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Student Wellness

Relational wellness

What is relational wellness?

Relational wellness recognizes the importance of nurturing positive and meaningful relationships in our lives. A key component of relational wellness is setting healthy boundaries that create a sense of safety and security for ourselves and others. Being able to recognize and communicate boundaries with our relationships can enhance and strengthen our social bonds. 

Relational wellbeing can be found in various aspects of our lives, including: 

  • Intellectual and emotional
  • Body and physical spaces
  • Gender and sexual identities
  • Cultural, ceremonial, and faith spaces 

Establishing healthy relational well-being can help establish meaningful and fulfilling relationships with yourself and others.


 Cultural considerations

As humans, we communicate our boundaries through verbal and non-verbal interactions that are influenced by our culture of origin. People from individualist cultures may find it easier to define boundaries between themselves and others. Collectivist cultures often identify relationships -- partners, family, and communities -- as part of their identity, making it more difficult to maintain boundaries.

It is important to be culturally sensitive to the ways people express boundaries. Bringing your awareness and respecting how family, friends, and partners approach boundaries can create a harmonious environment. Speaking about your practices with boundaries can help others to identify and share their customs.


Ways to build healthy relationships



Building an open and honest communication can create a healthy environment with your relationships. People should feel comfortable discussing their feelings, concerns, and desires without fear of judgment or retaliation. Creating safe and brave spaces for you and others can support feelings of inclusion and belonging. 



Establishing trust within a relationship can generate openness, increases closeness, and encourages safety and loyalty. is an essential component of a healthy relationship.

Trust is earned when relationships display the acronym BRAVING: boundaries, reliability, accountability, vault (keeping confidences), integrity, nonjudgement, and generosity.  


Mutual respect

Showing respect for our relationship begins with respecting ourselves, including our values and beliefs. This tool can help you accept and value others’ opinions, boundaries, and autonomy. Mutual respect allows everyone to be valued for their contributions, differences, and diversity.



Relationships should strive to balance power in carrying responsibilities and decision-making. Identifying collaborative goals and building resolutions to conflict can limit strain and resentment toward each other.



Relationships can have many purposes and carry different levels of support. Supportive relationship requires various areas of support and validation including:

  • Emotion: empathy, love, trust, and care
  • Instrumental: actions and behavior
  • Informational: advice, suggestion
  • Appraisal: strengths and recommendations for self-evaluation 


Signs of an unhealthy relationship



A person is trying to control your actions, thoughts, or feelings.



Manipulation involves harmful control, influence, or attack on emotions or behavior to achieve their own goals. 



Not accepting other's opinions, beliefs, boundaries, and/or autonomy.


Unequal power dynamics

A person is trying to dominate goals, decision-making, and conflict within the relationship.



Any abuse is not acceptable. Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse are clear signs to move away from the relationship and seek help.

When to reach out for help

It is important to trust your instincts and pay attention to warning signs in any relationship. If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe in a relationship, it is important to prioritize your own safety and well-being. 

Here is a list of resources and supports available to all UFV students:

UFV resources

Community resources

Please note that this website does not constitute, and should not be interpreted as, medical advice, diagnosis, or opinion. This website is for informational purposes only and is not guaranteed to be accurate, complete, reliable, or error-free. This website is not intended as a tool for self-diagnosis, is not a recommendation of a specific treatment plan or healthcare provider, and is not a substitute for proper medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek a consultation with a qualified medical or health professional.