Social Wellness: Getting healthier with a little help from your friends and family

Social Wellness: Getting healthier with a little help from your friends and family

Throughout the years, our understanding of what contributes to a person’s wellbeing has grown. Healthy Emory takes a holistic approach to wellness, recognizing the importance of mind, body and spirit in achieving overall well-being. Our social connections to others forms a critical aspect of our health and well-being. These connections, called social wellness, reflect our ability to interact with others and build and maintain relationships.

It is critical to have a positive social network at home and at work to help provide important support, feedback and social interaction. Building those connections enables us during day-to-day interactions as well as during times of crisis. They help sustain one’s outlook and build important social skills, such as establishing trust and boundaries, improving communication skills and empathy, and developing conflict management skills.

Establishing trust and respect in your personal and professional relationships can help you navigate the waters when they turn rocky. Your network of social connections doesn’t have to be large – having even one or two trusted people who you can rely on can make a difference. For many, creating those social connections enables success in other areas of one’s life, such as physical activity. According to Kathy Lee-Bishop, PT, DPT, CCS, program manager of Emory Saint Joseph’s Rehabilitation Program, “Having an exercise buddy or partner will help encourage and support your fitness goals, and you will be more likely to have better success and will be more committed to making life style changes.”

If you are thinking about how to improve your social wellness, consider these questions:

  • Do I plan time to be with my family and friends?
  • Do I enjoy the time I spend with others?
  • Are my relationships with others positive and rewarding?
  • Do I utilize my family and friends to support my health and wellness activities?

If you answered "no" to any of the questions, it may indicate an area where you can improve. Explore some of the resources Healthy Emory provides, such as walking groups, onsite fitness facilities, and Bike Emory, to help get involved with other colleagues on campus.