Having a good support system is the key to a healthy and balanced life. This support will be the one that you can open up to when you need to talk and be a listener when others need to talk to you. Social support and interactions are the backbone of living a well rounded life but can be challenging to find at times. This post covers support systems and how to find a strong one.
What is a support system?
A support system is a person or group of people you can mutually rely on for emotional or other forms of support. This support is often mutual, and both parties will play listener at some point. Support systems are often identified as 3 main groups. These groups are family, friends and work colleagues (either a friend or mentor). The type of support received by each group will usually look quite different.
Emotional support is usually received from friends and family. Emotional support is inclusive of empathy, love and trust. This group will usually be the one you turn to when you need to talk something off your chest or a shoulder to lean on. These are the people we can rely on to keep our mental health sane. This group can also offer tangible support. An example of this being you get stuck in a meeting and can’t take your child to their appointment so your mother picks them up and takes them.
Work colleagues and mentors offer support on a more professional and career level. They can help you if you’re struggling with any issues at work or help you plan out the next step in your career. Work plays a big part of everyday life so having these strong support systems in place can significantly improve your mood and overall mindset.
Why do we need them?
Support systems are essential for maintaining a healthy mindset. Studies have shown good support systems can decrease risk of experiencing depression and anxiety. If you do already suffer from mental health issues a good support system can help you reduce symptoms.
How to develop a good support system?
Find out what you want from a support system. Everyone needs different level of support for different reasons so find out what you need. It might be career support as you rise up the ranks or someone to talk to when you have down days. When you’ve worked out what type of support system you need it’ll be easier to find this. Read about how to support a friend with anxiety.
Talk more to your family and friends. If you’ve neglected friends or family perhaps due to being to busy or moving locations take some time to build these relationships back. Catch up more often which might even be over a zoom call. This will naturally strengthen your support system so when you’re in need you can turn to these people in your life.
Find support systems close to your interests. If you don’t have existing family or friends that you feel would make a strong support system it’s a great chance for you to find your own. Hone in you interests and find people that share the same. This will give you a great starting point for a friendship and a potential support system. For those more introverted or shy this can be challenging. Online support systems can be useful too, you can make friends online in the same community which can provide a sense of support.
Ultimately being your own support system is the best you can get. Know how to look after yourself and when to ask for help. Finding balance in your life and doing the things that make you feel good. If reaching out to your surrounding support system isn’t enough you can reach out to a therapist too. Including a therapist in your support system is an extremely valuable tool which shouldn’t be overlooked.