Blog 7/17/2019

July is Social Wellness Month

July is Social Wellness Month, a time to focus on nurturing oneself and one’s relationships. Social wellness focuses on the giving and receiving of social support, identifying the network of friends and family an individual can turn to in times of crisis as well as times of celebration, and ways to keep relationships healthy.

Social support can take different forms, including:

  • Emotional Support: This type of support often involves physical comfort, such as hugs or pats on the back, as well as listening and empathizing.
  • Tangible Support: Taking on responsibilities for someone else so they can deal with a problem or taking an active stance to help someone manage a problem they’re experiencing, such as providing money or helping with housekeeping.
  • Esteem Support:This type of social support is shown in expressions of confidence or encouragement. Someone offering esteem support might point out the strengths you’re forgetting you have or just let you know that they believe in you. 
  • Informational Support:Those offering informational support do so in the form of advice-giving, or in gathering and sharing information that can help people know of potential next steps that may work well.

Why is social wellness important? Research shows that:

  • People who have a strong social network tend to live longer.
  • The health risks of isolation are comparable with smoking, high blood pressure, and obesity.
  • A healthy social life can enhance the immune system’s ability to fight off infectious diseases.
  • A poor social life is linked to greater incidence of dementia and cognitive decline.
  • Depression is more likely in those without a strong social network.

To improve social wellness, you should look to both grow your social network and nurture your relationships with others.

Ways to grow your social network include:

  • Volunteering, especially doing something you enjoy. It’s a great way to both give back to your community and meet new people.
  • Finding others who share a similar interest or hobby as you. Examples include attending an event for a board gaming group or joining a book club.
  • Joining a gym. For example, fitness classes are a great way to stay in shape and meet other people.
  • Taking a walk around your neighborhood. If you have a pet, bring him/her too. Pets can be great conversation starters when talking with new people.
  • Attending other social events, such as art classes, museum tours, sporting events, and more.

Additionally, don’t forget to work on nurturing your existing relationships. Some ways to show your support and care for others include:

  • Become a master of commitment. Before making a commitment, recognize what you are promising and your likelihood of being able to fulfill that promise. Broken commitments hurt both you and those you care about.
  • Share both verbal and nonverbal appreciation. Gestures such as high fives, hugs, and saying thank you can go a long way in showing others that you care for them.
  • Be sure to reach out to those you care about, but perhaps haven’t been able to connect with in a while. They’ll likely appreciate it, and might even be up to get together soon!

Sources: Evergreen Health, AdvantageCare, Atrio Health Plans


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