Community, connection and health

Human beings are social animals. 

And being part of a community is an important part of our existence. You could say it’s essential. 

But it’s easy to become disconnected. Life is busy. It feels like there’s not much time for anything but survival, or ticking the to-do list. And I think that this can have a knock on impact on health. 

As part of my health coaching qualification I had to examine my network, both for ensuring I had appropriate paths of referral as well as for my own health and wellbeing. It was a great exercise, and one which both showed me what a truly fantastic community I have, as well as a where there were some holes that needed to be filled.

So, maybe sometime this week, you could do the same. Who in your community do you connect to. Who can you ask for help? Who do you offer help to?  

Now, you probably know that community is important to me. I am a people person and I love meeting new people. I make the effort to get to know the people around me and I love that sense of connection. 

But do you know what, it comes in handy. When my car got barged into by cows last week, I was able to chat amicably to the farmer because we had both been on the Parish Council together, both invested in our community. 

When I need an emergency babysitter, I know a couple of the teenagers down the road might be able to help out, we’ve known them since we moved here. 

When our road was flooded a neighbour with a Landrover helped ferry us across. 

When I'm exhausted or stressed, someone will notice and ask if they can help (even when I don't know how to ask for help myself. 

I have had a few weeks of school and community summer fairs. These are such a great example of communities coming together, to celebrate, raise money for great causes and catch up (and have a laugh - pouring a bucket of jelly over the headteacher was a winner!).  

I’ve also been cheering lots of Wild Country Women this weekend who have been taking part in the Pretty Muddy and Race for Life challenges in Bristol. They, and you are my community too. I’m pleased to offer help with tips on training, advice on injuries and referrals to physios, massage therapists etc etc. And you all help me too - by supporting my business, giving me feedback (and lovely testimonials) and offering me advice too. You’re all fab. 

I’m also part of communities of small business, holistic health practitioners (the World Health Heroes being one example), as well as a community on my current Women’s Health Coaching course. 

I’ve built up these communities over time. They are an important part of my life, my family, my business and my health. It means I’ve got people to call on for help, assistance or a shoulder to lean on. 

It can be a great exercise to work out who has your back in your own community, and whose back you have got too. Are there any holes? And how can you fill them?