Social media can help take away some of the loneliness of life with AS and – as we have already discussed – it can provide a fantastic mutually-supportive community. However, sometimes you want it to be there in real life.
There’s no doubt that AS can be socially isolating. Your brain is saying ‘let’s go’ but your body is being more cautious and the more time you spend staying in, the harder it can become to go out. And you don’t need us to tell you how this can lead to a vicious circle of feeling blue and being physically stuck at home.1
We’ve already looked at how you can kick-start the mind back to more positive thoughts but what about a social life? From the contagious spread of happiness in social groups2 through to the heightening of pain thresholds during team training,3 plenty of studies have shown that group activities can give our personal wellbeing a boost.
So, if you want to do the things you love with people who share your passions or are simply ready to dip your toe back into a social life, where do you begin?
This is when the Meetup app can help.
182 countries, 32+million members
Also found online, Meetup brings people together in towns, cities and villages around the world. Born at a time when social media and online interactions were rapidly growing, the creators of Meetup recognized the importance of maintaining real-life social interactions. They created a simple platform on which people could create meetups around their favorite activities and advertise it to anyone else who shares their interest.4
600,000+ monthly Meetups
The app is easy to glide around, letting you explore the meetups and groups by interest, location or date. Big, bright buttons are kind on sore eyes. A notification section keeps you updated with events that match your personal interests, along with any messages that you receive from other members. When you find an event that you want to join, a simple tap moves it into ‘You’re going’. This area lets you keep track of everything you’ve signed up to and everything you have already done. The app also syncs with your iOS calendar and sends reminders about forthcoming meetups. Very convenient.
We also love the diversity of the groups out there. A quick search around the app and you can sign up for an evening of meditation, learn about gluten-free make-up, attend a careers workshop on blogging for beginners and even join a group for those with a passion for early 19th century photography and it’s great to know that a lot of the meetups are free!
There are also groups that are more specific to the AS community and managing everyday life. Some are dedicated to pain management, some offer fitness sessions specifically designed for staying mobile. There are monthly get-togethers for an Arthritis and Nutrition group, listings for support groups of the Spondylitis Association of America and Arthritis Ireland, and much, much more.
288,726 Meetup groups and counting
We believe it is important to get proactive and let AS in but don’t let it win. The Meetup app is a great aid to making this happen.
There’s no pressure to commit to weekly meetings. The relaxed-nature of the community means that you join as many groups as you like and opt-out of groups if you no longer want to go.
In keeping with the openness of the community, if you can’t find a group that sparks your interest or is too far away for you to travel to, you could even create your own.
So why not give it a go and see where Meetup takes you?
A social life that’s free to access
The Meetup app is available on iOS and Android. If you’re most interested in organized events near you, it’s also worth checking out Eventbrite (iOS /Android ) or, to check out what your friends are doing, try the Events function in the Facebook app (iOS /Android )
1. Jain J. J Assoc Physicians India 2015; 63 :21–28.
2. Fowler JH, Christakis NA. BMJ 2008; 337:a2338.
3.Cohen EE et al. Biol Lett 2010; 6:106–108.
4. Meetup: About. Available at: https://www.meetup.com/about Accessed September 2017.
This article was written by the resident experts at ThisASLife.com. A social site helping the whole AS community to: Learn. Share. Inspire. Discuss.