We all know that humans need social interaction to be healthy and happy. Without a system of support, we can feel isolated and depressed, which can lead to mental and physical distress.
Social wellness is about making connections with other humans, building positive relationships, and surrounding yourself with a support system of people who you trust and love.
In the past year and a half, many of us have experienced the frustrations of not being able to socialize the way we used to. Because let’s face it, Zoom is no replacement for a hug from a best friend. Maybe we can use that experience to teach us how much we truly need and depend on each other.
Here are some simple things to remember to support your Social Wellness:
Take care of you: It may sound antithetical to socializing, but many of us spend a lot of time caring for others, at the expense of self-care. But they aren’t mutually exclusive; choosing to spend some time with one or two close friends can be very healing. Grab a pal and get a pedi; bring a small gift to a neighbor, or take Fido to the dog park. Appreciating even small social interactions can be uplifting.
Refine your circle: In our day-to-day activities, we all have to interact with people who bring us down. The bitchy co-worker, the rude checker at the grocery store – you know who we mean. But that makes choosing who you want to spend time with all the more important. Be sure that the people you decide to have around you are those who lift you up and make you feel good about yourself. Avoid people who make you feel anxious, insecure, or stressed. As much as possible, your close circle should be your safe place.
Get moving: Sometimes getting active can feel like a chore. But if it seems more like a social outing than exercise, many of us are more likely to get out and get moving. Start a walking group, join a team sport, or try out a dance class with a friend; you’ll get a workout, and some social time.
Watch your words: Communicating is hard. We all want to feel heard and understood, but sometimes our emotions or non-verbal cues can trip us up. Experts seem to agree on a few basic tenets of good communication that are worth remembering:
- Listen more than you speak
- Disagree respectfully
- Be aware of your body language
- Ask questions and welcome opinions
Seek out great minds: If you’re new in town, or just have a hard time meeting people, joining or starting a Meetup group can be a great way to “design” a social group around common interests and activities. You never know who you’ll meet or what you’ll learn.
We need people. And we need people to need us. Keeping a strong support system of friends, and family around you can bring a sense of belonging and help you to be happier and healthier.
But it’s only one facet of wellness - next week we’ll be discussing our Physical Wellness, so stay tuned!
Let that sh*t go!