[Wellness Wednesday] Let’s Talk About Social Wellness

Wellness Wheel from https://www.samhsa.gov/wellness-initiative/eight-dimensions-wellness with text overlay: Wellness Wednesday! https://reclaiminghope.blog

Welcome back to Wellness Wednesday! This week, let’s take a look at the Social dimension of wellness.

PrintWhat Is The Social Dimension Of Wellness?

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (authors of the wellness wheel pictured above) define social wellness as, “developing a sense of connection, belonging, and a well-developed support system.

The University of California, Riverside adds that it “refers to one’s ability to interact with people around them. It involves using good communications skills, having meaningful relationships, respecting yourself and others, and creating a support system that includes family members and friends.”

Why Is It Important?

Sometimes we tend to undervalue the social dimension of wellness, but it’s critical to our overall wellness. We don’t exist in a vacuum, and we have to depend on others in some capacity pretty much every day. Good communication skills. treating others with respect, and forming meaningful relationships are key to optimal wellness.

Relationships are work, there’s no doubt about that, but we are social creatures, and we are much better together than we are in isolation.

When I worked with weight-loss clients, one of the key predictors of success was whether they had a supportive social network (family and friends). If they had no outside support, they were not as likely to succeed with their weight-loss goals. That’s not to say they couldn’t succeed, but the success rate was much higher for people who had a support system in place.

Building a support system for ourselves and being part of a support system for others can help us live a healthier, more fulfilling, and possibly longer life.

Florida river with text overlay: "No one can live without relationship..."Jiddu Krishnamurti https://reclaiminghope.blogHow Do We Improve Our Social Wellness?

So what are some ways we can improve our social wellness?

  • Intentionally plan time with family and friends. How many times have you said, “Let’s go out for coffee sometime” and never followed through with it? I know I’ve been guilty of that many times. In fact, my friend and I just went for coffee this morning after saying that for about two months. We really did want to get together, but because we weren’t intentional about setting a date, it took us forever to get around to it.
  • Join groups who are engaged in an activity or cause you enjoy or believe in. Getting involved with people who are passionate about the same thing you are can be a springboard to developing lifelong friendships and widen your social circle. I realize that for those of us who live with chronic illness, participating in some things may be difficult, but with social media, we’re able to become involved in causes and groups that wouldn’t have been accessible to us just a few years ago.
  • Surround yourself with positive people. This doesn’t mean that everything needs to be “glitter and unicorns,” but it does mean surrounding yourself with people who generally have a positive outlook on life, who can help you see the good in other people and situations, who lift you up when you’re feeling down, and allow you to do the same for them.
  • Treat others with respect and expect the same from them. Just because we don’t agree with people, that doesn’t mean we can’t treat them with respect. As I mentioned in my post on Monday, I spent some time quite frustrated when we had houseguests recently, but whenever I was tempted to snap at someone or say something harsh, I asked myself if that was how I would want someone to speak to my Mom. That shut my mouth pretty quickly. By the same token, we can’t allow others to speak disrespectfully to us. If we don’t learn to communicate with respect, we can’t truly build a positive relationship.

For some other ways to improve social wellness, please check out the Social Wellness Toolkit provided by the National Institutes of Health. They have some great tips, including specific suggestions for improving your social wellness. Be sure to click on “flip” at the bottom of each section to see those specific actions you can take.

How’s your social wellness? Do you have any suggestions for improving this dimension? Please share!

Blessings,

~Terri

 

 

 

 

 

 

23 comments

  1. This is such an important component of wellness, Terri – good post. When my life was confined to bed, I was limited in my ability to interact with others, and I spent a lot of my time in isolation. When I was able to sit up for longer periods of time, and my tolerance of noise, etc grew, my doctor said the next step was to socialize. Aim for tea out with a friend, she advised me. Now, I am able to partake in some community activities. Not with any reliability yet, but I recognize how important this is and pray I don’t slip back.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks V.J.! It’s really easy to isolate ourselves when we feel so bad all the time, but having that connection with others is so important. I still have to be careful where I go because of the sensory overload (smells and noise for me) but I find that I’m much healthier and happier when I’m involved with others. I’m glad to hear you’re able to participate in some community activities now, and taking it slowly is great. 😊 Hugs!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I am laughing more which is medicine in itself. It’s true that one person with too much perfume/ cologne, or too much noise, can send me packing. Hugs back. Hope you’re recovering from your houseful.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post! Social wellness is so important! It’s one of the things I really struggle with during relapses and when I’m unable to get out and see people. It has a massive impact on my overall well being. I’m learning now, when it happens, to make sure not to shut myself away, so even though I may not be able to get out, to make sure to still keep in touch with people on the phone and online. It’s not as good but it does go some way to helping. 🙂 xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Heather! Those are some great tips for staying in touch with people even when you can’t get out. Thanks for sharing them. I have a tendency to withdraw when I’m having a rough time with my pain and/or fatigue, so I really have to guard against that when I’m not feeling well. Like you said, isolating ourselves can have a huge impact on our overall wellbeing. Hugs to you and Dizzy!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I completely understand, and also have the tendency to withdraw from people. It can be hard to make contact when you feel so ill, but is very important to do. Even if it’s just to say hi. 🙂 Sending lots of hugs. xxx

        Liked by 1 person

  3. such important information Terri…………social interaction is so important and my heart breaks for those who can’t get out and interact on any level. i have been there, like another person commented. i have a card ministry for chronically ill home-bound individuals. If you would like to receive words of encouragement on a monthly basis…….please visit my site and send me an email with CARD in the subject line……you will hear from me soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. All fabulous tips and a good reminder of the importance of the social element of our lives. I must admit mine is, well, pretty much non-existent at the moment but I’ve learned a lot from that as well, and I know going forward I would try to surround myself with positive, supportive people and expect respect to be a two way street rather than put up with treatment or comments that are negative or damaging. If the social aspect is healthy it can be hugely beneficial in our lives, but if it’s not it can drain us all the more, built resentment, or leave us isolated, so it’s very important. Great post as usual, Terri! 🙂
    Caz xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Caz! You make such a great point about unhealthy social relationships negatively impacting our wellness. We’re definitely better off NOT being in those types of relationships, and sometimes, a period of solitude can be good for us. The nice thing about the internet is that we can (very carefully, of course) form friendships with people we might not ever have had a chance to meet and support one another. Gentle hugs to you sweet friend!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Very helpful and informative! Plus your tips are easy to execute in everyday life. The people we surround ourselves with greatly impact our lives and it’s hard to be truly healthy and happy if you don’t have people in your life to love and connect with.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Mishka! The whole online thing really is about finding balance, isn’t it? The relationships we form online can be so beneficial for us, but we can also get sucked into the social media black hole sometimes.😄 I hope you’re doing well. Hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This was a great article! I often tend to avoid doing stuff with people because I am such an introvert and it drains me. But I am slowly realizing, I still need to be around people…it just needs to be the right people. This article really affirms the direction I having been moving towards to have healthy relationships. Thank you for sharing this 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! Like you, I’m an introvert and that, coupled with my never knowing how I’ll feel from one day to the next makes it easy to stay home and not interact with people. We’re created to be in relationship with others, though, and you’re right – we do need to be around the right people. I’m glad this affirmed the direction you’re moving in. Blessings to you!

      Liked by 1 person

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