Building Community: Creating a Sense of Belonging

A connection or lack thereof to our environment can play a big role in our mental health. Whether we are actively involved in our community through engagement with various organization or just enjoy taking advantage of what the community has to offer, being connected gives us an opportunity to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. Being connected to our environment provides us with a sense of belonging and provides us with the opportunity to develop personal connection through friendship.

Though finding connection to our community can really give us a mental boost, it can also be challenging. If we move to a new city or even a new country, it can be difficult to adapt to the culture and find your fit. It can feel isolating and lonely to try and plant roots within a new community. It can also be difficult to know where to start. Whether you are looking to strengthen existing roots or become a part of a new community, here are a couple of ideas to get connected.

1. Volunteer. Find a cause or organization you believe in and volunteer your time. This is a great way to meet new, like-minded people.

2. If you have children, use them. Getting your kids involved in various activities can be really helpful for their adjustment and may also provide you with an opportunity to meet some parents as well.

3. Take advantage of community events. Though this might not directly result in meeting new people, it gets you out and participating in something the community has put together.

4. Pursue your own hobbies. If you’ve been an avid yogi in your last community or it’s something you have always wanted to try, find a studio near you. Introduce yourself to the instructor and commit to going at least once a week. Not only do you reap the rewards of doing something that feeds your soul, but the more regularly you participate the more likely you are to meet and engage with those in the class.

5. Have a block party. Whether you live in an apartment, house, or even an acreage set up a fun afternoon/evening to meet those living in the same vicinity. It might result in some friendships, but at the very least will likely connect you to someone who can water your plants while you’re out of town.

Have some patience and persistence as you build your community. It takes some time to feel like you really fit in and are part of something. The work it takes is definitely worth it!

 Danielle

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