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HealthCalling

What is Social Wellness?

07-24-2017

Ashlee Bost, marriage and family therapist associate at Covenant’s Horizons outpatient clinic, explains what social wellness is and its importance in our overall health.

“Basically social wellness is the relationships you have and how you interact within them. It also means maintaining your health both outside of those relationships and within them as well,” Bost said.

Bost says social wellness is an important part of your overall health. As human beings, we are social creatures. That means we crave relationships; we do not do well in isolation.

“Research has shown that people who do have healthy relationships and good support systems have better overall mood, deal better with stress and actually have increased self-esteem,” she added.

“Conversely, research shows that people who are socially isolated have a higher rate of illness, a higher rate of chronic disease, and actually 2-3 times the death rate of people who are not socially isolated.”

According to Bost, there are lots of different ways to maintain social wellness; one we hear a lot about right now is “self-care.” Many people don’t realize that social wellness is a piece of self-care.

“One of those ways of self-care is seeking out positive relationships that are reciprocal, and having healthy boundaries and good communication within those relationships – that’s a big part of social wellness.”

Bost suggests another thing to do, which may seem like a no-brainer, is make time for friends and family.

“The work/life balance can be difficult, and we all have busy schedules, so sometimes we are not able to spend time with our friends and family like we wish we could. So it’s really important to make sure you’re scheduling that.”

Finally, she says, you can get involved with your community. That may mean volunteering with an organization that you’re really passionate about, or joining a church group – something like that.

“There are lots of different opportunities and resources within the Lubbock area, it really just depends on what your interests are,” Bost said. “So, finding out those interests then finding something that fits is a great step. For example, if you’re into fitness, you might join a group fitness class rather than going to the gym by yourself. That way you’re around people, getting those endorphins going, that type of thing.”

Bost said there are lots of different businesses that will give you a free week or do pop-up events around town that are really fun.

“That may mean finding a hobby. Say, you’ve always been interested in cooking. So you take a cooking class. Or you get a group of friends together and go paint pottery or pictures.”

Bost added, you can always schedule a lunch date with a friend or make sure you’re planning date nights with your significant other. She says these are all things that are readily available in Lubbock.

“I think a lot of people just don’t know where to start. Try new things. You may find something you never thought you’d enjoy! There are lots of sites with lists and calendars of events going on in Lubbock, and many of them are free. You don’t have to do things that cost a lot of money.”

The most important thing to remember, she said, is that social wellness is interconnected with your overall health.

“Your physical, social, spiritual, emotional and mental well-being are all aspects of our overall health. Feeding and practicing that social wellness piece can positively impact all those different areas.”

This post is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Please seek medical advice from your physician for any related medical condition. If you are in need of a primary care doctor, click here to find one in the Covenant Health network.

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