We have discussed the multidimensional aspects of wellbeing throughout the year and focussed on a variety of aspects: physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual, vocational (workplace), financial, and environmental dimensions. In this article we are going to spend time reflecting on social wellbeing and reflect on maintaining healthy relationships.

We have experienced extraordinary and complex social limits during the time of the pandemic when we were cut off from our social circles for health reasons. These conditions provided us with the opportunity to re-evaluate the importance of connecting with our networks and finding strength in one another. Our health depends on the quantity and quality of our support networks and social connections.

Aristotle said that “Man is by nature a social animal”. We are social creatures – we love and we need love. We need to feel good about our experiences with others and we need to belong. Our relationships are wrapped up in our health as it can affect our mental wellbeing. They make us happy – in short – which allows for a balanced lifestyle.

How do we know our social wellbeing is adding value to our lives and how do we assess our social wellbeing? One way is by asking ourselves the following questions:

  • Do we make time for our friends and family?
  • Do we enjoy spending time with our people?
  • Are our interactions diverse – meaning, does it include people from different cultures or backgrounds?
  • Do we feel positive after a social interaction?
  • Are our relationships rewarding?

If you answered ‘no’ to any of the questions above, there are ways to ensure more meaningful social interactions. Let us look at a few.

Time

  • Make time for your friends and family – they are our source of connection. Make an effort to connect with them.

Make new connections

  • If you feel that you do not connect with enough people or you find yourself in a new environment, make new connections. Look for ways to get involved. Take up a cooking class, join a fitness group, volunteer at your church or in your community, take part in neighbourhood events and expand your network. Travel to different places and join conversations.

Recognize how people influence you

  • Re-evaluate the relationships you have. Ask yourself how our current friends or network make you feel. Keep seeing people who are invested in your wellbeing as well. Listen to them and bond with those who add value to your life as you surely also add value to theirs.

Share honestly

  • Share your experiences and feelings honestly. We like to hear the truth and allowing yourself to be open and receptive to others is a liberating experience.

Ask what you need from others

  • Connected to honesty is the ability to ask your network and your people for help when you need it. Ask, ask, ask. It is not that difficult and you will be surprised at how willing people are to be there for you.

Listen

  • Relationships are reciprocal – it is a give-give exchange. You listen sometimes and other times you talk. Listen to your people with interest and care. 

Work on your icebreakers

  • When meeting new people and expanding your network it can be useful to work on your icebreakers just to get over the initial introduction. See the positives in people and praise them for what you hear / see. 

Continue to build your existing relationships

  • Hang onto the people you cherish – these people add value to your life, appreciate them and nurture them. Be there when they need you and be there when they don’t. Have fun together!

We have been involved with people since birth and we learn how to interact with others, express ourselves in a healthy way and become part of different communities around us. Positive social habits will help you build the necessary support systems and keep you healthy. Seek relationships that support you and add value to your life. And most importantly – have fun!

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