What is social wellbeing?
You might be eating right, sleeping well, and exercising daily, but still be missing out on a part of health that’s often overlooked – your social health. Unless you’re a mystic out in the woods with a completely self-sustained way of life (and apparently great reception), you’re going to have to face people day-to-day. These interactions can be on a personal or professional level, and range from tedious to frustrating to enamouring. How well we’re able to manage these interactions and relationships is what we call ‘social wellbeing’.
Social wellbeing checklist
Are you balancing social and personal time?
Time to yourself to reflect, work on personal projects or taking care of your responsibilities is as important as going out with your friends and maintaining good relationships. However, it can be easy to fall too heavily into either – time to yourself means no external pressure and no relationships to manage. On the other side of the issue, being with friends can distract us from doing chores or taking care of ourselves in ways that we can only do alone.
Finding a balance between the two is important. You should ask yourself:
- Do I ever feel lonely?
- Do I feel I make enough time for my friends?
- Do I feel like I make enough time for me?
- Am I taking care of my responsibilities?
How well do you handle conflict?
People generally don’t enjoy conflict, and further, people don’t like to be around people that do enjoy conflict. Confrontation is stressful – there’s the adrenaline rush, change in thinking, and future consequences and repercussions to consider. Unfortunately, these areas of life are unavoidable, but there are ways to manage your reactions:
- Try to not take it personally. Detaching yourself from the situation will allow you to handle it without feeling like you’re being attacked
- Identify the source of the conflict
- Strive towards reaching a resolution instead of getting mired in the details
- Aim to say how you feel, rather than put something on someone else. Eg – ‘I feel like we could do better’ rather than ‘you should do better’
- Find a solution you’re both happy with
- Don’t leave the situation without coming to an agreement. If it gets too heated, it’s fine to take a break, but leaving it unresolved will only cause more trouble later
Do you have healthy boundaries?
A healthy boundary is created by inner and outer respect – it means you’re willing to both let someone in, with trust and companionship, or to push someone back by letting them know you’re uncomfortable or not happy with something.
Simply, it’s about the space between pushing someone away and letting someone push you over. This depends on a lot of factors, like your levels of confidence, how important the person is to you, and the power dynamics in the relationship.
You can ask yourself:
- Do I know what my boundaries are?
- Am I confident that I can communicate my boundaries to others?
- Do people think I’m able to trust them?
- Have I been taken advantage of?
Can you engage with people?
This is more than just nodding your head and intermittently muttering ‘uh-huh’ – engaging with people means listening, reflecting, and responding. As easy as this sounds, some people are inclined to ‘wait their turn to speak’, rather than address what’s been said and continuing down the new stream of conversation.
Being unable to engage with people doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t want to listen – you might be too shy to voice an opinion, have difficulty communicating an idea, or be unsure on how to respond. There are some easy ways to ensure you can engage with someone:
- Turn off your phone when you’re talking to someone – let them know they have your undivided attention
- Encourage people to tell their stories and share their thoughts
- Establish an ‘us’ both you and they are part of something together
- Tell them why you value their input
- Try to understand where they’re coming from, and check in to see if you have a clear idea of what they’re talking about
Are your friends a positive influence?
The people closest to you can help you achieve things you never thought possible or drag you down to depths you never knew. While it’s important to have friends, it’s also important that they’re good friends. Ask yourself:
- Would I trust this person with a secret?
- Do they bring value or benefit to my life?
- Have they supported me when I needed it?
- Can I count on them?
Your social wellness matters
Health is an ongoing project, one that requires a lot of attention to yourself and to your surroundings. So make sure you’re checking in, and checking out to spend time with those who make a positive impact on your life.
All information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only. The information provided should not be relied upon as medical advice and does not supersede or replace a consultation with a suitably qualified medical practitioner. CBHS endeavours to provide independent and complete information, and content may include information regarding services, products and procedures not covered by CBHS Health Cover policies. For full terms, click here