Togetherness is defined as having quality relationships. When someone has surrounded themselves with quality relationships this helps their social, emotional, and physical health thrive.
But what happens to your sense of togetherness when impacted by social anxiety and COVID-19? These can have a significant impact on your health and the way you socialise.
Why is Togetherness Important?
Togetherness provides a wide range of benefits for your emotional and mental health as well as your physical health.
Did you know that having meaningful relationships can help improve your nervous system?
Togetherness isn’t just the act of finding people to talk to. It’s finding the right people who encourage you, share interests and care.
The Impact of Social Anxiety on Togetherness
According to Better Health Victoria, 3% of Australians experience social anxiety every year (Better Health Victoria).
Some common signs of social anxiety include:
- Intense fear of talking to people or socialising
- Avoiding socialising and social events due to this intense fear
- Increased response of your nervous system e.g. Excess sweating, rapid heart rate, faster breathing and muscle tension
- Hyper fixation on an event or situation
These signs of social anxiety can make it extremely difficult for individuals to foster a deep sense of togetherness. Instead, it can increase the feeling of isolation or loneliness.
Togetherness and COVID
COVID-19 has had huge effects on people’s sense of togetherness and anxiety.
As a community, we are socialising less and our usual activities with friends and family have been limited. We had to experience long periods of social isolation which was extremely hard for some.
COVID-19 has only further encouraged the importance of togetherness and people have found different ways of encouraging it from a distance.
Togetherness on Social Media
Social media was, and still is, a highly helpful tool for maintaining social relationships, starting new relationships and maintaining a sense of togetherness despite the distance.
Social media is a fantastic way to keep in contact with current friends and family. Many clubs and social groups have also moved online. Online groups make it easier for people with social anxiety or who lack a sense of togetherness to still participate and take the steps necessary to encourage a sense of togetherness at their own pace.
How Can you Try and Ease Anxiety while Encouraging Togetherness?
This article has highlighted the difficulty of social anxiety and its impact on togetherness which is necessary for good mental health.
There are steps you can take to further prioritise your sense of togetherness or even get the confidence to establish some new connections.
- Challenge your negative thoughts about social interactions: This can be hard at first but instead of focusing on what you think others will think of you, instead focus on the positive. “I said something wrong, they will think I’m dumb.” Try: “Everyone makes mistakes, they wouldn’t have even noticed.”
- Set personal boundaries: If you organise a lunch or even a phone call with someone make sure you know what you can and can’t handle. This can be as simple as choosing the place for lunch where you are comfortable, with covid this can mean an outdoor venue or take away.
- Use social media: Many activities, events, clubs and groups are online to accommodate a changed lifestyle. Online options are still used for people who aren’t ready to return to face-to-face socialising but want to meet new people.