing against the clock!
Also, check out other events and resources offered by organizations and libraries near you! Norway Memorial Library, Auburn Library, Lewiston Library to name a few Libraries. Free activities such as book clubs, curbside kits for kid’s activities, facebook live storytime, and so much more is offered through these great community resources!