What is Social Wellness?
As I mentioned, wellness has many parts. There are tons of theories and models out there aimed at breaking down a complex topic into less complex, tangible parts. Some models say there are three parts, some twelve, etc. I like the 8-dimensional theory of financial, physical, mental/emotional, spiritual, occupational, intellectual, environmental and social wellness all contributing towards personal health. However, you should subscribe to whatever model resonates the most with you and allows you to look at your wellness holistically, and completely.
Since July is Social Wellness month, we’ll focus on this element of wellness today.
I feel that social wellness is an often-forgotten component of our health. We all know we like going out with friends, and care about how we show up for other people. We know we love our family and friends. However, how often do you think of these relationships as integral to your own wellbeing? Now more than ever, in these **tough** (to say the least) times it should be a priority – it’s a free, fulfilling, and flexible component of a happy internal state. More importantly, it’s one of the few things that technology and innovation can’t fix and might be making worse. Which means it may be due some extra attention.
By definition, social wellness is everything that relates to your relationships with others. The way you communicate, the kind of relationships you have, the level of respect and understanding that exists, the dynamic between you and another person, how you feel about the relationship, how your life improves (or doesn’t) because of them…etc.
How To Take a Social Wellness Inventory
I’ll warn you, like any personal inventory, this won’t be particularly easy unless you’re a superhuman who has mastered every relationship in their life.
Ask, if all someone had to go off of to know who you were and what kind of person you were was by your existing relationships with coworkers, bosses, family, friends, significant others, neighbors, and acquaintances, what kind of image would they get? What would be their perception of you? Would it be accurate? Would you be happy with that representation? Would it align with your values and your own sense of self?
Not the most fun thing to do is it? At least not if you’re brutally honest with yourself. Chances are there will be some realizations that arise and some thoughts that occur that you may not want to have.
But kudos to you for asking yourself the tough questions anyway. Why is this so important? Well…I’ll answer that with a better question; how can you possibly improve something you’re not aware of and/or avoid thinking about?
Anyway, celebrate your strengths, and identify your weaknesses (or as I prefer to call them: opportunities for growth), and move on to the fun part; the ideas for improvement…the part where you take action!
5 Ways To Improve Your Social Wellness
There are a billion ways to improve something as complex and intangible as relationships between humans. Showing appreciation, surrounding yourself with positive influences, having a good range of friends, family, professional network, working on communication, empathy, and relating to others by understanding things that may be foreign to you…you get the idea. The list is endless. So here are some ideas to get you started (even if it’s just to jumpstart your own brainstorming)!
- Join a group or club – That’s right, it’s not just for kids. It’s a great way to expand your circle with people that have things in common with you that are important aspects of your life.
- Develop communication skills in whichever area speaks to you more – Occupational? Public speaking? Having tough emotional conversations? Let’s be real, we all kind of suck at at least one of them.
- Nurture existing relationships by showing appreciation – you can never show enough appreciation. If someone is doing something right and adds value to your life, show them.
- Cut ties with the ones you know deep down are not good for your personal wellness – I’ll leave it at this; honor what you had and let go. It won’t be easy, and it won’t be pleasant, but you’ve probably known it had to be done for a while.
- Learn about something new that may be affecting your circle – In our complex and highly flawed world…everyone struggles with something. Educate yourself on social issues that could be affecting members of your circle even if it isn’t something you personally experience (gender, sexuality, and race disparities are a great place to start). Your loved ones will appreciate it, and it will deepen your connection.
With all of that said, On-The-Go Wellness is proud to be a small part of your social connectedness/wellness, and we hope to always be a source of aid in your personal wellness journey. We’ll definitely be talking about the other areas of wellness over the next couple of months as they’re all very important, and I’m somewhat of a nerd about this stuff.
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