You know about mental health and physical health but what about social health? You could be eating healthy and exercising but still missing a vital health component. Social health entails our ability to interact and form meaningful relationships with others. It relates to how comfortably we can adapt in social situations. Social relationships have a major impact on our overall health.
Social determinants of health (SDOH) included conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age. These factors are shaped and restricted by the distribution of money, power, and resources. A great way to measure our social health is by reflecting on our relationships and ourselves.
Some signs of being socially healthy include:
- Balancing your social and personal time
- Adapting in social situations
- Being engaged with others in your community
- Having a supportive network of family and friends. Being able to turn to friends and family for support when needed.
Research has shown that the following health issues are more likely to occur with poor social health:
- Suffering a heart attack
- Chronic disease
- Poor mental health
- Anxiety and depression
- Poor immune system
While doctors work hard to keep patients healthy, sometimes their toolbox of medicines and skills don’t get them there. The reason of this is because of social determinants of health (SDOH). All patients from all neighborhoods and backgrounds should have the same opportunity to be healthy and make healthy choices. Therefore, when meeting with your doctor, it is imperative to inform them of your social health.
For instance, if a patient is limited because of transportation, in which, they cannot physically get to their medical appointments or obtain prescribed medication. Their doctor and our pharmacists can communicate this factor and take proper steps, such as offering a telehealth option.
Make Connections – Making new connections can have powerful effects on your health. Here are some ways to make new social connections.
- Join group activities that involve some of your favorite hobbies (readings, hiking, swimming etc.)
- Learn something new! Take a cooking, writing, dancing or music class
- Meditation, yoga, tai chi, or other physical activity can help you make new social connection
Take Care of Yourself While Caring for Others – Many of us have the experience of being a caregiver or might experience it in the future. The stress caused from being a caregiver can take a toll on your health. It is important to find ways to care for your health while caring for others.
- Ask for help when you need it. You do not have to be alone.
- Try taking breaks each day, make time for yourself.
Written By: Penny Liu