July is social wellness month, and I confess I had to look up what social wellness means.
It’s very simple. It’s the giving and receiving of any sort of social support, from discussing a life challenge with friends and family to having a water cooler conversation about Stranger Things and chatting to the barista who makes your coffee. Thanking the bus driver, waving at a colleague from across the street, smiling at a baby and its parents; interacting with our fellow humans and chatting about things big and small help us to feel connected and supported.
There’s evidence that people with strong social and support networks have better cardiovascular, immune and endocrine functions, handle stress better and live longer. The reverse is true too.
I get it now. Social wellness aligns perfectly with AVC Immedia’s values of humanity and empathy.
We take care to value everyone in our business, and that’s why I’ve started a programme of one-to-one meetings with all our team. My ambition is for AVC Immedia to be the best place anyone has ever worked, and I want to talk to everyone to understand what that means to them and what we can do to make my ambition a reality. I have some grand ideas, more of which later!
Social wellness is also about prioritising the individual and achieving a healthy work/life balance. I’ve mentioned before I’m firmly on the introverted side – my wife Heather recently bought me a Moomin mug saying, “I need solitude”. I do! I need time on my own to think and recharge my energy, to play guitar and listen to music.
But I also need people. I need people to care for me and people who support me. And other people need me. That’s the way we humans are.
My challenge to myself is not to leap into the latest work issue when I chat with my colleagues but to slow down and listen to how they are. Properly listen that is, rather than waiting for the earliest possible opportunity to leap in with my own view. I was trained how to listen when I was a Samaritan, but am I always as ready to listen as I should be?
The more I listen, the more people feel listened to. That’s incredibly powerful.
Listen well! It will do wonders for everyone’s social wellness.
Written by Ross Penney, CEO at AVC Immedia.