What is social health? Total Wellness defines it as: “Social health is the ability of individuals to form healthy and rewarding interpersonal relationships with others.” As humans, it is important for us to have social abilities to form relationships with others in order to get through difficult times. Without social health, we can have difficulty making and keeping friends and can even cause negative consequences on our physical health. The National Institutes of Health even see a strong importance in this and released a social wellness toolkit!
This does not mean you have to go out every night or add twenty new people to your social media accounts. Social health is about building trusting and long lasting relationships with friends or family. So what are ways we can prioritize our social health?
Join Community Events
Whether you live in a small town or a big city, there are many things that you can do to be a part of your community and town. You can sign up to be a volunteer at your local animal shelter, food bank, or events held in your town. Try and volunteer somewhere weekly or biweekly so that you can establish relationships with those who volunteer there!
Learn How to Communicate
One of the most important things to understand about our social health is to learn how to communicate effectively and positively. Without this, it is hard to form and maintain bonds—even between strangers. Check this article from SOCAP Digital about 5 ways to effectively communicate!
There is no point in trying to form or create relationships unless you are yourself! Do what makes you happy and fulfills your needs. Being social comes within you and you will find the best of people doing things that you love to do. If you try to find fulfillment through things that do not please you, you will not fill your life with the people that you truly need around you.
Avoid Toxic People and Environments
One of the downfalls of social health is that you will meet someone that is not that great. However, every experience and person is a lesson and can prevent you from getting hurt in the future. Try to form friendships and relationships through a positive environment such as a park, social events, yoga class, culture events, local coffee shops, or professional networking meetings. You could also try an app for meeting new friends like Bumble or Nextdoor but always go with someone else you trust first.
Don’t Isolate Yourself
With the pandemic, it is easy to stay hidden and not reach out to your friends and family—but make it a priority. Spend 20 minutes a day or use your BetterYou app to set a goal for yourself. Set up a coffee day with one of your friends biweekly to make sure that you are fulfilling your social needs. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be alone but we do not want to get to the point of becoming lonely. “Me time” is not something to be ashamed about to refresh yourself from your social health and to start anew.
Get Out There and Socialize!
It isn’t easy to be social and to start new friendships but know that is worth all of the health benefits. Having healthy social health levels provide emotional, physical and positive mental health on all levels. Sage Journals reported: “Among infected participants, greater perceived support and more-frequent hugs each predicted less-severe illness signs. These data suggest that hugging may effectively convey social support.” So get out there and get hugging and making friends since it is beneficial for your health. Check out this previous article about the power of community!