A strong social support network can see you through the toughest of times, helping you better manage stress and boosting your physical health. So who do you have in your corner? Create a healthy lifestyle team with intention, and you can improve your health outcomes.
Studies show that social isolation and loneliness are associated with a greater risk of health problems, including poor mental health and poor cardiovascular health. So it’s key to have support; we know that. But what we may not know is how to build those connections.
First, support comes in several forms – emotional, instrumental, and informational – and each plays a different role. When life is difficult, emotional support from those closest to you is essential to helping manage stress. Instrumental support is tangible help when you need a hand, such as someone bringing a meal when you’re sick. And informational support includes guidance, advice, and mentoring.
On a healthy lifestyle journey, emotional support can look like someone encouraging you as you take action, confront obstacles, and keep moving forward. Instrumental support could be a friend not only having you over for dinner, but also serving healthy options that fit into your goals. And informational support could come from someone who’s been where you are and can help you find your own way.
People in your life can take on different roles and provide each of these types of support at different times. And with a solid network you’re more likely to receive the help you need when you need it.
So how can you create a stronger healthy lifestyle team for yourself? Read on for some tips.
5 Tips to Create Your Healthy Lifestyle Team
Meeting healthy living goals can feel overwhelming. And without support it can be even more difficult to act on and move toward those goals. A support team that includes family, friends, peers, mentors, and/or paid professionals can provide advice, guidance, resources, perspective, and feedback.
Here are 5 tips to get started building or strengthening your team for a healthier you:
- First, tap into your own mindset about your journey. What do you want to achieve? How do you want to feel, and who do you want to be?
- Consider what your support network might look like ideally. Who’s on your team already, and who’s missing? Keep in mind that no one person can play all the roles you’ll likely need. You may need different support in each area of health you want to focus on. For example, if you’re looking to start an exercise routine, you would want support from others with a similar mindset or goal – perhaps a personal trainer and a few walking buddies.
- Inform others of your goals and ask for their backing. If you’re looking to improve your nutrition and want to eat less processed food, you may need to have some conversations with those in your household about shopping more mindfully. And it may take some trial and error with everyone to figure out what you need assistance with, and when.
- Seek out others with a similar mindset or goal. Join a club, work with a professional such as a nutritionist or coach, explore a group class.
- Keep in mind that as your goals change, your support network will change too. I’ve had different accountability partners at different times along my journey. So stay curious and flexible as you figure out your path ahead, and you’ll be able to create a team for a healthier you.
Amy Hoogervorst is a national board-certified health and wellness coach, offering grace and space for a healthier you. If you’re ready to fit healthier habits into your life for more energy, focus, and fun, you can schedule a free discovery call here to learn more about how health coaching might benefit you.