Social wellness is an issue that has become important after Covid 19 came, along with it, restrictions on physical interactions. As humans, we all have a natural need to connect and belong. Positive relationships help fill that need. When we are sick in our bodies, we check our temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate, but what about social wellness? One of the pillars of lifestyle medicine is concerned with social connectedness. Therefore, it is crucial to our overall health and wellbeing. As the world settles into a time of doing life with the virus in our midst, caution continues to plague how we engage at work, school, or even in social places. Some workplaces have adopted an indefinite remote working approach and many a hybrid one. Not to mention the occasional quarantines and reality of social distancing- the constant reminders of the life we can never go back to. These current dynamics have proved social connections to be medically critical. The only thing left is how we can ensure social wellness in an environment where isolation is a common phenomenon and its impacts on the quality of life moving forward.
Social Wellness for Different Groups
The concept of social wellness is about developing and maintaining healthy relationships. The benefits of strong social ties have been well-documented in studies, including everything from better mental health outcomes to longer lifespan expectancy. One of the most outstanding positive outcomes of social connectedness is life satisfaction and leading a quality life. People with positive relations are optimistic and capable of coping with stress better. Another valuable aspect of maintaining social wellness has to do with health outcomes. People with health issues, such as autoimmune, cardiovascular, and endocrine conditions, report positive effects when they are socially healthy. On the other hand, isolation, even just the perceived isolation, brings health risk factors. While it is crucial for people of all ages to work on their social wellness, the focus may look different at different stages of life. For young children, social wellness might mean having close relationships with parents and other family members, playing with friends at school or in the neighborhood, and feeling safe and secure in their environment. As people grow older, their definition of social wellness may change to include things like maintaining strong relationships with friends and loved ones despite distance or differing lifestyles, participating in activities that give purpose and meaning beyond oneself. Extraverted and introverted personalities might also need to take care of their social wellbeing in differing ways.
Gaining Perspective: Taking Care of Our Social Well-Being
Regardless of the dynamics in our lives, knowing our limits in interactions is paramount to striking balance. For introverts finding time for self after spending time with friends and family to recharge the energy levels. And extroverts, balancing self-isolation with quality time to engage with others more regularly. Beyond personality, here are general activities that can boost social wellness:
Self-reflecting on progress and appreciate small wins
• Joining or starting a chat group with friends or people in your neighborhood.
• Planning get-togethers with friends and family, either in person or online.
• Scheduling calls with important people and those that make us laugh
• Reaching out to people we haven’t talked to in a while. Reconnecting with old friends can be fun and supportive.
• Volunteering time to help those who are struggling.
Although we may feel physically better, many of us are struggling mentally and emotionally. To maintain our social well-being in the long term, we must continue these practices even after the pandemic ends.