What does wellness mean to you? The definition I found was “the state of being in good health”. So what is good health? I guess this can be thought about differently by each of us. Ask yourself the following questions: (be honest, go with your first instinct)
- What have I done to take care of myself in the past week?
- What energizes me?
- What am I grateful for?
- AM I physically active?
- DO I eat 3 healthy meals?
- DO I have a stressful life?
- DO I really know what the symptoms of stress are on my body?
- Do I have friends that make me laugh?
- DO I feel safe at home?
- AM I in a happy relationship?
- Do I take pride in my job?
- What makes me want to get out of bed to start my day?
- AM I happy with my current financial state?
Some of these questions may cause you to feel emotions that make you uncomfortable. Those are probably the parts of your life that are causing you to be anxious whether you are aware of the feeling or not. You know that you’re struggling with something, but you may not understand why you are struggling so much. The struggle might make it difficult for you to reach your goals and dreams. Knowing what is inhibiting you from reaching your dreams needs to be a priority in your life. Once you understand what is causing the blocked road, you can then start to work on slowly removing this obstacle to move forward.
If wellness means “the state of being in good health”, how will you achieve good health if you have emotional struggles? Chronic emotional struggles will break you down. It will strip you of our happiness and overall well-being. It will make you unable to enjoy some aspects of your life. It will make you unable to interact with people. It will make you sad. It will make your current life stagnant.
WELLNESS involves the following 8 areas of your life that make up your “Health”
EMOTIONAL- Emotional wellness to some means “I am happy” There is more to it than that. We need to understand that we will not feel happy all of the time. Part of emotional wellness is working through your emotions; what makes you happy, sad, or scared. You can process these emotions through writing in journals; talking to friends, family, counselors, wellness coaches.
PHYSICAL/HEALTH- Your body is the most important part of your life. You would not be able to think, breath, smell, see, touch, feel, or move without a healthy body. If you want to do all of these things it is important that you strive for wellness through regular physical activity, restful sleep and a diet full of healthy foods. Doing these things will also reduce your risk of illness, it will increase your mood and energy. This will promote a life that is balanced both emotionally and physically.
OCCUPATION/CAREER- You need to be excited to wake up and start your day. This means that you need to look forward to whatever you are doing during the day. Whether it is your day job, school or volunteering for something you enjoy. If you are passionate about your work, your life will feel more meaningful. A career that you love will promote wellness from you engaging in something that makes you feel as though you are needed and useful.
FRIENDS/FAMILY- You need to have others in your life. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs was a theory of human motivation; “the need for interpersonal relationships motivates behavior”. Social support is said to be one of the fundamental human needs. By having others around you to support you through happy and tough times, you will feel loved and cared for. It is important for you to connect with at least 1 person each day so you can stay connected and committed to a life of wellness. If you are struggling with something, reach out to a person in your life. If you want to accomplish something but you are having a hard time completing the task, reach out to someone in your life. The person you are reaching out to will help hold you accountable and keep you motivated to follow through and reach your goals.
SPIRITUAL- “The search for personal meaning and purpose”. (I am not talking about religion in this post). By having a healthy spiritual life, you will feel more connected and grounded with your environment and ultimately the world around you. To develop a healthy spiritual life, you can take part in activities that make you reflect on different aspects of your life. You can do this through activities such as yoga, meditation, going to a place of worship or even going for a walk. By you having a healthy spiritual life, you will feel more relaxed and stress free, leading to a well balanced life.
FINANCIAL- Struggling with finances is a huge stressor in all of our lives. If you learn how to handle your money, this can relieve a great deal of stress in your daily life; which will in turn lead to a healthy well balanced life. Understand your current spending habits; create a budget; cut down on frivolous spending. Try to save money for your future. Having financial stress has been linked to several health concerns and diseases such as migraine, cardiovascular disease, GI distress, insomnia, fatigue, anxiety and depression.
INTELLECTUAL- The dictionary definition of Intelligence is “the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills”. You need to engage in activities that stimulate your brain. I am not talking about scrolling endlessly on social media or watching hours of TV. I am talking about doing things that allow you to learn, activities that will challenge you. You need to find activities or hobbies that make you happy such as playing a sport, playing an instrument, painting, reading to learn, taking a class, writing a blog;) By having hobbies that make you happy, your life will feel more enriched, therefore give you meaning in your life.
ENVIRONMENTAL-The environment where you live, work and play will impact your mood and overall wellness. The goal is to spend time in an environment that is safe and makes you feel comfortable. You need to have the ability to remove yourself from places and situations that make you feel unsafe, uncomfortable and/or tempted to do something that you will regret; this is especially true if you are in recovery for issues such as substance abuse, overeating, or gambling.
Review the 8 areas above, apply them to your life
Now, go back to your answers to the questions you answered at the beginning of this blog.
What changes can you make in your current life to become happier, more productive and healthier?
Using the 8 areas of life, how will you go about making the necessary changes to reach your health and wellness goals?
Please comment in the section provided. I would love to hear your thoughts.
Tina Butt, Health and Wellness Coach and Healthcare Advocate