Happy July! July is an important month for a couple of reasons; for instance, it’s Independence Day and Social Wellness Month. Social wellness plays a vital role in our overall health and wellbeing through the development of healthy interpersonal relationships.
Social wellness is defined as “the ability to interact and form meaningful relationships with others.” Having a support system provides:
- Healthier levels of heart and blood pressure
- Healthier endocrine system
- Healthier cardiovascular functioning
- Enhances the immune system’s ability to fight off infectious diseases.
To name a few…
Whenever we face obstacles or challenges in our lives, we lean on our support system – the people in our social circles – for reassurance or to share a safe space to let out any hardships we may be facing. The COVID-19 pandemic forced many of us into isolation – cut off from our social circles, which have impacted mental health globally.
KPG Healthcare understands the importance of social wellness and how that correlates to mental health. So, we want to provide ways to get your social wellness up and running now that we are returning to a sense of normalcy.
Self-care is a great place to start improving your social wellness. Building relationships with others don’t begin until you create a healthy relationship with your own body and mind.
Self-care is an opportunity to get to know yourself, give your body what it needs and destress from the day-to-day. What self-care is to you can mean something different for someone else. There isn’t one way to self-care. Self-care can come in many shapes and forms including:
- Getting enough sleep
- Eating a balanced diet
- Arts & crafts
- Video games
- Plant or horticulture
- Cooking or baking
Important reminder: Never be afraid or ashamed of your self-care.
In most relationships, the first step to building one is reaching out and offering your friendship. Easier said than done?
Relationships being when we were born and through the years of schooling, we make friendships along the way. Finding them on social media and sending them a message is one way of rekindling that relationship. Even catching up face-to-face or grabbing coffee shows the effort and the value you see in the relationship. If you’re a working professional and want to find new people to be friends with, head to a social club or join a group within your interests.
There are more ways to expose yourself to new people with different perspectives such as traveling or volunteering abroad. Traveling or volunteering abroad enables us to develop new social and interpersonal skills as we trek countries solo or making new friends along the way. It’s an opportunity to break out of any “shells” and push us to try new things.
Now that you’ve begun reconnecting with old friends or started finding new ones, it’s time to focus on nurturing those relationships.
Friendships can fade in and out when neither party makes an effort, but it takes only one to keep it going. Making time or planning meet-ups with friends means making a commitment to that relationship and keeping it by not canceling last minute. There are many ways we can nurture relationships and it can be through small acts such as:
- Actively listening
- Showing appreciation
- Having constructive conversations
- Participating in activities
There’s plenty of opportunities to nurture relationships – big and small – and by doing it improves your social wellness, which in turn improves your mental health.
One of the most important aspects of building, maintaining and developing a relationship is communication.
Communicating is a skill that can be refined and improved through observation and conversational practice. Speaking doesn’t always come easy for some individuals, so it’s important to remember to practice patience when engaging with those who may lack confidence. Communication is more than just speaking and practicing these skills can help anyone:
- Maintaining good eye contact with the person speaking to you
- Actively listening and allowing others to speak
- Pausing to think about a response – not too quick to speak
- Body language – arm placement, facial expressions and body positioning
Social wellness is an aspect of our health we are constantly working on throughout our lives. It’s always important to remember not to take any relationship for granted. Remind yourself of the value of each relationship you build. Your physical and mental health will improve significantly and so will your quality of life.
Here are some resources to improve social wellness: