Social Wellness: Pushing Myself

I’m contemplating writing a series of how marathon training has helped with my wellness. If so, this is part 1, if not, this is a blog post.

It’s no secret that I’m not great with the whole…interacting with people thing …

But through my training, I have been pushing myself more than just physically. I have been forcing myself to wave and say good morning to everyone that I see. It’s not much because, well there aren’t a lot of people out at 5 am, but every person that I pass (within reason, there are a few sketchy neighborhoods that I run through). It’s not making me any more friends (but I have always been in the quality over quantity group), but it forces me to interact with people more, to build confidence.

Who knew that marathon training could boost ones social wellness?

Social Wellness: Making the Effort.

Way back when I first started up this bad boy blog of mine, my friend Kalyn gave me the suggestion to write about how to meet new people and make friends when you move some place new. Probably because I am 26 and since I was 18, I have moved every year and lived in 3 different states. One thing that I realized last week as I was running to run club was that you kind of have to put yourself out there and get involved. And beyond that, when someone makes the effort, you have to make the effort as well. Which for someone like me who is insanely introverted, this is really difficult and nerve wracking. But honestly, there really isn’t a good way to do that. Sometimes in life, you just have to be uncomfortable. Not uncomfortable like you feel like your life is in danger, but you know what I am saying. To grow you have to challenge yourself. And sometimes it is taking tiny challenges but at some point you just have to take a leap.

But like…be safe. I know I can sit here and tell you to get uncomfortable and challenge yourself, but that’s a general suggestion. You have to know YOU and you have to be the one that makes decision. By the time I started going to run club, I knew someone that I was going with and I wasn’t in danger. When I got invited to a community dinner, I knew a few people there and I knew where I was at. Don’t take my advice and do something that actually gets you danger. I don’t know why I am adding this disclaimer…but I think it is important to know that when you are in a new place and you don’t know many (if any) people, that you are responsible for making sure that you are safe. Make sense?

Why I’m Getting A Divorce in 2014.

Why I’m Getting A Divorce in 2014.

Sorry for the lack of posts. Tis the season for a hectic work life that spills way over into my personal time. But I did stumble across this little gem over my quick lunch break yesterday and I wanted to share it. And see if I can get a divorce in 2014. 

But Vanessa, you are not married. Yes! That is correct! But I’m going to work on divorcing my phone and my constant need to be online and on social media to spend time with real people who are right in front of me. 

Social Wellness: Enjoying Some Time Away.

I spent some time back in my home state this past weekend (and subsequently ended up catching a 24 hour bug/flu). But before that I got to spend some quality time with my family and das boy as well. I ended up taking das boy up to my home state and showed him where I grew up and where I went to under grad. I got to introduce him to a few people and whatnot.

But then when we got back to our respective homes, I ended up getting really sick. So that kind of tainted my otherwise lovely weekend and mini vacation with das boy. I’m recovering and feeling better, but I’m still iffy. I haven’t had anything in me really for the past 24 hours or at least anything that I can keep down. I ended up drinking a powerade last night and was able to keep that down and so now I need to work on re-hydrating myself and getting some actual food in me.

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Social Wellness: What If?

Do you ever have those moments when you wonder “what if”? Of course, most people do. But what about those moments when you know that there is no what if, there is only action? Especially when their are friends involved? I got the joy of experiencing one of those moments this weekend while visiting in Kentucky. My main reason why I came back was because one of my old roommate got married this weekend plus it had been over a year since I left Kentucky and I missed my friends back in Kentucky. Anyway, while I was at the wedding and the reception was winding down and my other old roommate and I were getting ready to leave, the bride stopped by and expressed her genuine thanks for me traveling from Kansas to Kentucky for her wedding. There was never really a time when I thought, “oh I’m not going to go” but it was at that exact moment when I was recognized that there was never a what if question. I was going to be there at her wedding no matter what. And I recognize that we don’t always have that feeling when making a decision. We sometimes think that the decision we are making is the right one and realize that it wasn’t.

But I had more what if questions that I pondered while I was back. I wondered what my life would be like had I stayed in Kentucky-what job would I be working, what friends would I have, where would I live? But what good does asking what if do? What good does dwelling on a decision do? I think on one hand you can say that asking those what if questions could create a learning opportunity but on the other hand you just dwell on a decision that you cannot change.

What does what if have to do with social wellness? Not much, but this picture does

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Congrats to Beth and Ross! And big thanks to Meghan for letting me crash on her couch and driving me around everywhere!

Social Wellness: Do You Make the Time?

So in all the craziness that has been going on in my life, I have completely forgotten that I will be in Kentucky next week! I did my master’s degree in Kentucky and I am going back because one of my old roommates is getting married. Which means I also get to go back and reconnect with the people that helped me find my passion in wellness. I will be seeing old professors and my old co-workers and just in general getting to go back to a state which I associate a lot of happiness with.

