Social wellness refers to the ability to interact with people around you. It involves using good communication skills, having meaningful relationships, respecting yourself and others and creating a support system that includes family members and friends. The social dimension of wellness involves developing, nourishing and encouraging satisfying relationships.
Social wellness is one of the eight dimensions of wellness, which also include emotional, financial, physical, and spiritual wellness. Social wellness is an important aspect of good mental health, although each aspect of wellness can affect overall quality of life.
July is considered Social Wellness Month, so it’s a good time to take a step back and look at the connections you’ve made in your life. For seniors, staying socially active can be just as effective as exercise for improving your mood and quality of life. Use this month to develop some new friendships and get reacquainted with those you may have lost touch with. Research shows that socially isolated people are more susceptible to illness and have a death rate two to three times higher than those who maintain good social relationships.
Some good ways to improve your own social wellness this month include:
- Talk to a friend. Call or visit someone you may not have spoken to in a while and have a positive interaction. Really listen and find out what is important or what issues the person has been facing. Practice empathy by putting yourself in the person’s shoes.
- Know your needs. Get to know your own personal needs, and find people who can help nurture those needs. While pursuing your own needs, help others with theirs. Talk to people who are supportive of your needs.
- Allow others to care for you. Sometimes it can be difficult to admit when there’s something you can no longer accomplish on your own. When you need assistance with something, even if it’s just going to the grocery store or household chores, allow the people who care about you to help you. There’s no shame in admitting you can’t do it all on your own.
- Develop a new friendship. You’re never too old to make a new friend, so don’t be afraid to go up and talk to a peer. Enjoy being with others. Social interactions help improve your mood and enhance your self-esteem. Remember, sometimes laughter really is the best medicine.
- Relax and find inner peace. Relaxation is a great way to clear your mind and find inner happiness. Rest and get a good night’s sleep- sleep is just as important as leading an active life to keep you alert and healthy.
Social wellness helps create an overall feeling of good health and wellness in mind, body and soul. If you’re curious about your own social wellness, this quiz provided by Definition of Wellness assesses your current situation. Read each statement slowing and respond honestly. Use your score as a guide as to how your current social situation can be improved, if necessary.
Almost always = 2 points Sometimes/occasionally = 1 point Very seldom = 0 points
_____ 1. I contribute time and/or money to social and community projects.
_____ 2. I am committed to a lifetime of volunteerism.
_____ 3. I exhibit fairness and justice in dealing with people.
_____ 4. I have a network of close friends and/or family.
_____ 5. I am interested in others, including those from different backgrounds than my own.
_____ 6. I am able to balance my own needs with the needs of others.
_____ 7. I am able to communicate with and get along with a wide variety of people.
_____ 8. I obey the laws and rules of our society.
_____ 9. I am a compassionate person and try to help others when I can.
_____ 10. I support and help with family, neighborhood, and work social gatherings.
_______ Total for Social Wellness Dimension
Score: 15 to 20 Points – Excellent strength in this dimension.
Score: 9 to 14 Points – There is room for improvement. Look again at the items in which you scored 1 or 0. What changes can you make to improve your score?
Score: 0 to 8 Points – This dimension needs a lot of work. Look again at this dimension and challenge yourself to begin making small steps toward growth here. Remember: The goal is balanced wellness.
American Senior Communities encourages residents at all of its locations to stay socially connected. For more information about American Senior Communities, please visit www.ASCSeniorCare.com.