If you google “wellness” you will find around 916 million results in 0.66 seconds. If you google “What is wellness?” you will get around 1.05 billion results in 0.64 seconds. That is a hell of a lot of results in such a short time, only proving today’s wellness hype and how much information is out there. On the internet you can find it all: the good, the bad and the ugly – also about wellness. So what is wellness and how to we achieve it?
If you search for wellness in a dictionary, you will find the following:
“1. the quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, especially as the result of deliberate effort.
2. an approach to healthcare that emphasises preventing illness and prolonging life, as opposed to emphasising treating diseases.”
Wellness is not something packed in a day at the spa, it is not that one healthy meal and that great nights sleep you had last night. Wellness is long-term and something one must work on constantly and continuously. Those that believe wellness is a goal will forever be lost on a road leading to nowhere. Therefore, we could say that wellness is a pursuit of being healthy overall.
According to the to the healthy magazine, for example, there are eight dimensions of wellness – all of which I think are tremendously important to our overall state of health and that I have read a lot about recently. Thus, I want to speak to you about these eight dimensions of wellness today and teach you the importance of keeping a healthy balance within all dimensions.
(note: if you google the dimensions of wellness, you will find sources that say there are 5, 7, 8, or even 10 dimensions – in the end, I guess a lot comes down to personal belief and grouping certain dimensions together or splitting them further apart).
Physical Wellness – is all about being kind to yourself to ensure a healthy body and self rather than fixing health problems as they arise. This includes watching your nutrition, your portion size, working out regularly, not smoking, drinking little to no alcohol, getting your Vitamin D in, sleeping enough, etc. Even small things that may not be of importance now, such as wearing a helmet when out and about with your bike, will become of utmost importance in an accident. Taking care of yourself does not mean yo have to be perfect in everything you do do, and it should feel natural rather than forced. Remember, what you do for your self now, you will be thankful for in 30 years time.
Emotional Wellness – is something rather difficult to explain yet highly important. Especially these days, when many people seem to suffer and fall, and are unable to get back up under the pressure of mental illnesses such as depression (think about all these recent people we lost due to cyber mobbing for example!), emotional wellness is of utmost importance. Emotional wellness means feeling it all: happiness, anger, sadness, love and hate. More importantly, though, it is important to tune in to oneself, understand where the feelings are coming from and (if possible) being able to control them when they become too extreme. Seek support if you are unable to leave your spiral of negative emotions and support those that speak to you about these topics. It is okay not to be okay – and everyone should know and accept that.
Financial Wellness – you may have not thought about this one immediately, but it surely is there. Now, you may think that money isn’t everything and you cannot buy happiness with money, right? Correct. Yet we all need money to pay our rent, to buy our foods, maybe that gym we are going to, that pedicure we do not want to miss out on or those restaurant visits (when the pandemic is over again). Depending on your own needs and lifestyle expectation, the amount of money you may need or wish for differs, yet it is there for everyone. If you have troubles paying your bills or need to skip on buying that organic piece of meat at the end of the month, this can lead to anxiety issues and stressful situations for many. Don’t forget that even though you may not have any financial difficulties, many others do! When you speak about money to others, be careful what you say and do not brag unnecessarily if you know your opposite is struggling. On the other hand, and very importantly so, do not think that speaking about money is impolite. It is of utmost importance in our lives and we should be able to communicate openly about it in certain situations (think about when you need or want to ask for a pay raise!).
Social Wellness – is all about our ability to successfully integrate into our community and finding our spot where we feel comfortable and make others feel good around us, too. Good communication skills have been taught to us since we were little (or so I hope) and it lies in our hands to use that skill and enter positive relationships. Whether that is a friendly relationship with your neighbour, a loving relationship with your spouse, family or best friends or with your community overall – healthy relationships prolong our lives and make us (and others) feel good. No need to keep that toxic person in your life!
Spiritual Wellness – can be looked at from a religious perspective but surely is not the only part of it. Spiritual wellness is much more about believing in yourself, having a personal belief, personal values, and allowing yourself the freedom to be who you are (and feel good about it!). To reach spiritual wellness, try spending time alone once in a while – go for a walk, meditate, try some new yoga poses or bake that cake you’ve always wanted to. Spending time with ourselves leads to understanding what is most important to us. Listen to your inner voice, what your heart wants and enjoy every emotion you feel.
Intellectual Wellness – is all about exercising and satisfying our intellect; our mind. Have you ever found ourself in a situation where you are trying to do everything at once, multitasking 5 tasks at a time and suddenly everything goes blank? That is because you have overloaded your mind and you did not train your mind before juggling all these tasks at once. And listen to this: you do not have to. Instead, it is better to sometimes just focus, to concentrate on one task at a time and to look at the bigger picture. Find out what the whole story is about instead of reading that once passage only, read more, appreciate, do and learn about art, teach yourself a new activity or get taught one. Keeping your mind active as well as knowing when to rest and enjoy the moment is super important to keeping our intellectual wellness in balance.
Occupational Wellness – really is all about being happy at your work. Whether you are a stay at home mom or dad, an artist, work as a freelancer or are employed at a law firm – occupational wellness means using your talents, skills and gifts to pursue and gain happiness in your (work) life. Are you happy with what you are occupied most hours of the day? Do you see yourself in this (job) position in 10 years or somewhere completely different? And if so, do you know what to do and how to get there? Ever so often we should sit back and think about where we stand and how we feel about our work and create a vision board of where we see ourselves in the near and faraway future.
Environmental Wellness – is not about preferring the Maldives over the city you are in right this minute. It is however, if you would rather live in the Maldives than (for example) Zurich. Are you unhappy in the environment you are in right now and are you able to change it? If you maybe cannot jump on the plane and leave everything behind, perhaps small tweaks are what is needed. The environment we live in often influences us more than we may think (positively and negatively). We may not be able to turn off the advertisement on the streets, but we sure can ignore those magazines, turn off that TV or the radio if need be. Certain colors are known for calming (such as blue or green – also go into nature), whilst too much of a mess causes most people to tense up. Keeping it clean around the house, or even the working desk, can have a much more positive impact on our moods than we would think. Try it!
Now that you have come this far and read all about these eight dimensions of wellness, think about how these look in your life. Do they all have a healthy balance and balance each other out or are certain factors, certain parts of your life making you feel imbalanced and bother you? Try less finger pointing at what causes these disruptive factors but rather think about what it is that you can change to make it a pleasant one.
Remember, if everything feels like it is too much – it probably is! Take a deep breath, or maybe two, and start over again. Slow and controlled. Seek help if you need it. Share your thoughts. Cheer up the person that came to you for help and be honest. Dance if the music is making you want to move. Bake if you feel like trying that cookie recipe. And love whomever and whatever you want to love!
Have a wonderful wellness-y Sunday Easter! xo