7 Ways To Connect With Your Community In The New Year

12 min read DEC 22, 2023

What goals are on your mind, heart, and checklist as we enter a new year?

Are you seeking to exercise more or lose weight? Do you plan to implement healthy sleep habits?

Are you planning to budget better; seeking to spend more time with loved ones?

Maybe you’re looking to connect with those in your local community?

While things like diet, exercise, and better budgeting seem to top the list of the most common resolutions at the beginning of any new calendar year, there are a variety of other habits and practices that are equally beneficial to your health and wellbeing, including the last goal mentioned in the list above - connection.

Connectivity plays a huge role in your mental health and total body wellness as it…

  • fosters a sense of belonging
  • promotes personal growth
  • builds confidence
  • improves self-esteem
  • strengthens your immune system
  • improves heart health

But unfortunately, on the opposite end of this health spectrum, a lack of community and connection is linked to greater instances of anxiety, high stress levels, depression, poor gut health, and more.

Of course, no one wants to add stress or anxiety to their lives, nor do any of us desire poor mental or gut health.

However, in today’s day and time connection seems to have become an increasingly difficult task.

Just consider the fact that many of us now work from home, and sending and receiving goods online versus in-person is a new norm as well.

Then, social media has often replaced gathering together, in-person, to chat. I mean, you can even “go to the doctor” without leaving your house due to the convenience of telehealth visits.

But, as we saw above, all this convenience may not be the best solution when it comes to our mental health and overall wellbeing.

So then, how can you, how can we all, get connected, especially within our local communities, as we begin this new year?

The Benefits Of Community And Connection

As humans, we are wired for connection. We weren’t made to do life all alone.

And, this is why lacking a sense of connection within a community can be detrimental to our health.

Studies have shown, especially in older adults, that social isolation contributes to an increased risk of the following:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Dementia
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Premature death (from all causes)

This is why it’s so important to get connected, to be a part of a community.

Simply stated, a community is a group of people who share common interests, passions, goals, even location.

And, stepping outside of your comfort zone…or your front door…can not only prompt connection, surrounding the passions you share with those around you, but it can also vastly improve your life and health.

Remember the list of common new year’s goals we shared at the beginning of this article? Being connected to others in your community can even help you achieve such goals!

When you share life with others in your community, this has been shown to promote healthy eating, physical activity, and weight loss. It has even been connected to improvements in sleep patterns as well as an overall better quality of life.

And apart from this, community connection, in and of itself, boasts great benefits to your body, mind, and spirit.

Researchers have found that when we engage with others, person-to-person, this prompts a needful response from our nervous system.

When you connect with others in your community, neurotransmitters within your brain are released, specifically those tasked with regulating stress and anxiety.

So, something as simple as getting involved in your local community can do wonders to reduce anxious thoughts and the compounding effects of stress.

Even better, as we continue to engage with others in this manner, this mixture of neurotransmitters that are released provide future protection against the negative effects of stress as well.

To show the power of community and connection - something as simple as a handshake or high five shared with a neighbor is powerful enough to release enough oxytocin to lower cortisol levels, thereby reducing stress and actually increasing your capacity and ability to trust others.

With that in mind, can you imagine what regular connection within your community can do in this same regard?

Then, as you interact socially with those in your community your body also produces more dopamine, and this has been proven to reduce pain levels and provide you with an overall feeling of happiness.

Your immune system is also strengthened when you connect with others, so much so that studies have shown those cancer patients with a social support system tend to “fare better” when undergoing chemotherapy than those without such a sense of community.

Community and connection can strengthen both your mind and your body, truly making it a whole body health need for all of us.

Happiness, healthy brain function, an overall healthy lifestyle, and increased lifespan are all associated with connectivity within a given community.

So then, let’s move on and explore some ways to foster such connections…

Seven Ways To Connect With Your Community

I suppose we could call these the seven S’s of community connection, especially for alliteration fans.

But, whether you enjoy a good grammar theme or not, the following seven tips include ways you can get involved in your local community - from reaching out to attending, volunteering, and even a little self-reflection, each of the tips below can help to foster friendships, promote personal growth, and ultimately allow you to build connections within those around you.

1- Stay Informed

Possibly the first means of getting involved is being informed.

I mean, how can you get connected if you don’t know what’s available or going on in your local community?

So, to learn of events, groups, meetings, and common interests within your neighborhood or city, plan to join social media groups, keep an eye out for informative mailers, flyers, and other advertisements, then utilize such information to aid in your quest for connectivity.

I have a friend who thoroughly enjoys art projects, but until the past few years, she’s simply worked out her creativity in her spare time at home.

A few years ago, however, she learned of, then took advantage of, a painting class, free to the public, at her local library.

That evening brought her so much joy, and I’d even say it changed her life as this event ignited the courage and interest within her to continue signing up for such community activities.

Since then she’s made many new friends, attends a variety of community events and classes, and has discovered new and exciting passions, resulting in an all-around happier life…and it all started with an intentional inquiry and desire to stay informed of those events happening around town.

2- Show Up

The friend I just mentioned, she did the healthy, connection-fostering thing upon learning about community events. And, I say that here to vulnerably show the opposite…see, I’m the type that sees advertisements for events in my town, and I often think to myself “I’d like to go to that, or I’d like to participate in this, or that sounds like it’s right up my alley,” only to never actually attend or get involved.

So, staying informed of community events is truly only half the battle.

Once you learn of festivals, classes, events, and opportunities for connection within your community, the next step is to do as my friend did and take action, showing up and attending such activities.

