As you probably know, July’s wellbeing challenge is based around being more social (if not, take a peek at Sasha’s post. This is an enormous challenge in a culture where it’s so easy to see your friends lives online and post your own in a couple of seconds, without so much as a hello. It’s crazy how proper conversations and connections are replaced with ‘pokes’, ‘likes’ and ‘retweets’. However, this is no way to build a solid relationship. We need to take time out, silence all the distractions around us and listen to one another.

I’m a huge believer in ‘dull quality time’ – spending time with people, not necessarily doing anything exciting, but being able to be around them. Some of my favourite times of being with other people are going around the shops together, because “I need to pick this up for my mum, and then if we go and get some lined paper.” Or visiting friends and cooking dinner together (even if it’s just heating up a pizza). Getting out and being social doesn’t have to be hard work - you don’t need to have a heart-to-heart with all your old friends to let them know how you are doing and maintain the relationship (unless you want to). It’s making the initial effort, the five seconds of courage to say “Do you want to meet up?” or “Can I call you for a natter?”. Even if you’re not brave enough to do that, take a couple of minutes to message and encourage the people around you. It doesn’t take long to notice awesome things people are doing if you are looking for it. And it means the world to receive a spontaneous text which lets you know you are appreciated.

Slowly, I’m trying to put the ‘Social’ back in social media. I’m not great, and it’s so easy to ‘like’ everything and hope that counts as showing appreciation. But I’m trying to message people with more encouraging things than “Hi, how are you?” and trying to organise my time so I can spend it more generously on those people who I care about, rather than wasting it scrolling through the comments. I’m trying to reconnect with those great friends who became Facebook friends, and then got forgotten about (sorry guys).

I went to an event where the speaker was talking about how lack of relationships leads to poverty, whether it be physical, mental, spiritual or financial. This clip explains it in a little bit more detail. We build walls between ourselves, poor and rich, able and unable, them and us. Let’s break down the walls, stop isolating ourselves and invest in the people around us. The relationships we make break down barriers and can change the world. If that doesn’t motivate you to be slightly more sociable, then I’m not sure what will J

For how Kieran is getting on with the July Social Wellbeing Challenge visit here.

This post was written by Rebekah Bacon, one of our amazing Phase volunteers.