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It's not easy making friends as an adult. Here's how you can get better at it.

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A lot of things about being an adult are hard, but one of the hardest is making new friends.

It's not like back in school where you were practically forced into social situations every day. It was much easier to make a friend just by hanging out at recess or eating at the same lunch table complaining over last night's homework.

Photo via iStock.


Once you're out in the world, most of your time interacting with other people is limited to work. And if you work from home, those interactions are curtailed down to video conferences.

What's worse is that, thanks to the internet, we've gotten lax about forming relationships in real life because it seems like we already have a bunch of friends online. Those "friendships," however, can easily devolve into nothing more than peripheral acquaintances you only interact with by liking or commenting on their posts.

This isolated existence — where very few relationships are cultivated offline — seems to plague millennials most of all.  It's why they're often called "the loneliest generation," which is way more dangerous than it sounds. Studies have shown that loneliness has a mortality rate that's on par with smoking. It causes depression and anxiety to spike, taxing the body as much as the brain.

It's even worse if you're an extrovert, because extroverts feed off the energy of other people. When you don't get that regularly, you're left depleted.

Photo via iStock.

What can you do if you're feeling lonely but don't have a clue how to make new friends? Ask therapist and YouTuber Kati Morton.

Kati is a licensed therapist who's been creating mental health videos for YouTube with the help of her video producer husband since 2011.

She became interested in psychology because she's always been fascinated by human relationships and communication. In fact, that's why she started going to therapy herself as a teenager — to learn how to better communicate with her family. And her respect for sharing feelings only grew as she studied psychology in school.

"You realize people do have the power to change and control how they respond versus react to things," says Morton. "I think that’s really empowering."  

It's no surprise that several of her videos focus on how to connect with others and open up.

[rebelmouse-image 19477192 dam="1" original_size="700x394" caption="Image via Kati Morton/YouTube." expand=1]Image via Kati Morton/YouTube.

Morton says she's seeing more and more patients struggling with in-person connections because they don't know how to initiate them. She recalls one guy commenting, "I try to engage with people, but when I go out, I find it difficult because everyone’s on their phone."

Sound familiar? Smartphones enable us to put up walls without even realizing it — which, in turn, cuts us off from forming new, meaningful relationships, platonic or otherwise.

Morton's advice for how to break through all these barriers might sound counterintuitive, but it really does work: You have to turn your attention to yourself first.

"You need to figure out what’s important to you and who you are first, and what kinds of people you want in your life, before you go out looking for friends," explains Morton.

Say that, for work, you have to move to a new city where you know absolutely no one. You might feel compelled to go out and make friends with the first people you meet. However, if they're not people you truly resonate with, you could end up feeling even more lonely than before.

Once you feel like you have a clear idea of what's important to you, get out there and find a group that speaks to your interests.

Photo via iStock.

Morton suggests checking out the MeetUp app, which connects people via a number of different group activities. It's available in most cities and lists new events every day.

If you don't happen to live near a city that offers it, check and see if there are community activity boards (online or in-person) for your area and sign up for something that sounds fun. If you like to run and have a dog, you might sign up for a dog-walking group and meet someone in your neighborhood who loves to binge-watch the same TV shows you do. Boom — friendship!

Taking this first step might feel particularly daunting if you have social anxiety, but remember, there are other people joining these groups who are just as nervous. It's certainly not as easy as joining an online forum, but it can lead to friendships and experiences that are infinitely more rewarding.

"Make a commitment and go," urges Morton. "It’s hard, and I find that’s where people tend to drop off, but with a little effort, we can make change."

And that change can add up to a whole host of emotional and physical benefits. Several studies have shown that maintaining close friendships helps us be smarter, healthier, and less stressed, especially later in life.

For people who really struggle with socializing, Morton suggests therapy — but only as a temporary stepping stone.

[rebelmouse-image 19477194 dam="1" original_size="700x341" caption="Image via Kati Morton/YouTube." expand=1]Image via Kati Morton/YouTube.

Therapy is not a crutch to lean on when things get hard; it's about acquiring tools so you can learn better ways of coping and reacting to things. It's one of the reasons Morton has a 24/7 chat on her website where members of her online community can reach out and help each other instead of relying only on professional help.

And the tool really works: Members have formed meaningful friendships online and have even flown across the world for various get-togethers. While some go on elaborate vacations, others who've relocated to a different city might just meet up to solidify a new friend base.

Whatever their goal, they're stepping outside of their comfort zones and learning to savor moments with people in real life. It might take some effort — but life's most rewarding endeavors always do.

For a more comprehensive look at making friends as an adult, check out Morton's video:

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10 anti-holiday recipes that prove the season can be tasty and healthy

Balance out heavy holiday eating with some lighter—but still delicious—fare.

Albertson's

Lighten your calorie load with some delicious, nutritious food between big holiday meals.

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The holiday season has arrived with its cozy vibe, joyous celebrations and inevitable indulgences. From Thanksgiving feasts to Christmas cookie exchanges to Aunt Eva’s irresistible jelly donuts—not to mention leftover Halloween candy still lingering—fall and winter can feel like a non-stop gorge fest.

Total resistance is fairly futile—let’s be real—so it’s helpful to arm yourself with ways to mitigate the effects of eating-all-the-things around the holidays. Serving smaller amounts of rich, celebratory foods and focusing on slowly savoring the taste is one way. Another is to counteract those holiday calorie-bomb meals with some lighter fare in between.

