July 21st, 2019

Viva Vitality: Get to know your neighbours

By Laura Lukye on July 11, 2019.

laura.lukye@ahs.ca

Our lives have become so busy, we don’t take the time to get to know our neighbours.

We talk a lot about neighbourhood and community, but did you know that almost half of Canadians don’t even know their neighbours, according to an Angus Reid/Cardus survey?

Have we lost our connections with each other? We all know the value of needing one another and the importance of community, but rarely are we taking action on this. We have become so secluded within in our immediate family we aren’t seeking connection with the bigger neighbourhood.

Getting to know your neighbourhood helps create a sense of belonging and trust in your area. It helps strengthen connections and trust in our communities, and in turn creates a healthy, happier community for all.

Getting to know your neighbour whether it’s the person who lives next door or the person standing next to you has all sorts of mental, physical and emotional benefits.

There isn’t an art to getting to know your neighbours – it’s actually quite simple. Get back to the basics:

1. Find an opportunity: Be the first to say hello; introduce yourself

2. Block party: Many communities are hosting block parties to get their communities together. Check your community and see if this is available. If not, host your own, invite neighbours and see how fast friendships grow

3. Join a group: Join a local organization. This is one of the easiest ways to find like-minded people and build a sense of community

4. Get out and explore: Most communities have parks, community centers and activities going on. Try to get out to local activities and get involved in the community

In communities where neighbours know each other, they typically stick together and watch out for one another. As you get to know your neighbours, you’ll be investing in the safety, security and sense of community surrounding your home and creating a healthier, happier community for everyone.

It can be tough to move outside of our boxes, but you don’t need to do much to get to know your neighbour; just a wave and smile can make a big difference.

Laura Lukye is a health promotion facilitator with Alberta Health Services. She can be reached via email laura.lukye@ahs.ca

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