“Cultivating social wellness is like keeping a flower garden—it takes intention, energy, time, care and effort—and is an ongoing process that requires attention throughout our entire life. It is important to choose a proper plot, carefully prepare the soil, plant the best seeds, and be sure to provide plenty of water and nutrients. In gardening, as in relationships, providing protection from bad weather and regularly weeding out negativity helps to ensure continued growth and beautiful blossoms for a lifetime!”
– Optimum Performance Institute
What is Social Wellness?
Social wellness refers to the relationships we have and how we interact with others. This dimension involves building healthy, nurturing, and supportive relationships as well as fostering a genuine connection with yourself and those around you. Social wellness is challenging and may even be more challenging during the pandemic but it is still important to balance it with the other dimensions.
Why is Social Wellness Important?
Humans are by nature a social species. There are many levels in which social wellness impacts your life. There’s your inner circle constituting of immediate family, close friends, and even extended family and your outer circles that consist of community relationships, new acquaintances, and the more general society in which you live. Keeping all of these social circles in balance is a key part of social wellness, but it’s not always easy to juggle. Social wellness is important for maintaining harmony in these social circles. This dimension is critical to building resilience in the other dimensions such as emotional wellness as well. Socially-derived resilience can completely change the way we react to natural, negative emotions that are associated with grief and many others that we have experienced in the last year. As you aspire to balance social wellness with the other dimensions, your positive impact on society will also become more apparent. Throughout your journey, you’ll seek out ways to preserve the balance around you that will have a ripple effect starting with your inner circle and moving outwards.
The Route to Social Wellness
So how do you juggle it all and begin your route to social wellness? You will discover that if you start to practice intentionality with your social interactions, you have the power to enhance your social wellness. On your journey, you may find yourself falling at times, walking, or running through social interactions. At times, it may feel like you’re walking along and everything is in harmony. Other times, when a conflict occurs or negative emotions arise in different contexts, it may feel like you’re falling down or running through or away from it, to return to that harmonic place. No matter how you move through your journey, by considering The Three C’s of Social Wellness (listed below) your path will become more manageable to navigate.
The Three C’s of Social Wellness:
Communicate. Genuine and strong social interactions share information, thoughts, and feelings in a positive way to build healthy, nurturing, and supportive relationships. Whether you’re a fan of long heart-to-hearts or just appreciate a thoughtful remark now and then, communication is key to social wellness. Practicing mindfulness, actively listening, and being aware of body language is key to enhancing communication in these social interactions.
Contribute. Our social circles offer the chance to contribute and the ability to recognize the contributions of other members. This give-and-take relationship strengthens bonds and solidifies your sense of support in all relationships from those with your hold with the inner circle to society as a whole.
Connect. Perhaps the most important element of social wellness is the ability to forge strong connections with ourselves and others. Taking time to consider where you feel unbalanced, where you experience harmony, and how your values are honored is crucial.
Tips for Social Wellness
Tune into your social interactions. Try to be present in your social interactions. Consider questions like, “How do I feel when I engage in this interaction?”, “What are my personal values that this relationship supports?”, or “What do you I value about this relationship?” By tuning in, you’ll start to gain perspective into how to maintain harmony, how to navigate conflict, and where to set boundaries.
Think about your hopes and dreams. Make time for yourself to put yourself first. Nurturing yourself is key in being able to be social with others. Think about your hopes and dreams for this dimension. Have you always wanted to be part of that committee or participate in that community activity but you never have? Have you always wanted to start that routine or ritual with your friends or family? Maybe it’s time to put your intentionality to work and finally engage.
Get creative. If you’re feeling like you’re already stretched thin or you’re not someone who needs a lot of social interaction or purely human contact, you can still nurture your social wellness in other ways. Maybe, you don’t have time for that committee, but you can still contribute with a small donation or a simple thank you card. Maybe you spend time outdoors with a pet or with your plants and engage socially with the occasional spread of a smile and wave to a stranger passing by. Think about ways to embark on this journey that works for your schedule and your needs!
Remember, Jefferson Center’s Colorado Spirit team is here for you. Offering free and confidential support, we can help you with counseling tips and strategies to cope successfully and referrals to additional mental health resources. Call us if you need to talk at 720-731-4689.
If you or someone you know is in a crisis, please call 1-844-493-8255 or visit our 24/7 crisis walk-in center at 4643 Wadsworth Blvd, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033.