The National Indian Council on Aging (NICOA) Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) Director Sue Chapman states, “The following article provides some great information on social wellness, not only describing what it is, but why it is important, and steps you can take towards improvement in your own life. One great example of a way you can improve your social wellness, that is not mentioned below, is getting back into the workforce, even part-time. Working and learning new skills are a perfect way to improve your mental health, grow your social network, and engage more actively in your own social wellness. At NICOA, we have seen our participants in SCSEP flourish both mentally and physically in a large part due to the social engagement they experience.” For more information on NICOA SCSEP visit https://nicoa.org/for-elders/economic-well-being/job-training-for-older-adults-scsep/
The following information has been taken directly from the University of Minnesota’s webpage “July is Social Wellness Month” for the full article visit https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/july-social-wellness-month:
Social wellness means nurturing yourself and your relationships.
It means giving and receiving social support – ensuring that you have friends and other people, including family, to turn to in times of need or crisis to give you a broader focus and positive self-image.
Social support enhances quality of life and provides a buffer against adverse life events. Social support can take different forms:
- Emotional (sometimes called non-tangible) support refers to the actions people take to make someone else feel cared for.
- Instrumental support refers to the physical, such as money and housekeeping.
- Informational support means providing information to help someone.
Why is Social Wellness Important?
Healthy relationships are a vital component of health. The health risks from being alone or isolated in one’s life are comparable to the risks associated with cigarette smoking, blood pressure, and obesity.
Research shows that:
- People who have a strong social network tend to live longer.
- The heart and blood pressure of people with healthy relationships respond better to stress.
- Strong social networks are associated with a healthier endocrine system and healthier cardiovascular functioning.
- Healthy social networks enhance the immune system’s ability to fight off infectious diseases.
How Can I Grow My Social Network?
- Work out. Joining a gym or an exercise group allows you to meet new people while exercising.
- Take a walk with your pet. Starting a walking routine after dinner would not only give you another opportunity to be physically active, but it would also create more opportunities for you to meet your neighbors.
- Donate some of your time and hard work to a charity. You’ll feel good about the cause, and you’ll meet others with similar passions.
- Find others who share a hobby, such as hiking, painting, scrapbooking, running, etc.
University of Minnesota. (n.d.). July is Social Wellness Month. Retrieved July 20, 2018, from https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/july-social-wellness-month