Practically speaking, we advise finding what interests you, what aligns with your passions, and then attend such groups, clubs, meetings, festivals, and/or events.

For example…

Looking to engage in more physical activity, find an exercise class nearby to join.

Do you have a passion for politics? Join a local group which aligns with your beliefs and convictions.

Moms of young children, maybe you can find a neighborhood group that meets for playdates.

Do you love handmade items? Attend a local craft fair or festival.

Just showing up at such planned interactions can allow you to meet others, build connections, create opportunities for greater growth, and provide you with a sense of community.

3- Share Your Time/Talents

Thus far, this list is fittingly building, one tip upon the next. So then, it only makes sense that after attending community events and activities to either initially, or soon after, start participating in such groups/meetings.

Within your local community, one way to connect is to find those avenues best suited to your personality, interests, and talents, then volunteer to either help or simply participate.

Maybe you can share your love of reading by volunteering at your local library? And, maybe this sharing of your time and talents can lead to other ways to get involved and stay connected in your community.

If you have a passion for helping others, seek to volunteer at your community food or clothing bank.

To sum it up, if you can positively impact your community in any way using your time or talents, this is a great way to begin your journey of connection.

4- Shop Local

How can shopping, grocery or otherwise, help you connect with your community?

Well, local entrepreneurs and business owners are great folks to chat with when it comes to community events, or at least I’ve found this to be true in my experience.

Local business owners are often aware of community happenings, and as you support their mission, you can not only learn of such events, but you can build connections with those individuals who are regularly investing in your community through their business as well.

We have a grass fed beef store in our town, and since I’ve been shopping there, not only am I regularly afforded the opportunity for engaging in conversation with the owners, I’ve also found that they’re seemingly always up to date on each and every event happening within the town.

5- Start A Club/Group

Attending festivals and community events sounds great and all, but what if you’re looking for smaller, more interest-specific groups?

Even worse, what if you’ve scoured the town resources and yet you’ve not found any or many groups, clubs, or organizations which align with your personal passions or interests?

Simple answer…start your own group!

Within your neighborhood or community, you can always start a club or group on your own. Or better yet, you can potentially find a friend and begin such an organization together.

And, if this sounds incredibly intimidating, let me just encourage you by saying…this certainly doesn't have to be complicated or elaborate.

Starting a new group or club within your community can be as simple as starting a walking club where folks can meet a few times a week to walk at the local park or throughout your subdivision/neighborhood.

Like to bake? Start a baking class or group that meets once a month to share recipes and prepare a meal or snack.

Want such a gathering to have a bit more purpose? Plan to meet, share, cook, and prepare a meal (or meals) for those in need in your community.

The subdivision I live in actually has a Facebook group. The admins of the group ensure anyone requesting to join actually lives in the neighborhood, then those members can share info and connect in the group.

Recently a family posted during the holidays and told of how they’d like to host a holiday party, inviting all to join, come, have fun, and connect.

Some families also utilized this group to host a community yard sale, and in the process many of these families met, collaborated, and connected to put on a huge neighborhood event.

The young mothers in this group often connect for playdates with their children, and some gentlemen have even met up to watch football games, all stemming from an open invitation for connection within this social media group meant for bringing members of our neighborhood together.

The possibilities are truly endless here!

As long as you have a desire to connect and share, you can start just about any type of group, invite like-minded/interested folks to join, and before you know it you’re building healthy relationships and connections over such shared interests and goals.

6- Strike Up A Conversation

Whether it’s with the cashier at your local grocery store or your neighbor, two doors down, whom you’ve never had the opportunity to meet, don’t be afraid to say “hello.”

Starting a conversation with those in your community can open doors, lead to connections, provide ways you can get involved, etc.

Maybe this means starting up a conversation with a neighbor who takes walks on the same route as you each day.

Perhaps this means chatting with someone in your community while waiting at the bus stop?

Or, maybe this looks more like showing up at your local chamber of commerce, inquiring in person about upcoming events.

Either way, great things can happen when we speak up, sparking conversation with those around us.

I feel like those days of knocking on your neighbor’s door to borrow a cup of sugar seem to be behind us, but maybe that’s not a good thing?

So, for the purpose of compassion and connection, seek to foster community within your neighborhood by simply getting to know your neighbors.

While you’re out walking the dog, take a step beyond your usual smile and wave, instead striking up a conversation with those around you. You never know how such a simple act can lead to greater things…for you personally, for your fellow community members, and for the good of the community at large.

7- Self Reflection

Lastly, or perhaps we could actually move this to the front of the list, is self-reflection.

While not an actual means of fostering community, self reflection is a crucial element of connection.

Why? Because when you’re self-connected, this allows you to more easily connect with others.

When you self-reflect, you’re essentially forcing yourself to, well…get to know you on a deeper level.

This then almost inevitably results in personal growth as it leads to a sense of clarity as it pertains to our true values and passions.

It also leads to a greater sense of compassion for others, perspective, emotional intelligence, better communication skills, the ability to think critically, and an overall improvement in the relationships you have with others in your life.

And, all of this can greatly aid you in reaching your goal of connection within your community.

Check out Lifeboost Coffee Embolden Dark Roast.

Headshot of Becky Livingston Vance
Becky Livingston Vance Content writer

Becky is a mother, educator, and content writer for Lifeboost Coffee. She has had three years’ experience as a writer, and in that time she has enjoyed creatively composing articles and ebooks covering the topics of coffee, health and fitness, education, recipes, and relationships.


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