Science has proven that communities make life better. A 75-year study conducted at Harvard Medical School found that people who have strong connections to family, friends, and their community are not only happier and healthier for it, but they actually live longer and have stronger memories. Having a good community even boosts your immune system (that’s a plus during a pandemic). On the flip-side, folks who find themselves lonelier experience more health problems in mid-life and live shorter lives. And the healthier the connections you build, the healthier you are.
But as we age, have kids, move apart from one another, it gets harder to stay connected. And right now—when we are holed up in our houses, trying to keep from being exposed to germs—making plans and seeing friends can be a challenge.
So, if your community could use a little shoring up, you’re in good metaphorical company. And, there are lots of good options for finding like-minded folks with whom you can spend your time safely online or outdoors. Here are three places to start.
- Employee affinity groups at your organization. For Amazonians, the @Families group and @Women group are popular networks to tap into. Joining an affinity group is a great way to virtually network, meet like-minded Amazonians, and discuss common challenges you might be facing.
- Seattle-based clubs, organizations, and nonprofits, including:
- ~Green drinks: On the second Tuesday of each month, anyone interested in sustainability can come together to talk about it over drinks. The events—described as a combination of eco-party, think tank, micro-festival, professional mixer, and community action event—are currently being held virtually.
- ~SeattleWorks will connect you to volunteer opportunities that align with your interests and are still happening safely during COVID-19.
- ~MoPOP’s Book Club: The Museum of Popular Culture hosts a monthly book club that is meeting virtually during COVID-19.
- ~Gay City has a great list of LGBTQ-focused groups that meet regularly around all kinds of activities and interests.
- ~BlackGirlsRun is the Seattle chapter of a nationwide organization that promotes and supports Black female runners and running groups. Group runs are currently suspended, but you can connect with other members to plan your own socially distant runs.
- ~The Mountaineers Seattle Chapter is the biggest of this Northwest-based nonprofit’s chapters, which organize all kinds of excursions to introduce people to outdoor sports including hiking, rock climbing, sea kayaking, and sailing. During the pandemic they are organizing smaller in-person and virtual events.
- ~Underdog Seattle runs co-ed rec sports leagues for all kinds of outdoor games like softball, dodgeball, flag football, and even cornhole.
- ~PEPs connects parents of young children with each other and peer support groups. All meetings are currently virtual.
- Friend finding apps. Apps like Bumble FF for women, Peanut for moms, and Meet My Dog are similar to dating apps, but for friends! Or you can go old school with Meetup. Two of the most active Seattle Meetup groups are Discover Seattle Activity Group, which focuses on outdoor activities and Young Professionals of Seattle which is hosting COVID-conscious professional development, volunteering, and networking gatherings.
Many of us are struggling more than usual right now, and everyone is looking for a way through it. But we are all in this together. If you can put yourself out there, you’ll be rewarded with a stronger community that benefits every one of us.
If you’re looking for practical ways to improve your lifestyle habits, we have you covered. Amazon Care is offering a free six-week lifestyle health email challenge full of achievable steps to begin forming better habits.