Contrary to popular belief, eating “light” doesn’t have to be tasteless, boring or unsatisfying. And contrary to common practice, meals don’t have to fill an entire plate—especially when we’re trying to balance out heavy holiday eating.

It is possible to enjoy the bounties of the season while maintaining a healthy balance. Whether you prefer to eat low-carb or plant-based or gluten-free or everything under the sun, we’ve got you covered with these 10 easy, low-calorie meals from across the dietary spectrum.

Each of these recipes has less than 600 calories (most a lot less) per serving and can be made in less than 30 minutes. And Albertsons has made it easy to find O Organics® ingredients you can put right in your shopping cart to make prepping these meals even simpler.

Enjoy!

eggs and green veggies in a skillet, plate of baconNot quite green eggs and ham, but closeAlbertsons

Breakfast Skillet of Greens, Eggs & Ham

273 calories | 20 minutes

Ingredients:

1 (5 oz) pkg baby spinach

2 eggs

1 clove garlic

4 slices prosciutto

1/2 medium yellow onion

1 medium zucchini squash

1/8 cup butter, unsalted

1 pinch crushed red pepper

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

bow of cauliflower ham saladGet your cauliflower power on.Albertsons

Creamy Cauliflower Salad with Ham, Celery & Dill

345 calories | 20 minutes

1/2 medium head cauliflower

1 stick celery

1/4 small bunch fresh dill

8 oz. ham steak, boneless

1/2 shallot

1/4 tspblack pepper

1/4 tsp curry powder

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1/4 tsp garlic powder

3 Tbsp mayonnaise

1/8 tsp paprika

2 tsp red wine vinegar

1/2 tsp salt

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

tofu on skewers on a plate with coleslawPlant-based food fan? This combo looks yums. Albertsons

Grilled Chili Tofu Skewers with Ranch Cabbage, Apple & Cucumber Slaw

568 calories | 20 minutes

1 avocado

1/2 English cucumber

1 (12 oz.) package extra firm tofu

1 Granny Smith apple

3 Tbsp (45 ml) Ranch dressing

1/2 (14 oz bag) shredded cabbage (coleslaw mix)

2 tsp chili powder

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp salt

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

frittata in a cast iron skilletSometimes you just gotta frittata.Albertsons

Bell Pepper, Olive & Sun-Dried Tomato Frittata with Parmesan

513 calories | 25 minutes

6 eggs

1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted

2 oz Parmesan cheese

1 red bell pepper

1/2 medium red onion

8 sundried tomatoes, oil-packed

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

1/4 tsp salt

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

plate with slices of grilled chicken and a caprese saladCaprese, if you please.Albertsons

Balsamic Grilled Chicken with Classic Caprese Salad

509 calories | 25 minutes

3/4 lb chicken breasts, boneless skinless

1/2 small pkg fresh basil

1/2 (8 oz pkg) fresh mozzarella cheese

1 clove garlic

3 tomatoes

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

4 3/4 pinches black pepper

1 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

3/4 tsp salt

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

four stuffed mushrooms on a plateThese mushrooms look positively poppable.Albertsons

Warm Goat Cheese, Parmesan & Sun-Dried Tomato Stuffed Mushrooms

187 calories | 35 minutes

1/2 lb cremini mushrooms

1 clove garlic

1/2 (4 oz) log goat cheese

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

2 sundried tomatoes, oil-packed

1 1/4 pinches crushed red pepper

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp Italian seasoning

2 pinches salt

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

plate with open English muffin with goat cheese and sliced baby tomatoes on topMove over, avocado toast. English muffin pizzas have arrived.Albertsons

English Muffin Pizzas with Basil Pesto, Goat Cheese & Tomatoes

327 calories | 10 minutes

3 Tbsp (45 ml) basil pesto

2 English muffins

1/2 (4 oz) log goat cheese

1/2 pint grape tomatoes

3/4 pinch black pepper

2 pinches salt

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

pita pocket on a plate filled with veggies, meat and cheeseThis pita pocket packs a colorful punch.Albertsons

Warm Pita Pocket with Turkey, Cheddar, Roasted Red Peppers & Parsley

313 calories | 20 minutes

1/4 (8 oz) block cheddar cheese

1/2 bunch Italian (flat-leaf) parsley

4 oz oven roasted turkey breast, sliced

1/2 (12 oz) jar roasted red bell peppers

1 whole grain pita

3/4 pinch black pepper

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

2 tsp mayonnaise

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

plate with toast smeared with avocado and topped with prosciuttoDid we say, "Move over, avocado toast?" What we meant was "Throw some prosciutto on it!" Albertsons

Avocado Toast with Crispy Prosciutto

283 calories | 10 minutes

1 avocado

2 slices prosciutto

2 slices whole grain bread

1 5/8 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1/8 tsp garlic powder

1/8 tsp onion powder

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

bowl of chili with cheese and green onions on topVegetarian chili with a fall twistAlbertsons

Black Bean & Pumpkin Chili with Cheddar

444 calories | 30 minutes

2 (15 oz can) black beans

1/2 (8 oz ) block cheddar cheese

2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes

2 cloves garlic

2 green bell peppers

1 small bunch green onions (scallions)

1 (15 oz) can pure pumpkin purée

1 medium yellow onion

1/2 tsp black pepper

5 7/8 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp cumin, ground

1 tsp salt

1 Tbsp virgin coconut oil

Find full instructions and shopping list here.

For more delicious and nutritious recipes, visit albertsons.com/recipes.

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