It’s been two weeks since I wrote a weekly wellness column. And there’s good reason for it. I needed time to prioritize my personal wellness, something many of us put on the back burner. For the moment that meant taking a step back from my column to focus on my overall wellbeing. I participated in, and trained for, my first City Challenge Race (a 5k plus 20+ obstacles). I sought out new social connections, caught up on sleep, reunited with nature, hyper focused on business. All of these things individually should be fairly simple to balance. But collectively, when life got in the way, felt more like obligations than self-care.
Personal wellness takes on different meanings to different people. However, there are considered to be eight interdependent dimensions of wellness. Each one contributes to our ability to live a fulfilling and happy life. So, what are they? And better yet, how we do care for them? Let’s take a look.
Our physical dimension of wellness is what first comes to mind whenever the word “health” is thrown around. It’s our physical body. We watch our numbers (weight, heart rate, cholesterol levels, intake etc) and workout.
To care for it, incorporate a regular fitness routine and eat healthy. Listen to your body and any physical symptoms of stress or injury.
As the Delta variant makes headlines our emotional dimension of wellness is perhaps taking the biggest hit right now: that’s our feelings. We’re unsure about the future, stressed, sad, maybe even confrontational in our beliefs with others. The emotional dimension of wellness is points to the relationship we have with ourselves and those around us.
A way to keep our emotions healthy is by understanding them. Be in tune in with yourself and those around you– positivity goes a long way. Seek out close relationships and carry regular conversations. On the other end, know that it’s okay to be alone at times too.
Knowledge is a superpower. When we educate ourselves we’re able to have diverse conversations, expand our interests, help others, and contribute to our personal growth and confidence. This is the intellectual dimension of wellness.
Whether you belong to an organized religion or not, the spiritual dimension of wellness applies to everyone. It’s about being in tune with our personal beliefs and finding meaning in our every day lives. That could be the physical act of showing up to a house of worship or simply denying people/situations that aren’t aligned with your values.
Listen to podcasts, read books, or join groups that contribute to your spiritual wellbeing. Basically, trust your instincts and let your heart guide you.
This dimension of wellness is straightforward. Live within your means and plan for a financially sound future. Each transaction, from your savings account to the morning coffee, is either a deposit or withdrawal from your life. Beyond just ourselves, the financial dimension addresses the awareness of others and acknowledging that everyones economic situation is unique.
Care for this dimension by making a financial plan or chart. Where could you do better? How can you achieve your financial goals? When it comes to money sometimes seeing a plan laid out is better than just imagining it.
We care for, or ignore, the occupational dimension of wellness on almost a daily basis. The work we get paid to do, whether it’s a job or a career, should contribute to our life’s satisfaction. This isn’t to say that we should all be actively pursuing our dream job in order to care for this dimension. It does mean, however, that our skills and talents should be put to good use and feel personally rewarding, emotionally and/or financially. When we do any act that contradicts our values or goals it directly impacts the rest of our life.
Take pride in your work by listing all of the things you enjoy about it. Don’t love what you do? Dedicate some time to a side job that you’re passionate about to balance it out.
The World Health Organization defines health as the balance of physical, mental, and social wellbeing. When we socialize we feel connected to those around us and it provides a sense of purpose. The social dimension of wellness speaks to our involvement with our community, friends, family, and romantic relationships (and let’s throw in our pets, too). It’s caring for others and allowing them in turn, to care for us.
Plan quality time with others or partake in community activities. Set aside a day/time and stick to it– virtually or in person. Avoid checking your phone and minimize outside distractions. By being fully present those around you will feel connected and truly valued.
The environmental dimension of wellness is a little trickier. It’s your physical surroundings and the way the environment impacts your life. Those in urban areas might find this dimension to be the hardest to care for as pollution (air, noise, light, litter) becomes so commonplace that it’s second ‘nature,’ so to speak. In actuality, Earth’s health directly correlates with our health and taking the right steps to protect Mother Nature only benefits us as well.
Clean your home, recycle, plan rural outings/trips, filter your water, or even take part in clean-up days. Learn more about your direct environment and the ways you can contribute to making it a better place.
It’s important not to feel overwhelmed by all of the wellness dimensions. They don’t need to be perfectly balanced to have a healthy, happy life! Take some time to focus on each dimension and evaluate which ones are running low. How can you incorporate a lifestyle change to ensure these dimensions are cared for? What habits can you incorporate? Every now and then carve out time to check in with yourself. It’s natural to feel overwhelmed and focus energy into pressing situations. But when we prioritize personal wellness we open ourselves up to a better world.