It’s important to make time for the people in your life that have made an impact. It’s important to let those people know how much you appreciate them being in your life and having that positive impact. I am definitely guilty of neglecting those relationships but it is important as you move forward in your life and your career, that you remember some of those people that helped you get there. People grow apart and things change, but even a simple Facebook wall post/message can be really nice just to let them know you were thinking of them. It would be crazy to think that you will remain close friends with everyone that you have been friends with throughout your life but it is always nice when you get a “blast from the past” and touch base with someone you were once close with. I’ll admit that I feel like I struggle a lot with holding on to friends and I second guess myself when friends stop talking to me. So perhaps it means more to someone like me to hear from an old friend.

Basically the point of this post is that I’m going to be in Kentucky next week and you should (whoaaaaaaaaa! did I really just say the “s” word?) make time to reach out to an old friend and just do a quick “check-in”.

Social Wellness: Have Some Common Decency.

I’m not really sure what spurred this post more. The angry hate that I read online after the USA announced their world’s team, the angry hate that I read about the Miss America pageant. The angry hate that I read about everyday from people sitting behind their computers thinking that because they are behind their computer they can throw away the golden rule and can say whatever they want without having any ramifications. Or an accumulation of it all. I grew up in a different era. I grew up in an era where computers will still a rising trend and when the internet made a funny “dialing” sound. I didn’t grow up having my identity protected by my computer. When I said something nasty about another girl I went to school with, I had to deal with the consequences. Which usually meant me having to apologize, face to face, and getting an angry lecture from my mom.

But I see more and more everyday just how horrible people can be when their identity is hidden behind a username and location is unknown. They can say whatever they wish. They can rip apart your looks, your brain, your personality, your family, your friends, your life. And never face any consequences because of it. Perhaps it is because I read the message boards on the “gymnternet” which tears piece by piece every gymnast from every country apart. From the leotards that they wear to their body to that one look (and no I am not just talking about McKayla Maroney) that they made for one second that just happened to get captured and now is everywhere on the internet.

Another reason that spurred this post is all the complete disrespect and hate that the new Miss America is getting for being Indian. While I do not agree with her winning (not because of her race, but because I hate how the answer section is scored-you get more points for dancing around the question and being a politician than you do for having an actual opinion and values and sticking to it. Case in point Minnesota obviously values marriage and believe that if you  get married, you stay married so when asked her question, instead of dancing around the question and being political about it, she answered with her opinion. She got 4th runner up. Other contestants, like California that sort of answered the questions but not really, placed higher. THAT’S my issue with Miss America.) I do not condone the hate that this woman has received just based on her race. There are very few things in life that will spur me to take the energy to actually argue with someone and immigration is one of those things. I am a first gen kid right here. You wouldn’t guess it by looking at me because my family is from Germany, but I am a first gen. I watched as my mom struggled with the English language and I was in the courtroom when she became a US citizen. So when people want to get on their high horses about “if you can’t speak English or you’re not American get the F*@% out of our country,” I tend to get a little feisty. Anyway, where was I? Oh right, quit hiding behind your keyboard and hating on people!

Is it time that we start teaching the internet how to have some common decency? Or is it time that we start teaching ourselves to have a thicker skin?

Regardless, I’m definitely

with how people have forgotten how to treat others.

Overall Wellness: 15 Tips/Ideas to Boost Your Wellness

A bit of a disclaimer:  these are taken from the book, Wellbeing:  The Five Essential Elements (citation will be at the end of this post) with some personal information interwoven in.

Career Wellbeing 

  • Figure out what your strengths are and make sure that you are utilizing your strengths every. single. day.
  • Find a mentor/role model and start interacting with them.
  • Find a friend/some friends at work and make time to chat with them.

Social Wellbeing 

  • Deep breath. Get 6 hours (that’s right, 360 minutes) of social interaction. Email a friend. Grab lunch w/ someone at work. Make weird faces at your boyfriend (is that just me that does that? Oh, alright then…moving on)
  • Those friends of friends that everyone has? Work on those connections too! Work on strengthening your network.
  • Still trying to figure out how in the world you are supposed to work, sleep, workout, AND get 6 hours of social time into every single day? Try working out w/ a friend. The whole “kill two birds with one stone” but minus bird murder.

Financial Wellbeing 

  • Don’t buy stuff. But experiences. I still to this day share some of my Alaska trip experiences with people. But I rarely chat about my haul from the Nike outlet mall.
  • When you can, work on giving back to others. Again, the experience of buying something for someone else can have a more lasting impact on you than buying a new watch.
  • Make saving idiot proof. Before you even see your paycheck, have x amount chucked into a hard to get to savings account of some sort.

Physical Wellbeing 

  • Get moving. At least 20 minutes a day.
  • Get sleeping. The right amount. Not too much. Not too little. Goldilocks that sleep cycle. (Didn’t know you could use Goldilocks as a verb did ya?)
  • Make eating healthy idiot proof as well. When you buy groceries, don’t buy temptations. Stock up on those whole foods and healthy options.

Community Wellbeing 

  • Figure out your personal mission. Now figure out how your personal mission and you yourself can help out the community. Then do it.
  • Let your personal mission be known. Let people know what you are passionate about. Connect w/ relevant groups.
  • Start now. It can be small but just start getting involved with your community.

Rath, T. & Harter, J. (2010). Wellbeing:  The five essential elements. New York City, New York:  Gallup Press. 

