Did you know that July is “Social Wellness Month?” Social wellness month was founded by a counseling practice, Words of Wellness; however, the impact of social wellness has a long history dating back to 3000-1500 B.C. The purpose of social wellness month is to get out and meet new people. Research suggests that those with strong support systems live longer lives, have better moods, higher self-esteem, and better reactions to stress.
The Importance of Community
Social support improves overall health, quality of life and wellbeing. Community creates a sense of belonging, happiness, and growth. In community we find support, encouragement, and friendship as well as new hobbies and experiences that you might not have had otherwise.
God created us to be in community with others; we are better together. Being in community allows us to help those in need and provides people that we can fall on in times of hardship. Through community we learn to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
Community isn’t always rainbows and sunshine. We are called to be like Jesus even when relationships are hard. Community allows us the opportunity to learn to communicate effectively, resolve conflict, practice forgiveness, love, and encourage one another.
Defining Social Wellness
By now, you might be wondering what social wellness looks like. How do you know if you are socially healthy? The University of New Hampshire suggests the following are signs of social wellness:
- Development of assertiveness skills
- Balancing social and personal time.
- The ability to be who you are in all situations.
- Becoming engaged with other people in your community.
- Valuing diversity and treating others with respect.
- Continually being able to maintain and develop friendships and social networks.
- The ability to create boundaries within relationships that encourage communication, trust and conflict management.
- Remembering to have fun.
- Having supportive network of family and friends.
4 Positive Social Habits
In honor of Social Wellness month, check in with your own social health and implement good social habits including but not limited to the following:
- Meet new people: Sometimes it takes us stepping outside of our comfort zone to build new relationships. This might look like joining a club, taking a class, volunteering, or joining a gym.
- Nurture Existing Relationships: Take time to let people in your life know how much you appreciate them. Make a phone call to just say “Hi” and check in with those you already know. Practice open, honest, and empathetic communication.
- Build Healthy Relationships: It is helpful to remind ourselves that it’s not our job to “fix” another person. Learning and implementing healthy boundaries, good communication skills, and healthy conflict resolution skills is key to a solid foundation in relationships.
- Take care of yourself while taking care of others: Don’t be afraid to ask for help, join a support group and take breaks as needed.
Humans were created to be social, and social wellness is essential to both physical and mental health. Take time to assess your own social wellness. If you’re suffering from social anxiety, reach out to a trusted mental health provider for support.