Building Bridges: The Benefits of Maintaining Four Types of Relationships
Amidst the pandemic, relationships have been put on the back burner. States across the country have issued stay-at-home orders, curfews, and business closures. There’s also the historic recession which has resulted in an unprecedented unemployment rate. It’s understandable that maintaining relationships aren’t exactly people’s priorities at the moment. But they can actually help people cope with the current events.
Here are the benefits of the four most important relationships in a person’s life:
Trouble in paradise? Consider couples therapy before you break it off. Independence is important but so is maintaining a relationship with a partner. In fact, a review of almost a hundred studies found a link between health and relationships. From their findings, people who are in romantic relationships had higher levels of well-being compared to those who are single. Relationship counseling isn’t only for marriages. The same review showed that there are benefits to being in a relationship during emerging adulthood.
One important component is the mental health benefits. Having someone else to share your problems and struggles with is a huge help. Research has shown that married men have a lower risk of depression compared to single men. Relationships stave off feelings of loneliness and isolation. This is especially important during quarantines.
Besides mental health benefits, romantic relationships can also help you physically. It might seem far-fetched but being half of a couple is literally good for your heart. According to UT Health Austin, people who are in healthy relationships are at lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease compared to couples in unhappy relationships or single people. Being romantically involved can also improve the quality of your sleep. Experts say that sharing a bed can lower stress levels and promote feelings of security.
What are friends for? A lot of health benefits, actually. Thousands of gyms and yoga studios have closed because of the pandemic. As a result, people are less active which is detrimental for one’s fitness. One solution to this problem is to connect with friends. Zoom workouts have started to gain popularity across the world. It works by going to an online workout class with some friends. It can be a yoga, cycling, or weights class. No matter the type of exercise, it’s always helpful with a friend. You’re more likely to follow through and your friend can also motivate you. Research has shown that people who workout with a buddy tend to exercise longer than those who workout alone.
Besides physical fitness, friends are also great support systems. For example, a significant number of the population get divorced every year. It might even get worse because of the pandemic. Figures show that there has been an increase in the divorce rate around the world. This is worrying because of the negative mental health effects of separations. Divorced people have lower life satisfaction and are at higher risk of depression compared to couples who stayed married. This is where friends come in handy. According to divorced women, their friends provided them with support and sympathy.
There’s a reason why families are called the strongest unit of society. Biological or not, parents ensure children are healthy, happy, and functional. Studies have shown that there are positive outcomes if the relationship between kids and their caretakers is warm and communicative. These children tend to perform better in school and are at lower risk of depression.
Besides parents, sibling relationships are among the most important in the family. Kids tend to confide more in their brothers and sisters than their parents. The smaller age gap also helps siblings relate to each other. Younger children also see their older siblings as their role models. But that’s not to say that it’s always the older child’s responsibility to set an example. A study by the University of Calgary discovered that siblings affect each other’s empathy levels.
You shouldn’t just be setting aside time for your partner, friends, or family. It’s crucial that you also reserve time and care for yourself. Self-love is important because it means that you’re comfortable being yourself. You don’t rely on somebody else to make you feel whole because you’re capable of doing it yourself.
There’s a misconception that self-care is for vanity or selfish reasons. It’s actually about taking care of your body for your well-being. Otherwise, you’ll end up feeling fatigued and less productive. Self-care is also essential so you can help your loved ones.
Thanks to technology, it’s easier than ever to connect with your friends and family even during a pandemic. It may not seem like a priority among all the events. But maintaining social ties can actually help you cope with everything that’s happening.