In my post 5 Ways To Eat Mindfully, we examined the importance of eating with loved ones and its impact on our sense of belonging and community. Today we’ll be looking at five ways to eat more socially to cultivate a feeling of connectedness and establish a more collective journey towards health.
1. Find A Work Lunch Buddy
Invite a coworker to eat lunch with you! Share your wellness journey with coworkers you think may be like-minded in this regard or at the very least open-minded to supporting you in your journey. You may find one lunch buddy to eat with every day, or rotate between several friends at work.
Having a couple work buddies can help make the office a more enjoyable experience (or at the very least, less soul sucking). If nothing else, at least you won’t have to eat your sad lunch at your desk alone! Trying to keep it upbeat, friends!
Create a fun lunch time ritual with your lunch buddy(ies)! This could include each person bringing a healthful snack to share during bag lunch days or picking which of your favorite health-conscious restaurants to go to at random out of a basket.
In addition to creating a support system for healthier living in your work environment, you may discover friends in individuals you previously overlooked. In sharing your own challenges in your journey, you may be the start of creating more wholesome and authentic working relationships!
2. Schedule Weekly Dinner Dates With Loved Ones
For some of us, it is not always possible to eat with loved ones who still have dysfunctional relationships with food if we are on a health conscious journey and are trying to break away from similar behaviors. In these cases, it may be beneficial to meet others who are like minded to us in this respect.
This is not to say we cannot associate with our loved ones, but rather to change the way in which we socialize with them for our own wellbeing. This could entail focusing more on social activities that do not involve food like doing a creative activity together.
Another way we can combat the challenges of eating friends and family who may not be as health-focused is to prepare the meals ourselves and invite them over. We can also choose to invite them out to restaurants that we know have plenty of healthful options for us. (Not sure how to start eating healthfully? Check out my post 7 Tips For How To Start Eating Healthy.)
If your loved ones are on board, challenge them to join your journey to wellness! Take turns preparing and cooking meals for one another or cook together for a more collaborative experience.
For those of you who have borderline obsessive behavior for how you like to prepare meals as I do, invite your loved ones to each prepare a dish. You can also swap recipes for your favorites at the end of the meal.
3. Meet More Health Conscious Friends (Or Awaken Your Existing Friends)
Let me first state that it is not possible to change anyone who does not willing want to change their lifestyle and habits. However, if you sense that a particular loved one is on the brink of beginning their own adventure towards wellness, you may be able to catalyze that change by sharing your own experiences!
This process require our own discernment and knowing our loved ones on an individual level. We must accept that our efforts to help someone to change may not be effective or even appreciated. Sharon may be open minded to developing a healthier relationship with food whereas Jeremy may be vehemently opposed to it.
It is up to us to know our loved ones well enough to understand where our help is wanted and appreciated and to recognize when our help is not welcome. Trying to change someone who is not ready or willing to change is not only ineffective, but it may also put stress on our relationships.
Sometimes, however, these changes are necessary for the individual’s health, and as their loved ones, we want to speak up on behalf of their wellbeing. If we decide that this is something we must do, not out of ego or condescension but out of genuine concern we have for the individual, we must be prepared to possibly damage or lose the relationship.
For many of us, rather than converting our existing loved ones to our wellness beliefs, it is more effective to meet others who are on a similar path. One way to meet more health conscious friends is to frequent places that these kinds of people may hang out. Not in a creepy stalker way of course – make sure these are places you are interested in exploring as well!
For example, I absolutely adore yoga. One way for me to meet more wellness focused friends would be to visit a yoga studio regularly and strike up conversations with people I find interesting. I also love frequenting the self-help section of Barnes and Noble (no shame here loves!). The next time I visit this section, I may strike up conversations with others browsing through the same material.
It is important for us to remember to stay patient, humble, and self-assured when we are in the process of meeting more like-minded individuals. The process can often be frustrating and sometimes disheartening, causing us to feel lonely and as if we do not have support on this important matter in our lives.
Remember that it takes time to build lasting relationships – platonic or romantic. We must learn to take rejection in stride and realize that not everyone will resonate with us and vice versa. Have faith and trust that the ones not meant for you will not stay and the ones meant for you will come with time! We must keep in mind that every good relationship begins with the relationship we have with ourselves.
4. Eat At Plant Based Restaurants Alone
This may sound counterintuitive, but even the practice of eating out alone can help us to feel more social as we are eating around other individuals who are focused on the same thing – wellness. When we explore new cuisines, we are expanding our minds and our experiences. This energy invites similar frequencies into our circle.
Having a few establishments that we frequent and becoming a “regular” has been shown to improve our sense of belonging in our communities. In time, perhaps you gather the nerve to ask that quirky vegan server or another friendly regular you like out on a friend date!
For those of us who may not have many friends to eat out with or even those of us who do, when we eat alone at health focused establishments, we show ourselves that we prioritize our wellness. Only by first feeling whole and satisfied within ourselves can we start to invite others to have a healthful, mutually beneficial relationship with us. Treat yourself, loveys!
5. Eat With Long Distance Pals Over The Internet
For many of us, our social lives may leave much to be desired. I know I personally have a small handful of people I consider friends, several of which are long distance friends I do not see often, or in some cases at all! In this global technology age, a wonderful perk is that you do not need to be close in physical proximity to develop a relationship with someone.
Set up a date over Skype, Facetime, or whatever platform works for you with friends who are long distance and commit to eating a meal together at a certain time. This can be meals you each prepared prior to your date or video chatting each other at restaurants. You can even video chat while preparing your meals together if you’re feeling creative and collaborative!
If you find yourself wanting to make more friends but struggle to do so in your current environment, try exploring some online communities. There is a plethora of online communities for every kind of interest imaginable!
Check out several communities and approach them with an open heart and curious mindset. Not sure where to start? Try googling some of your interests and type community at the end of your search, such as badminton community, gaming community, poop emoji community. Check out the existing communities on social platforms like your favorite YouTuber’s channel or Instagram account, or create your own community!
Whatever your jam is, there are bound to be a few people in our current human population of over 7 billion that resonates with you!
What do you think about eating socially? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!