Did you know that tomorrow is World Friendship Day, also known as International Day of Friendship?
The original idea for a day of friendship came from Hallmark cards in the 1930’s as a way to celebrate the importance of friends. But it didn’t really take off and it wasn’t until 2011 that the United Nations declared July 30th as the International Day of Friendship or World Friendship Day. The idea is that friendships between people, countries and cultures can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities worldwide.
The day is now celebrated globally and is becoming increasingly popular every year.
We all know how important it is to have friends, especially given the social isolation impacts of 2020. I for one do NOT want to return to those days again. In a study on the impact of social relationships on health, it was found that of the nearly 300 participants, the individuals with the fewest social ties were the most likely to suffer from mental health illnesses.
As well as social relationships, there has been lots of research on the effects of loneliness for our mental and physical health too. Loneliness has been linked to early deaths and an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, depression, cognitive decline and poor sleep. It’s as harmful to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day so it’s vital to form connections.
And it doesn’t really matter who those friendship connections are. A neighbour, people you pass in your community, someone you see at the gym, a work colleague, any interaction is so vital to our wellbeing and overall health.
The latest buzz word around this is ‘Social Biome’. You have probably heard about the Gut Biome, a unique, diverse ecosystem of microbes in our gut, which, when we eat a balanced diet, keeps us in good health. A Social Biome is an ecosystem of relationships and interactions that shapes our emotional, mental and physical health. Thanks to the lockdowns of 2020 and isolations of 2021, our Social Biome is unlikely to be in good shape. So it’s important to take time to make those different connections again. Connect with your neighbour, an old friend, join an exercise class or treat a friend to lunch.
Caring about others is fundamental to our happiness, so why not pick up the phone and call or message a friend you’ve not seen in a while. Perhaps treat yourselves to some pamper time at China Fleet with an Afternoon Tea and a glass of Prosecco, or even a Spa Day? Oh yes please! Perfect excuse for some giggles and a way to look after that ‘Social Biome’.
Happy Friendship Day to all our Club friends,