The Art of Social Interaction as Self-Care

Most people imagine self-care as an act done in isolation. It’s easy to imagine that meditation, bathing, and mindfulness are all you need to live a healthy, happy life.

But, in reality, we are social animals that flourish when given the chance to interact with others. This is echoed by the CDC, which states that strong social connections can decrease the risk of dementia, stroke, depression, and anxiety.

Forming a strong bond with friends can empower you to make other changes in your life, too. Social support can improve your motivation to eat healthily, exercise regularly, and give up substances like alcohol. Getting out and making new friends can give your day structure and help you build a routine that you love, too!

Finding Friends

If you’ve recently moved or have been isolated for some time, you may not have a large social circle to support you. This is entirely normal, as many people experience a shrinking social circle when they leave school or university.

Fortunately, there are plenty of activities that will get you out in your community with folks that you can connect with. For example, if you want to see more of the great outdoors, you should consider looking for social opportunities that help you build an adventure friend group. Usually, this means you’ll want to connect with organizations that offer social opportunities:

  • Local nature classes
  • Public groups on social media
  • Community meet-up events like hikes and kayaking

When you attend these kinds of events, be open to trying new things but know what you want from a friendship. New experiences are a great way to broaden your horizons and learn new skills. However, you don’t want to accidentally sign up for an ultra-marathon training group if you just want to hang out and enjoy some informal hiking. Establish a few goals before you attend, as these will help you find your people and set boundaries with existing friends.

Setting Boundaries

Social interactions can improve your mood and promote better physical health. However, you may find that spending too much time with friends and family depletes your batteries and leaves you feeling exhausted. This can be a real challenge if you’re trying to create a healthier relationship with yourself and want to spend more time on self-care.

Supercharge your social interactions and make the most out of your free time by establishing clear boundaries. Setting healthy boundaries will ensure that you’re excited to spend time with others and will help you rest and recover when your social energy is running low.

Try to set boundaries proactively when possible. Making yourself unavailable at certain times is entirely understandable and true friends will understand your desire for some alone time. This can prevent resentment and help you build a better relationship with your friend or family member. There are plenty of different types of boundaries you can set, too, including:

  • Time-based boundaries
  • Material boundaries
  • Intellectual boundaries
  • Emotional boundaries

If someone fails to respect your boundaries, try to let them know that they have overstepped. Oftentimes, folks don’t realize they’ve encroached and will be apologetic. If it happens repeatedly, it may be a good idea to start limiting contact and finding new friends to spend time with.

Socializing on a Budget

Social interactions often come with a price tag. This can become stressful quickly if you’re constantly running up a tab on nights out and weekend activities. Rather than spending all your expendable income on social events, try to reduce your spending and bring balance to your budget and social life by:

  • Setting a weekly social spending limit
  • Save up for bigger social events like weddings and birthdays
  • Find free activities like home movie nights and potlucks

These tips will reduce your spending and increase the amount of quality time you spend with your social circle. If you’re still struggling to save, consider speaking to your friends about money. This can feel like a social taboo at first, but they are likely feeling the squeeze, too. Talking about spending can alleviate the pressure you feel to go on nights out and reduce your risk of overspending.

Family-Friendly Activities

If you’re a busy parent, you may struggle to find time for self-care. This is understandable, as raising children could easily be a full-time job. As such, you may want to consider family-friendly wellness activities that help you socialize with friends while you can keep an eye on the kids. Examples of family-friendly activities include:

  • Nature walks
  • Swimming
  • Cooking dinner together
  • Yoga classes

If you do invite friends along, be clear that you’re planning to bring the kids, too. Most folks will be glad to spend time with you and the kids but should still have the opportunity to opt-out. Instead, make time for these friends at a later date when you know you have some parental cover. This will show that you care about the relationship without undermining your ability to care for your children.


Socialization is an important part of self-care. If you’re struggling to make friends, consider signing up for group activities like hiking clubs in your area. This will help you meet like-minded people and reduce any awkwardness when trying to break the ice. If you already have a large social circle, consider setting some firm boundaries to protect your mental health and ensure you have enough time for rest and recovery.


  1. Centers for Disease Control: “How Does Social Connectedness Affect Health?
  2. Stanley: “How To Create & Maintain an Outdoor Adventure Group
  3. BetterHelp: “How To Set Boundaries With Friends — and When To Do It
  4. Edvisors: “How to Balance Your Budget and Social Life