What's Your 'Third Place'?

I've been listening to Robb Wolf talking at the Thyroid Connection summit (it's free, but you have to sign up to watch the interviews) and I heard about him speaking about your 'third place'. Essentially the concept is that you have your work, you have your home and then you need a 'third place'. A place where you find community and companionship, that's light-hearted but also where you can get support when you are going through hard things.

It's interesting that he suggests that when you have a suitable 'third place' what you eat becomes less of a problem in terms of managing your thyroid function.

The problem most people have today is that the 'third place' has become pubs, clubs, and bars for far too many of us. Alcohol is a stressor, but it feels weird to meet your friends at a pub and not get a drink. Late nights are a stressor, but meeting friends early and leaving before 9pm is kind of weird and loads of bars aren't even open until evening. But it's hard, you feel really anti-social when you are turning down the fourth or fifth invitation from a friend because you are too tired to go, but evenings are a real struggle for your adrenal glands.

Robb's suggestion that works great for him is to get up super early, spend a little time with his kids (they get up at 5:45am - it made me thank the Lord for my little late sleepers!) then when his wife gets up he heads out and meets a few guys for breakfast once a week.

For a lot of us, Church can be a 'third place', but even then, the mid-week meetings often finish pretty late. I'm lucky to be on the worship rota for the evening service and I find it so helpful to have a slot where I'm regularly on that team. There's a great social aspect to meeting up and rehearsing, goofing around and praying with and for each other in the afternoon before the evening service; but if church for you is somewhere you attend on a Sunday and don't really talk to anyone during the week then it possibly doesn't count.

My husband's 'third place' is a group of guys that meet every two weeks and sit around a fire, and have a social and bible study time, but they also have a whatsapp group to keep connected through the week and support one another.

An exercise class can also be a great 'third place'. The pilates class that I used to attend had some really great ladies and the social chat time was short, but so life-giving, and everyone quickly becomes intimate when you are all beginners desperately trying to learn how to balance and hold your core. If you get in quickly I believe Johanna still has a few places left for this half term too.

It can be hard getting out when you have young kids, but join a toddler group if they are small, or meet someone for coffee after school drop off if they are a bit older.

The summary I guess is this, find your tribe. It's so important for your health. If you don't have one, create one. That might be car sharing for the school run, a breakfast club, the park run on a Saturday (it's super social and not competitive I promise!!), knitting group or whatever.

If you don't have one, and you are too scared to start one, why not try church? Even if you aren't a Christian, it's kind of their job to be welcoming and you don't have to believe in God to start hanging out with them.

Your health matters.
Look after it. 


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