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You can feel better by connecting – a problem shared is a problem halved.

Why connect?

Relationships help us during tough times. Relationships are vital to our wellbeing. 

When you’re feeling bad it’s tempting to pull the covers over your head and shut out the world. But it doesn’t actually help. It’s really important to stay connected to friends, whānau, school, work, nature and the world around you. It’s a fact that people who are connected, are more likely to be happy!

You don’t need masses of friends to be happy - it’s the quality of relationships that matters, not how many friends you have on Facebook or followers on Twitter. Traditionally, for Māori and Pasifika cultures, good health and wellbeing cannot be separated from connection through relationships – relationships are sacred, characterised by Pasifika values of ‘ofa, alofa, aro’a, aloha, aroha or love.

If we have negative thoughts about ourselves, others or our future, it’s time to gather those we love around us. That's when we really need our relationships and supportive people to connect with us. They can help remind us that those negative thoughts and messages are not true. They can boost our confidence and make sure we feel accepted and supported. Doing fun stuff with caring mates and family makes us feel better!

Don’t forget to go outside into the sun and connect with nature too. Spending time outside gives you much more than just a good change of scenery. It can help you relax and see things differently. Plus you’ll get a good dose of fresh air and vitamin D (if the sun’s shining), and a better night’s sleep.

When you’re experiencing nature it can take your mind off the things going on in your life because you’re absorbed in catching the next wave, enjoying the sun on your face or taking notice of the beauty that surrounds you. This is called mindfulness which is a really helpful tool for combating worrying thoughts. 

Aunty Dee’s tips for connecting

  • Aotearoa has everything you could want when it comes to the outdoors

You can head to the beach, bike in the bush, kick a ball, or just chill out in a park. Pick a place where you’ll feel safe and relaxed. If you’ve got a friend who could be up for a bit of nature, invite them along too. There’s no shortage of space.

  • Talk to friends and family about what’s going on for you

This may seem simple, but we know when you are not feeling great that communication can sometimes be tricky. Check out my tips for talking.

  • Volunteer to help others – helping others feel better makes you feel better
  • Connect in with your local church or youth group

Ki te kotahi te kākaho ka whati, ki te kāpuia, e kore e whati – ‘If there is but one toetoe stem it will break, but if they are together in a bundle they will never break’.