Here are five ways to create more social engagement in your life. Every month, schedule one activity that falls under each of these categories. You will consistently have five events to look forward to and a concrete way to remain social, which is an important pillar of longevity.
- Schedule one day per month to volunteer. Doing so increases social engagement and supports your community. Giving back can also raise your personal happiness level.
- Choose one place to commit to monthly or a different volunteer activity each month. Either is fine!
- Consider lending time to your local food bank, animal shelter, library, nursing home, or check in with a community center to find volunteer opportunities near you.
2. Attend a Workout Class
- If you typically exercise at a gym, outdoors, or at home, you likely engage in physical activity without communicating with anyone else. Any way you incorporate fitness into your weekly routine is great. However, attending a group workout class once a month makes exercise social. Group fitness classes can be interactive, fun, and a great way to try something new and meet new people.
- Many gyms offer deals, like a free first class or a discounted rate. Also, try an app, such as ClassPass, which allows you to buy credits that can be used at various locations. Check out hot yoga, cycling, tai chi, dance, water aerobics – whatever looks interesting to try.
3. Visit a Local Farmers Market or Community Fair
You may be missing out on community activities you’re not aware of. Check websites like Eventbrite to find cultural fairs, art walks, public concerts, markets, and more near you.
4. Go to a Restaurant
- If you follow a plant-based diet and find dining out difficult, keep in mind that non-eating social events occur at restaurants too.
- Restaurants and bars often host trivia or open mic nights, sporting event viewing parties, and bingo. Some may offer darts, bowling, arcade games, fowling (football bowling), curling, table tennis, billiards, shuffleboard, chess, backgammon, or pickleball.
- If you feel the need to eat something when you go to an event, consider snacking beforehand and order a plant-based side or a non-caloric beverage, like tea or sparkling water.
5. Join a League or Take a Class
- There are numerous group classes to take, like painting, knitting, crocheting, pottery making, woodworking, sailing, origami, healthy cooking, guitar, and more. Take a class to try something new or rekindle an old hobby. Often there are single class options, or you can take a series if you’re interested in learning more or mastering a skill.
- Join a walking, running, or cycling club or a league, like pickleball, tennis, golf, basketball, softball, volleyball, tennis, flag football, or dodgeball. Check your local community center or YMCA for options.
Create an ongoing checklist to keep yourself socially engaged. If five activities per month feels too overwhelming schedule them over two or three months to start. Simply committing to more social engagement may help you make new friends and enhance both your physical and mental well-being.