- Mental Health
- Substance Use
- Healthy Living
I recently went on vacation for 4 weeks to Asia. This was the longest vacation that I had ever been on and my first time to that continent. I have an Asian background, my parents were actually born in the Philippines, but they are both Chinese. I was really excited to learn about the history of where I come from. The added bonus was that I was going to do this with 25 other members of my family: aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews. I have to say that I was a bit worried that there would be some family clashes. Perhaps this vacation meant too much family time? I was certain that I would end up either disliking my family more or loving them more. The latter happened; we all got even closer than ever over the trip! We successfully (with virtually no arguments) visited Beijing, Xi’an, Shanghai, Zhongshan, Hong Kong and Macau. Family has always been a very important part of my life and has provided me with the social support to deal with everyday stressors as well as a community of people to celebrate big life changes!
Social support plays a significant role in all of our mental health. Family as well as friends, co-workers, neighbours, partners and others are able to provide emotional and physical support when you need someone to talk to, when you want to share information or points of view, when you need help around your house or when you just want to share some amazing news! Having a community of people that value each other and care about each other’s well-being helps with managing mental health challenges including stress as well as increases your self-confidence and sense of belonging. This definitely takes on-going mutual effort. I see my family every Sunday for family dinner. We celebrate birthdays, graduations and additions to the family as well as support each other in loss and disappointments. We also just have a great time catching up, having fun and creating small, but memorable moments.
There is a great support survey on HeretoHelp at http://www.heretohelp.bc.ca/wellness-module/wellness-module-3-social-support as well as some suggestions as to how to improve your social support network.
Have some cake with your family, friends or neighbours and make any gathering a celebration!