Rock The Walk 2021: Week 5
We’re getting closer and closer to the end of the challenge—whoa! I feel like we’re blinking and another month has blown by, how is that possible?
We are keepin’ er movin’ (hey Charlie!) through Rock the Walk, and this week’s topic is about Social Wellness and bringing that back to being aware of your health.
Human beings are social, and we begin to build relationships as soon as we are born. We learn to interact with others, express ourselves and communicate, and we also join the surrounding communities. By being able to interact with others and be part of various communities, this helps us improve our health be having a support system and can keep both your mental and physical health in check.
Being social and having good social wellness/health is so much more than being able to talk to others, and there are different ways you can strategize to improve your social health.
I’m back to one of my favorite sites, the National Institutes of Health from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and this site gives GREAT advice on improving your social health and the connections around you. Check out the tips below:
- Make Connections
- Join in-person or online groups that have similar interests that you do—maybe this is a hobby group, a religious-based group, or fitness or nutrition enthusiasts.
- Trying a new group activity, such as a fitness class or art class, can branch your social network and give you a sense of accomplishment when you do something new.
- Volunteering—this is a GREAT way to give back to your community, and to make a difference in many lives.
- Community-based groups—these are like-minded individuals, such as yourself, who have ideas about improving the community they live in. Looking for a local connection? Check out the Jefferson County Community Coalitions to be involved in improving the overall health our local communities!
- Take care of yourself while caring for others
- Organization—having a plan, calendar and lists can be incredibly helpful when you are a caregiver of someone. Not only do you have someone else to take care of, but you cannot let your own health slide, and feeling in control with organization can be a life-saver.
- Ask for help—this is a tough one, but many times necessary when you are becoming burnt out, or when the person/people you are caregiving for become too much. Ask for help running errands, going to appointments or even just sitting with the person as you take a break. Also, look into various community resources that can be helpful—your local ADRC or even hospital may offer assistance and classes to help you with your caregiving situation.
- Take breaks—you can’t be ‘on’ 24/7 without burning out. Allow yourself breaks to take care of you, and to do things you enjoy, such as hobbies, interests and your own health endeavors, such as exercise and stress management.
- Keep up on your health—this ties in the previous suggestions and blogs, but making sure you are visiting your Primary Care Provider, having your own age-appropriate tests and vaccinations, and making sure you are eating well, sleeping and keeping your mental and emotional health in check.
- Get active together
- Social health and physical health go hand-in-hand, and this means reaching out to others to join you in your health endeavors is a great idea. Start a walking group with friends or family members in your community.
- Check out your local gyms and rec departments for new opportunities at group fitness that will keep you active and meeting new friends.
- If you’re involved in the school district, work with other parents and district officials to encourage kids to walk and ride bikes safely to school, and work with your local municipalities to make streets safer for exercise.
- Shape your family’s habits
- Be a health role model for those around you. Whether you have kids or not, others may be watching you and looking up to you with your habits. This may also encourage others to make healthier choices!
- Encourage your family members to join you in community efforts that will help to build awareness of their surroundings and passion for involvement at any age.
- Watch screen time—while Netflix and Instagram are tempting, your time may be better spent focusing on other activities that will help to not only increase social wellness, but also physical and mental health.
Health is so much more than running marathons, practicing yoga and eating carrots—it’s being in touch with all aspects of your health and being aware of how you can improvements with areas that may need a bit more involvement. Take time today to reflect on which dimensions of health you’re doing well at, and which ones you can focus on to make overall health improvements.
Until next time!
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (2021, August 26). Social Wellness Toolkit. National Institutes of Health. Retrieved October 7, 2021, from https://www.nih.gov/health-information/social-wellness-toolkit.