Sometimes you just need to force yourself to be with other people. When we are feeling down or unmotivated, it’s easy to exist in our own little worlds. You shut people out, you neglect activities, or out of fear or discomfort, never form new friendships or relationships.

I started to feel this way recently. I had previously been so socially and locally active with athletics, volunteer activities and freelance work, I never had time to think about being bored or not getting enough “people juice.”

Enter pregnancy. Not to dwell on that, but it was the stage in my life where things changed rather dramatically. At the exact same time I became pregnant (and very, very sick every day), I changed to a new, very different a job. My new job took me away from people and I began working in much more solitude. I dropped my freelance work to focus on the new job and lost my social athletic activities thanks to my back issues and being sick.

My social space changed dramatically very quickly — and it was depressing. I felt bored and began longing for the people factor in my life. Of course I have a good foundation — a great husband and some wonderful, long term friends. But my daily buzz of people juice was running severely low.

That didn’t mean it was easy to change. It took some conscious decisions — and is still in the works. I joined a small group at church, which has been a really great new dose of people in my life. By the way, one really fast and easy way to make new friends, join a church small group! Then, I ramped back up my workouts and got myself back into classes. Even if I don’t talk to anyone at class, just being around other people working out get me going.

I’ve also been trying to make more social plans and even take a couple of summer trips that weren’t planned — even though I don’t feel like it — because I know I’ll be glad I did it later. It’s so easy to feel lethargic and unmotivated — but you have to make yourself get a move on to get out of the rut. I’m not really accustomed to this feeling so when it struck, I felt blindsided and…kind of sad.

Being around other people — and really conversing with them & committing quality time with them especially — gives you perspective and helps you realize you aren’t the only person in the whole world that struggles with one thing or another. It takes the focus off yourself and often times, can truly lift you out of a dark day.

The other day I almost didn’t got to my small group because I was feeling down but I was so glad I went…it ended up being a great conversation that made me feel better. We need to give ourselves those opportunities instead of shutting them down because of bad moods. I’d say, the time we most need to be with others is when a bad mood strikes. It’s the perfect time to focus on something — and someone — else. Even when it’s awkward or not exactly what we think we want to do, it’s important to give PEOPLE a chance.

If you’re in a rut, find a way to introduce new people into your life. Yes, it can be awkward at first, but that’s part of life. Be open and patient and you just never know what kind of light may come beaming in.  You know what they say…if you want a friend, be a friend. Not easy but certainly something to strive for.

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