by Eliza Khinsoe
Registered Dietitian at The Well Garden
The last couple of years have been tough on all of us. Through our isolation we’ve been forced to become very self reliant, and many of us have fallen into holding patterns that, while they help us cope, they might not allow us to move forward and heal.
When stuck in these patterns, where do you turn? Some of us look inwards, identifying the problem and finding self driven solutions. We might lean on habits to soothe ourselves, developed long ago. Perhaps we look to our lifestyles, shifting our patterns of sleep, movement or eating, or making a bigger change to our relationships, housing or career. Or we might turn to the people around us that know and care for us, family and friends. But if these people don’t know exactly what you’re going through, or have a lot on their own plate, they might not be able to offer you compassion, understanding or advice.
One tool that is often overlooked is the power of community. Humans are social beings; we rely on those around us to give us structure, meaning and support. But over the last couple of years, we’ve been increasingly cut off from our people. Now-days it’s not often that we actively seek out community – people who, although they might be strangers, share parts of our identities, experiences and challenges, and come together with a dedicated purpose.
But when we find these spaces, something magic happens. By coming into a group of likeminded people, we see our own experiences mirrored in others, the stories we tell ourselves are shed in new light and perspective, and we’re able to find understanding and growth. Being around others in a dedicated space normalises our experiences, and does wonders for protecting us from stigma and shame. It allows us to speak, move and exist openly and without fear of judgement, finding common ground and proving to us that we are not alone.
We are all unique, and when we come together these differences help us think creatively as a collective. We suddenly have an abundance of knowledge at our fingertips, and we’re able to share our experiences, ideas and energy with one another, to create a supportive environment for acceptance, compassion and positive change. Coming together as a community gives us a vital resource for healing; hope.
It can be challenging to find community, even intimidating or overwhelming at times, particularly in wellbeing spaces where trust and openness is part of the process. A community is created by its members; your presence is what makes it special, and your being there is just as valuable as the person next to you. And lucky for you, the wonderful team at The Well Garden has done the hard work of creating dedicated space for us to come together, all you need to do is show up.