Social & Cultural Wellness
Social wellness is the ability to develop and maintain healthy relationships with those around you. It involves having positive relationships based on trust, respect, and understanding. Having a healthy support system of family and friends means always having someone to turn to during tough times. Social wellness also means feeling confident when alone or with others. Social wellness is very important for your overall health.
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.
Social and Cultural Wellness Facts and Tips:
- 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
- Laughter and human touch (e.g., hugging) can improve your mood and overall health
- Being open-minded to new experiences and cultures is important as you adjust to your new surroundings
- In any relationship, it is important to always treat yourself and others with respect
- 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)
- Try to look at situations from multiple perspectives and resolve conflicts through compromise
- Observing others and asking questions can help you gain a better understanding of unfamiliar cultures and customs
- Be knowledgeable about the resources offered at the University and within the community
Parties & Gatherings
Sometimes student parties and gatherings involve high-risk drinking behaviour. While parties can be a way to meet new people, it is important to find a balance of activities so that alcohol does not become the focus. Sometimes students drink more than they feel comfortable in an effort to fit in or feel less anxious in social situations. Keep in mind that high risk drinking habits formed during university can stay with you for life, interfering with jobs, relationships, commitments, personal stability, and your health. It is important for you to be able to manage peer pressure and make healthy decisions regarding alcohol consumption.
Drinking & Alcohol- Things to Keep in Mind
- If you plan to drink, do so responsibly and resist social pressures to “chug” (i.e. drink alcohol very fast without breathing) or “do shots” (i.e. drink many small glasses of pure liquor).
- Never exceed more than one drink per hour.
- Don't leave drinks—alcoholic or non-alcoholic—unattended. Any drink in any location can be drugged, so ensure you are watching all of your beverages, not just alcoholic ones.
- Be aware of changes in your body and signals that you have had too much to drink (e.g. blurred vision, dizziness, fatigue, loss of balance, nausea)
- If you are severely intoxicated, you are more likely to be involved in risky situations (e.g. sexual assault, accidents).
- If you know you will be drinking alcohol, make sure you eat beforehand.
- If you plan to drink, ensure you have a safe way of getting home. Assign a designated driver and know the number for local taxi companies.
- If you are in a social group that pressures you to drink, you may want to consider expanding your social circle to include others with more varied interests.
- Be aware and remember that nobody should ever feel pressured to consume alcohol or take unnecessary risk in order to be a member of a particular community or group.
For more information and tips about healthy drinking habits, see Physical Wellness.
Adjusting to the Canadian culture and lifestyle is often challenging for new international students. In order to make the most of your experience at Western, it is important for you to feel connected to your new community. We encourage you to participate in both on and off-campus activities. There are many opportunities for you to connect with others with similar interests! Please visit the following links for some ideas about where to get started