Third in a series of articles on holistic health.
In this series of articles, we're focussing on the five components of holistic health:
PHYSICAL, EMOTIONAL, SOCIAL, SPIRITUAL, AND MENTAL
Our last posts discussed beginning a physical routine and emotional well-being. In this post, we're going to focus on social well-being.
Social wellness focuses on our relationships with others and how we interact with them. Like our physical and emotional health, social well-being plays a huge role in how we view ourselves and the world and impacts our lives in numerous ways. We've all seen the reports that meaningful reciprocal relationships can extend our lives and make us healthier. We tend to live longer and have happier lives when we're engaged with others. In today's environment, this is increasingly difficult to do. Social relationships are harder to establish and maintain when we experience fewer face-to-face interactions and especially in this pandemic when most of us have stayed home and to ourselves.
There are some simple things we can do that will have great impact on our lives.
Surround Yourself with Good People
The first rule in social well-being is to establish strong, meaningful relationships. Foster a tight circle of friends and loved ones who support you, encourage you and look out for you even when times are tough. We all go through difficult periods and often our "recovery" is hastened by the love and friendship of our small circle.
The first person who should treat you with kindness is yourself. Treat yourself with respect and care, and take the time to carve out moments for yourself that matter, whether it's a morning walk, a favorite face cream, a yoga class. Most of us spend our days serving others, through work or family and various obligations, and it's important that you make time for yourself. If you have a long commute like I do, use that time to listen to a book or a podcast, or make your lunch hour a self-care hour of no screens. Whatever gives you pleasure and feeds your soul, find a way to make that part of your routine.
Find Interests and Activities Outside of Home and Work
Stepping outside of our own heads is also important for self-care, although it's difficult to do. If we can take a break from the pressures of getting through the day, we can gain perspective. One of the best ways of doing this is to pick up a hobby outside of home and work. Gardening, biking, meeting like-minded folks for a cooking class or joining a nature hike, these are all good activities that get us away from our "regularly-scheduled program" and we might even meet some new friends, forming new relationships.
Follow a Healthy Routine
Research shows that people who keep a regular routine are generally happier and can live longer than those who don't. Most of us do this because we're creatures of habit, but paying attention to your habits is a good idea. Do you go to bed and rise at roughly the same time each day? Are you staying healthy by eating well, exercising and drinking in moderation? There's a lot of data showing that doing so leads to a happier life.
Keep Your Communication Open
This is a simple thing, but so important for social well-being. Take note of your communication skills, try to be a good listener, make eye contact with people, stand up straight, and in general try to be an honest and open communicator. This strengthens our relationships and leads to self-pride and the satisfaction of being a good partner to those around us.
We hope these simple tips help you think about how small changes in our behaviors can make a huge difference in our well-being. Our next segment will explore spiritual well being and the effects it has on our overall happiness.