Loneliness is an emotion that comes from a lack of social connection. Making a permanent change of station (PCS) move often requires Marines and families to forge new social connections. Here are some strategies:
- PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE. Increase your opportunity for social connections. Go out in public places where you’re likely to interact with people who share your values and interests.
- VOLUNTEER FOR A CAUSE YOU CARE ABOUT. Volunteering leads to almost automatic connections to your community and the people you meet while helping others. Volunteers report feeling less stressed and having a more positive view of themselves and those around them. Contact your installation’s volunteer coordinator for opportunities in your area.
- FIND A MENTOR. Choose someone who has knowledge, attitudes, and skills that inspire you. Think about people who know a subject well or has experiences that interest you, they can be an excellent informal mentor. For Marines, informal peer mentoring can occur every day. For spouses, many organizations facilitate networking, such as Marine Corps Family Team Building, L.I.N.K.S, Blue Star Families, The Rosie Network, and The Milspo Project.
- FORGE CONNECTIONS AT WORK. Learn to get along with and work with everyone, appreciate differences, benefit from learning opportunities, and look for common interests to build closer ties at work.
- GET TO KNOW YOUR NEIGHBORS. Are you and your neighbors gardeners, cooks, crafters, DIYers, or book-lovers? To meet new people, visit local parks or community spaces, walk the neighborhood, reach out to neighborhood social media groups, attend community events, and join local groups or sports teams. Start now, search online for local groups organized around one of your hobbies or interests.
- CONNECT WITH YOURSELF. It is important to focus on your own good health and wellness. Practice mindfulness or try a guided meditation exercise for a few minutes each day.
- SEEK SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT. Consider that religion or spirituality can foster connectedness — to others, to one’s self, and to a higher power (for those traditions that acknowledge it) — experience intentional ways for connectedness with meditation, prayer, religious rites and rituals, and communal gatherings.
- MAINTAIN LONGTIME CONNECTIONS. Spend time with friends and family members—whether in person or virtually. Connectedness has more to do with the quality of our relationships, than the number and frequency of interactions.
- LET THE CHILDREN LEAD THE WAY. Your children might make friends before you do. Reach out to the parents of your children’s new friends, and you might find a natural connection. The Youth Sports program is a great way for kids to meet peers as well as parents to forge bonds with other parents.
- IF YOU’RE SINGLE, ATTEND A SINGLE MARINE PROGRAM (SMP) EVENT. Connect with like-minded Marines by participating in various volunteer activities or recreation events, from adventurous trips to video game tournaments.
Don’t expect connections to develop overnight. Build your social fitness through these and other practices because connectedness takes practice.