We make appointments with the exterminator, with the dentist and to get the oil changed in our cars, so why not set aside regular times for socializing, which brings with it a host of perks for our health? “In our society, we place a lot of emphasis on work and getting things done,” says Dr. McKee. “But ultimately we need to value being with family members and friends more than sitting in front of a keyboard.” Why? According to oodles of research, limiting your social interactions can harm your health. “Social isolation is basically equivalent to the well-known risk factors for illness and early death: smoking, sedentary life, obesity and high blood pressure,” says Dr. McKee.
While birthdays and holidays are often built-in opportunities to be with family and friends, you need not have a reason to gather. In fact, a “just because” get-together removes the pressure of celebrating something and replaces it with being together for the sake of, well, being together. Life will no doubt get in the way, so instead of waiting for these opportunities to present themselves, take out your calendar right now and schedule “spend time with the people I love most.”