Social wellness is one’s ability to interact with people around them. It involves using good communication skills, having meaningful relationships that are based on trust, respect and understanding, respecting yourself and others, and creating a solid support system of family, friends, coworkers, and peers.
“Cultural wellness means supporting cultural diversity in your community. It involves building positive relationships and interacting respectfully with people of different backgrounds, lifestyles, genders, ethnicities, abilities, and ages.” Taken from Western University iWellness
Healthy Social Healthy Social and Cultural Wellness
- Development of assertiveness skills not passive or aggressive ones.
- Balancing social and personal time.
- The ability to be who you are in all situations.
- Engaged with other people in your community.
- Valuing diversity and treating others with respect.
- Continually being able to maintain and develop friendships and social networks.
- The ability to create boundaries within relationships that encourage communication, trust and conflict management.
- Remembering to have fun.
- Having a supportive network of family and friends
- Aware of their own cultural background, as well as the diversity and richness present in other cultural backgrounds.
- Understanding, awareness and intrinsic respect for aspects of diversity.
- Acknowledges and accepts the impact of these aspects of diversity on sexual orientation, religion, gender, racial and ethnic backgrounds, age groups, and disabilities.
- Seeking and maintaining friendships/ acquaintances with individuals who are different from themselves.
- Participating in activities/events on and off campus to learn about differences – i.e. the Cultural Festival at Brescia, All Faiths Dinner and our affiliates.
Signs you may want to enhance your Social and/or Cultural Wellness
- If you are finding yourself to be judgmental
- Prejudicial comments or those made from a lack of knowledge/understanding
- Isolating yourself/ keeping to yourself
- Having a hard time making friends
- Drinking and partying to the point it starts to affect the other dimensions of wellness
- Experiencing home sickness and/or culture shock
Strategies to enhance your Social and Cultural Wellness
- Being open-minded to new experiences and cultures is important as you adjust to your new surroundings.
- Get to know your personal needs and pursue things and people who nurture those needs.
- Contact and make a specific effort to talk to the people who are supportive in your life.
- Attend a wellness group at Brescia and/or Western.
- Seek out opportunities and be willing to meet new people and do new things (i.e., join a club or organization, play a team sport, learn a new hobby, volunteer, or attend community events).
- Observe others and ask questions to gain a better understanding of unfamiliar cultures and customs.
- Be knowledgeable about the resources offered at Brescia, Western and within the London community.
- Participate in the Bridging Program at Brescia.
- Attend programming that combats stress & coping strategies.
- Ensure you understand the health care system (UHIP & USC Benefits if you are an international student) to make access less stressful.
- Take training to develop intercultural skills.
- Connect with various ethnocultural groups in London.
- Participate in an international Exchange and/or Study Abroad.
- Reduce your use of “screen time” on social media channels, as this can sometimes be overwhelming.
- Attend the Brescia Supper Club every day in the Mercato at 5pm
- Attend Spirituali-Tea at Brescia to celebrate friendship, ever Wednesday during the fall and winter terms 4:30-6:00pm in the Merici Lounge
Benefits/Facts on Social and Cultural Wellness
- Developing the skills to respectfully and positively engage with others even though we may not agree with them.
- Social and cultural interactions with people teaches us empathy and compassion for others
- It teaches us empathy and compassion for others.
- It can lead to us being more effective at teamwork, critical thinking, builds self-confidence and increase our communication skills.
- Social support enhances quality of life and provides a buffer against adverse life events.
- When you give and receive social support on a daily basis, you ensure that you will have friends and family to turn to in times of need, even through technology ie. Skype.
- People with good social networks and support systems are less susceptible to illness, can manage stress more effectively, and have higher self-esteem than those who are more isolated
- Human touch (e.g. hugging) with consent can improve your mood and overall health because, oxytocin is released which promotes feelings of devotion, trust and bonding.
- Laughter really is good medicine, as endorphins are released which can relieve physical pain and reduce stress hormones.
- A strong social network can create a good mood and enhance self-esteem.
- International Program Coordinator (for international student support, diversity/inclusion & intercultural training & support)
- Contact Christina Lord: firstname.lastname@example.org or 519-432-8353 ext. 28012
- International Student Rep and Diversity Commissioner (BUCSC)
- Brescia clubs and organizations
- Brescia Student Life Centre
- Brescia Campus Ministry
- Wellness Education Centre at Western
- Mental Health and Wellness Resource Guide
- International Students and Wellness at Western
- Centre for Addiction and Mental Health – Safety tips for hosting a party and drinking alcohol
- Region of Peel Working for you – How to handle adult pressures, tips and comebacks
- Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse – Safe drinking guidelines, great resources on this site
- Succeed Socially – Free guide to getting past social awkwardness, tips on how to make friends and getting a social life
- Intercultural Awareness
- The Edvocate – Tips for teachers on how to foster cultural awareness in the classroom
- Mind your mind – Interactive games that helps you make decisions about drug use
- “What if…” (Fun app for casual and challenging questions that get you thinking)
Recommend a resource, tool, tip or app that has helped you with the seven dimensions of wellness by emailing the Student Life Centre