Welcome to the latest in our series of bitesize blogs containing quick tips and ideas to help you build resilience and boost wellbeing.

Connecting with others through strong, supportive and reciprocal relationships is a cornerstone of resilience and wellbeing. When we experience stress, pressures, or challenges we are biologically programmed to seek out the care and support of someone we trust.

Sharing our concerns or fears with loved ones or trusted friends helps to calm sympathetic nervous system arousal, buffering us against stress. This allows us to think more clearly, analyse problems and find solutions to the difficulties we are facing.

Although our ability to communicate and interact with others has been severely restricted during recent times, many of us have found ways to give and receive support nonetheless. Motivated by a powerful urge to connect, we have sought the support of a friend or colleague because these relationships are crucial to our wellbeing and recovery.

That’s why Relate have launched Relationships Week. This campaign, aimed at “bringing together voices from across the UK to highlight the importance of healthy relationships in our lives”, focuses on celebrating the relationships that have helped us through the COVID-19 pandemic.

You can take part in Relationship Week from 20-26 July by sharing your #RelationshipRocks – those people, family, friends, partners, or colleagues who have been your rocks – on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Or maybe take some time this week to just reflect on your positive relationships. What it is about them that makes you feel good and helps you build positivity and wellbeing? You might want to take this opportunity to reflect on your main sources of support and care by considering the following questions:

  • How do you gain support, and from whom?
  • How do you offer support and to whom?
  • Is there a good balance of giving and receiving?
  • Is there space for you both to express your thoughts and feelings?
  • Do they accept and value things about you, and you them?
  • Can they see things from your perspective without judgement and vice versa?

Remember strong social relationships help to calm us in a crisis, to think clearly, to innovate and to celebrate successes.

If you found this helpful and would like to read more bitesize tips, check out some of the other blogs in this series. You might also like to join our Facebook group UR Resilient, where members are busy sharing creative and inspiring ideas for staying positive during this challenging time.