Cultures and communities have survived throughout history through the strength of the community. The holiday season means time with family for many, however, community includes friends and work too. The challenge is that the quality of a community comes from the quality of our relationships. This is where it gets tricky because it starts with the relationship we have with ourselves; however, our relationship with ourselves is impacted by the relationships we have with others. 


When I studied mind-body-social health, we looked at trauma, and its connection with belonging to a community to feel safe. The essential shift is that Maslow’s hierarchy of needs being food on the table and shelter are not the primary danger to our survival; being outside of the community is. In our modern life, where many live separate from family, our work has become that community.

Over the years I have see the need for the emotional and psychological safety that comes from inclusion and belonging as a key factor in a self-care growth mindset. When we don’t feel seen and heard, we feel excluded from the community and end up not feeling that we matter, including to ourselves; we stop looking for ways to grow.

When we don’t feel we contribute and are important in the context of the whole, we lose motivation. To soothe the pain of separate-ness, and the heartache of not belonging, we can fall into the trap of numbing the pain with too much food, alcohol, work, and TV, especially during the Holidays when many feel isolated, alone or struggling with social anxiety during holiday parties. 

Read the full article here.

Originally published on December 14, 2023 on