Between work, household chores, and ensuring the kids get here and there, American families can’t seem to slow down these days. Throw in that some are taking care of their own aging parents or working second jobs, and most parents find little time for themselves, much less time to maintain meaningful friendships. If this sounds familiar, you’re missing out on a lot of benefits those friendships could be adding to your life.
Friends Help Shape Your Life
As this Psychology Today article points out, friends help shape who you are today and where your life heads tomorrow. Friends often know you better than you know yourself, which makes their input an invaluable resource. They can offer a dose of reality when needed, or they can inspire you to reach higher for your goals and dreams when you need a friendly push. Meaningful friendships offer a you a more fulfilling and enriched life.
Friends Help You Have a Healthier Life
LiveScience explains how friendships surpass the function of mere companionship. Meaningful friendships can improve mental, emotional, and physical health. One study found that social ties improve your life span’s longevity in the same way exercising and smoking cessation does. Another study found that those with weak social ties had a higher incidence of poor basic health measures, such as blood pressure and obesity. Absence of social ties later in life increases your risk of mental health illness and disease, including dementia and depression. Keeping friends around is just all around good for your health.
Friends Form a Support Network for Life’s Woes
It doesn’t always need to take a clairvoyant medium to realize that all parents face potential pains, trials, and otherwise difficult times in their personal and professional lives. Yet, some parents think that they’re immune to such or can handle it alone. The reality is that you need an audience with an attention span beyond fruit snacks and building blocks to discuss your woes. What do you do, for example, if you have a sick parent or spouse in the hospital and small children at home? Well, if you have meaningful friendships, then you have a built-in support and brainstorming network to help you solve the problem. Whether it’s the human need to vent frustrations or problems that surpass our independence, friendships offer you support when you need it the most and even when you’re too proud to realize you need it.
Friends Help Ensure the Totality of You Is More than Just a Parent
Loss of identity can be a major issue for parents, especially parents raising multiple children and those caring for special needs children. Years of being 24/7 caretaker, whereby the needs of others take precedence, often results in the parent forgetting that they’re human, much less an individual. The results can have serious implications, including depression, anxiety, and burnout. Even if it’s just to grab a cup of coffee once a week or walking every evening with a neighbor friend, maintaining friendships helps you remember that you have needs, wants, and aspirations beyond the role of parent.
In closing, you can see friendships enrich almost every element of life. Friendships serve a vital role across the entire width and length of life, and nurturing these friendships will offer you a plethora of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual benefits.