The Importance of Living Healthy and Staying Connected

After a year of lockdowns and enforced isolation, the benefits of being healthy and staying connected have never been more apparent.


After a year of lockdowns and enforced isolation, the benefits of being healthy and staying connected have never been more apparent.

We are social creatures. The need to connect is hardwired into our bodies. When we share a pleasant experience with someone, our bodies release feel-good hormones and chemicals and we want to see that person more. It’s a biological imperative; a virtuous circle.

Forming positive relationships makes us happier, healthier, and more likely to live longer. Loneliness meanwhile can also be self-reinforcing, leading to listlessness and cognitive decline.

The same pattern is true of physical health, and the two aspects are symbiotic. The healthier your mind, the more motivation you have to eat well and exercise regularly. The healthier your body, the more prepared you’ll feel to build better social bonds and tackle whatever else life throws at you.

Following on from of our recent blog on avoiding carer’s fatigue, this post on the benefits of staying socially connected and living healthy will look at and how you can look after yourself, whatever happens next with the global pandemic – whether you’re a carer, or someone being cared for.

Whatever you’re doing, be purposeful

Blue Bird Care assistant showing her tablet to a lady

The first simple thing you can do to feel the benefits of staying socially connected and living healthy is set some goals.

When you do things just for the sake of it, life can begin to feel aimless, and motivation can become a struggle. When you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve, your outlook becomes more purposeful, and you begin to build momentum.

That’s why people in diet programs set a target weight, and why athletes set their sights on the Olympic games years before the event takes place. A clear, simple, powerful goal has an emotional gravity that will pull you towards it, ensuring you adapt along the way in order to succeed.

Of course, it’s unlikely that you’re an Olympic-level athlete, but the same mindset works for day-to-day activities too.

Caring for a relative? Think about how you want to feel by the day’s end, and come up with creative ideas for spending time together that can help you get there in good spirits.

Busy week ahead juggling work and family life? Try writing down the key things you’ll have accomplished, professionally and personally, by the following Sunday evening. You’ll then be in a position to work out where you can take some time to recharge.

Or if looking ahead makes you feel lonely, you can use that as motivation to decide who to call each day, while finding a fun project to keep you busy between phone calls.

Whatever your situation, starting at the end and working backwards will help you feel less at the mercy of circumstances, and more empowered to enjoy the connections and activities that make life worth living.

Find a routine – but not too much routine

Human beings are creatures of habit. Familiar routines bring security and comfort. But living in them for too long can also lead to boredom and stagnation. The trick is finding a balance between reliable rhythms and enough diversity to keep life interesting.

This is where the benefits of staying socially connected and living healthy can prove self-fulfilling.

Exercise can be a great way to break up your daily routine. Just a 20-30 minute walk each day can raise your endorphins and provide both a social connection and welcome change of scenery. Plus, the fitter you get, the further you can go and more walking routes become open to you. You may even become familiar with parts of your environment you’d never explored before!

For those who want to push themselves, cycling, jogging, and other athletic pursuits are also excellent ways to break up a day. Or if the cold weather is a problem, online yoga programs for all skill levels can help you improve balance, work on cardio, and even lose weight, all without leaving the house.

And when you’re all exercised out? Follow that healthy mindset and turn an eye to your nutrition. Meal box services like SimplyCook, Mindful Chef, Noom, Gousto and Hello Fresh, plus online deliveries from supermarkets, all make sourcing ingredients and cooking simple recipes quicker and easier than ever. The creativity involved is sure to bring its own sense of satisfaction, too. Think how excited you’ll be to share your newfound culinary skills when you’re next able to have visitors!

Be the change you want to see

As we mentioned earlier, loneliness can be a self-sustaining mindset. It’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling like you’re alone if you think nobody wants to spend time with you. But when you realise how many others are also alone and struggling, it’s not hard to realise how staying connected can improve your health.

Rather than living in negative self-talk and retreating self-consciously from social contact, it’s almost always beneficial to lean into the discomfort and become the person who proactively brings people together. So, decide what you’d like to do. Think about who in your life might enjoy it too. Then make some calls and see what’s possible!

Can’t find anyone in your immediate sphere who might be interested? Don’t give up. Look outside it instead. Local community groups, online forums for specific interests, and social gathering websites like  all offer ways to expand your social circle and find people with whom to share your time, energy and passions, regardless of your age or background.

Of course, not everyone can get out and about all the time. Which brings us to…

Lean on technology – to whatever level you feel comfortable

Blue Bird Care assistant showing elderly man her mobile phone

While the pandemic changed the nature of in-person social plans, modern technology gave us a viable alternative gateway to the benefits of staying socially connected and living healthy.

At the basic level, the humble telephone will be the first port of call for many people. Especially elderly family members, who may not be as comfortable with current technology. Try to make the effort to regularly call your older loved ones. They’ll appreciate the thought, and hearing your voice should cheer them up and help break up their day.

However, the intuitive touch-screen usability of modern tablets and phones has made video calling apps like Zoom  and FaceTime more accessible, allowing families and friends to share in experiences like online quizzes and movie watch parties.

Those same innovations also allowed for the above-mentioned social groups, plus teaching, training and other classes, to all move online with incredible success.

It’s now entirely feasible to have a virtual social life mixing video social calls, web-delivered exercise classes, dial-in meditations, communal Zoom cooking, long-distance gaming and even online laughter yoga! (We’ve tried that last one – and trust us, it’s a blast!). Even as the world gets back to normal, web-connected experiences will remain a part of people’s new normal – long after the pandemic is done with.

The upshot is that, whatever your interests and level of comfort with technology, there’s a way to adapt and feel the benefits of staying socially connected and living healthy.

And if all else fails… get a dog!

No, seriously!

The importance of living healthy and staying connected is huge, and a four-legged furry friend can bring both into your life in one waggy bound. The combination of unconditional love, regular walks, and the responsibility of someone relying on you can prove immensely rewarding for anyone in a position to embrace the challenge.

Helping you stay healthy and connected

Of course, we realise that getting a dog may not be for everyone. Indeed, if you’re caring for a loved one, even following the other tips we’ve mentioned here might prove tricky!

However, those situations are precisely why we offer respite care. It allows carers the time to rest, recharge, and look after their other responsibilities. At the same time, it also gives those being cared for a change of environment, and a chance to make those new and all-important connections that can help them lead a healthier lifestyle.

If you're interested in respite care, or want to know how our other caring services can support your wellbeing, please get in touch. We're here to make life easier.