People are social beings who live, work, and play together—and when one of us needs help, our communities are there to support us. Founded by the counseling group Words of Wellness, July has been designated Social Wellness Month, a time to examine and reinforce the social connections that help keep us feeling balanced and connected.
What Is Social Wellness?
Social wellness, simply put, is the act of nurturing yourself and others and can take several forms.
• Emotional support. Show someone that you care. Simply by reaching out, you can make someone else feel better.
• Instrumental support. If you are in a position to do so, you may choose to provide material support (such as money, food, or housing) to someone in need.
• Informational support. You can help someone just by connecting them with the proper resources. Being an information source makes you prepared to help when someone’s in need.
How Does Social Wellness Affect Physical Health
Science has long been interested in the relationship between physical and mental health. When we look at the biophysical aspects of mental wellbeing, it’s easier to see the connections between mental and physical health.
• Nutrition. Our physical health depends on giving our bodies the fuel they need to operate at peak performance. Unfortunately, stress, time constraints, and poor self-care habits often make it difficult to maintain a nutritious diet. Mental or emotional issues such as depression can compound the issue, making eating habits even less healthful. And conversely, the lack of protein or proper vitamins and minerals can exacerbate existing mental health issues. Social wellness can help us focus on self-care to ensure we consume a diet that supports both our mental and physical health.
• Exercise. When our emotional or mental health suffers, we are less likely to stick with the routines that keep us healthy. Someone suffering from depression, for example, may lose interest in activities like jogging or going to the gym. Physical exercise is important to mood. Regular strenuous exercise releases endorphins and dopamine, brain chemicals which support mood.
• Connection. Another way that social wellness supports physical health is through human connection. We are social beings, and as such we thrive on interconnection with others. Sharing experiences, telling stories, or recalling old memories can boost mood while nurturing real human connections. Being part of a community also helps brain health. Remember those “feel good” chemicals, dopamine and endorphins? They are released when we feel a sense of accomplishment after completing a task. Cooperative work is a great way to improve self-esteem and elevate mood.
Ways to Celebrate Social Wellness Month
Here are a few simple things you can do to promote social wellness in your own life and to contribute to communities either online or in your area.
• Join a club or group with a shared interest. One great way to stay connected with others is by pursuing a hobby. It could be a book club, a collectors’ group, or a community choir. The important thing is that the activities of the group interest you. Group activities are invaluable to creating a sense of community, increasing engagement, and boosting self-esteem.
• Reconnect with a friend or family member. If you’ve been less involved in personal relationships lately, either because of the COVID-19 pandemic or for other reasons, now is the perfect time to reconnect. Call an old friend or family member and catch up. Or take the opportunity to mend fences and repair damaged relationships.
• Enjoy the company of a pet. Social interaction isn’t just for people. Our pets need love too, and caring interactions with our pets can help us stay active and emotionally engaged with life. Don’t have a pet? Consider fostering an animal in need. Fostering can be among the most rewarding experiences for both owner and pet.
At Key Assets Kentucky, we believe in the power of human interconnection. That’s why we want to ensure that all members of our community get the help they need, when they need it. Are you feeling stressed? Overworked? Depressed? Do you feel that the COVID-19 pandemic has left you isolated? Let Key Assets Kentucky be your social wellness resource! Our trained professional therapists are eager to meet with you. Contact us today!