In March of this year, a global pandemic was declared, an event nobody saw coming and no one was fully prepared for. Overnight, we found ourselves isolated and physically cut off from society, with no clear end in sight. For the first time, the entire world was experiencing the same fear and pain of not just physical illness, but a pandemic of isolation. The year of 2020 has exposed the extreme importance of not just physical health, but holistic wellness.
We are entering July and Social Wellness month with a shift in perspective on the concept of holistic health. Now, more than ever, we are aware of the fact that wellness is so much more than just physical. It encompasses mental, emotional, and social components as well. Neurologists and scientists are slowly finding the correlation between physical health and mental health. In fact, they all coincide and affect each other. When one is out of line, the others are not able to fully function.
We as humans were created for social interaction and healthy relationships which act as a buffer to stress. These have been linked to healthy cardiovascular and endocrine functioning, as well as an enhanced immune system. It can also be traced to quality of life and life span.
This month take the time to not only nurture your relationships, but yourself. In order to love and pour that love into others, you must also care for yourself. Here are some tips on how to make the most of Social Wellness Month and begin the journey to Holistic Health:
- Practice Self-Care:
There is freedom in taking a day for yourself. Oftentimes, we get so caught up in the whirlwind of to-do lists and schedules that it is hard to sit still and let ourselves breathe. By identifying what you need, you can begin to schedule time for yourself. Physically set aside time in your schedule devoted to self-care, until it is a natural part of your week. This can take many different forms: a day dedicated to doing things that you enjoy or a night of face masks and a good book. Additionally, there are natural rhythms that you can begin to implement into your daily life like ensuring you are getting enough sleep, eating healthy, and exercising.
- Be less critical of yourself and others:
Often, we become our worst critics and it can easily create a cycle of unhealthy and negative self-talk. This pattern can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure and stress. This connects to the fact that mental habits can have physical effects. Elizabeth Scott, who is a wellness coach states, “Those who find themselves frequently engaging in negative self-talk tend to be more stressed.” She continues to say that this will result in challenges like, limited thinking, perfectionism, and relationship challenges. Oftentimes, the way we see others is a direct reflection of how we view ourselves. Social Wellness begins with the way we nurture our own thought processes and care for ourselves mentally.
- Set up a support system:
Finally, the best way to begin to cultivate social health is by inviting people into your life. One of the biggest lies you can tell yourself is that you are alone. Be honest with a trusted friend or family member about the things you are thinking or going through. There are creative outlets that can prove to be very beneficial to foster uplifting and encouraging relationships, even while social distancing. From Zoom check-in meetings, to snail mail, to outdoor activities, there are ways to take care of yourself through social engagement.
Even if you identify as an introvert, social interaction is a necessary human need and is crucial to your holistic wellness, no matter where you gain your energy. The first step is to begin with loving yourself enough to give yourself what you need. It is only natural that you will be able to then extend that care and nurture to others.