Social Wellness: Re-Connecting w/ a Best Friend.

Sorry for the late post! I will be back on a normal posting schedule tomorrow! I was busy traveling and catching up w/ my friend that I am staying with this week while I am on vacation.

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(My friend Marn and I w/ one of our favorite teachers senior year of high school. My sweet burns lines were courtesy of a tennis tournament the day before prom…)

I don’t do a lot of social wellness posts because, well, I’m not very strong in social wellness (I’m an introvert and socially awkward) and it isn’t a dimension of wellness that I feel particularly knowledgeable about. But I took advantage of some flying time this morning and was reading more of the Well Being book (read my thoughts on Career Well Being HERE). I was reading about social wellbeing and wanted to share, per usual some of the research that Gallup is doing (I swear I am not being sponsored by Gallup! They just do some interesting research!)

Some of the most interesting (to me) findings are that your social network, more than your family, have impacts, both positive and negative, on your social wellbeing. Being around people that have high wellbeing is more likely to increase your overall wellbeing and the same is true for people who are low in wellbeing. The people that you are around have an impact on your wellbeing. (I’m having flashbacks to my Org Psych class and my hero of all hero’s Ben Schneider…oh Ben, such an amazing researcher…I completely fan girled when I met him at SIOP San Diego. Ok, back to the actual blog.)

So why exactly is it important to know that people in your social networks can have an impact on you? Well, as Gallup found out, they have in impact on not only how happy you might be but also on your “habits, behaviors, and health” (pg. 35). Even more interesting…if you have friends that are smokers, Gallup found that you are 61% more likely to pick up the habit. Even more shocking is that even if you don’t surround yourself with friends that smoke, if one of your friends has a friend that smokes, you are almost 30% more likely to pick up the habit. The people that you are around to more than just boost your mood. They have the potential to have a last impact on your for years to come (I don’t think I really need to bring up any of the research that has been done on smoking…we all know it, right?)

The point of this little tid bit of information (there was more than just this brief research in the social wellbeing section) is to place an emphasis on making sure that your social circle is a positive one for you. I’m not here to tell you how to make your friends or how many friends you should have. I’m just here to pose some questions and help you figure out what is right for you. For me (keep in mind I’m a pretty strong introvert), I tend to be very cautious and careful with who I let into my life. Which means it sometimes takes me a long time to meet people and develop friendships (I can safely say it took me a good year when I moved to Kentucky to develop some strong friendships). Conversely, my friend is very extroverted and trusting of people and is very good at putting herself out there and she builds friendships faster. There are positives and negatives to both and it is trying to figure out what is right for you.

How healthy is your social circle?

Social Wellness: The Daunting Task of Meeting New People.

This post was requested on Facebook by my friend Kalyn. Kalyn asked me to do a post on social wellness and how you make new friends when moving to a new city. Now, I’m going to be pulling a lot from personal experiences as I have moved a few times in my life to new cities. My biggest (and scariest) move was when I picked up my life and moved to Kentucky for grad school where I knew a total of 0 people in the entire state.

Please keep in mind that this is coming from an introverts perspective and everyone meets people differently. But here are somethings that I have learned along the way.

Meeting new people, for me, is terrifying. I’m very shy and extremely introverted. It takes a lot out of me to put myself in a room with strangers. One of the first things I did in Kentucky was go on a staff retreat to West Virginia with leadership staff at the place I would be doing my graduate assistantship. Hi, hello, around 100 people, all new and no place for me to escape because we were camping. Needless to say, I really didn’t meet anyone new and stuck out like a sore thumb. I was completely out of my element and I didn’t really make any new friends. There were definitely people there that were nice to me and cordial, but I felt so uncomfortable. So my first tip, is meet people in a comfortable setting/environment where you are going to be able to portray who you really are. I met some of my closest friends in Kentucky at work and getting involved with work stuff because I felt comfortable in that environment. Other people I established friendships through going to fitness classes and just being in the gym. That worked for me because these are a few places that I feel comfortable in.

My other advice is to get involved. It’s scary (again, for me) to put myself out there. But I have found that getting involved can help you meet people that share the same interests as you. If you are at a race, right there you have conversation starters with people and you can start to gain friends.

THIS is a YouTube video by Emily from Cupcakes and Cashmere. At around 4:25 she also touches on some good ways too meet new people.

I would also add to the conversation to have realistic expectations and be careful who you trust. I know for me, the first 6 months of living in a new place is about the time it takes for me to establish friendships. Setting realistic expectations for myself may be the best advice I have. I keep my social wellness fulfilled though by keeping in contact with friends back home (or wherever they are at). I also have learned the hard way to make sure that you are careful in who trust with your friendship. You don’t need to be friends with every person you meet (read:  not being friends does not equate not being nice, use the golden rule but know that you don’t need to spill all your secrets to the first person that is being nice to you).

At the end of the day, remember to stay true to who you are. There is no need to jump through extravagant hoops to get friends.

Do you have a wellness topic you want my input on? Leave a comment and let me know! Thanks Kayln for the suggestion! Hopefully this gave you some ideas and answered your question!