July is Social Wellness Month. Staying connected to family, friends and community is critical for social and emotional wellness, especially over the summer months, when students may not see friends and others as often as during the school year. While technology can help us easily engage with people, there is no replacement for real human contact, which provides important mental health benefits and prevents isolation. In fact, research shows that living in isolation is as bad for your health as smoking or high blood pressure. Below are some examples of ways to connected with others and to help form new bonds:
- Take classes or choose a hobby – Two great options include the Irvine Public Schools Foundation enrichment classes and programs that are offered year round for IUSD students and also City of Irvine classes and activities, which provide a wide range of opportunities to pick-up a hobby or to connect with friends and community members.
- Get out and enjoy the many parks and open spaces in Irvine, especially the many free concerts in parks through the City of Irvine and the County of Orange.
- Call friends and family to check in and catch up
- Have a family game night or group movie night
- Schedule playdates
- Take a walk with friends, family or your family pet. Group exercise classes are also a great way to meet new people and stay healthy..
During the school year, there are several opportunities for students to join clubs and participate in school activities and events. Please check for communications from your schools, the PTA and IPSF throughout the year. Also, visit our Prevention and Intervention resource page for mental health , wellness and self-care information and resources at iusd.org/Prevention.
By nurturing relationships, we can help create a connected community and support positive mental health and wellness for our students and families.