When you think of wellness, what do you think of? For a while, I thought that going to the gym and eating my fruits and vegetables was sufficient to be healthy. As I went through college, I learned about the dimensions of wellness.
Turns out, there are eight dimensions and physical activity and eating healthy was only one of those dimensions! On top of the physical dimension, there is: occupational, emotional, spiritual, social, intellectual, environmental and financial. Now that I mention those other aspects of wellness, it totally makes sense that we have to take care of those other parts of our life in order to truly live our lives to the fullest. The definition of wellness, as stated by the National Wellness Institute, is “an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence.” Let’s take the time to dig deeper into what these dimensions are all about and things that we can do to either maintain or improve on those areas we tend to neglect.
This dimension includes being physically active, eating a well-balanced diet and getting an adequate amount of sleep. What are some ways we can be active? You can join a gym and work with a personal trainer to ensure you understand the proper way to exercise. Maybe you will try group fitness classes that are lead by an instructor. Can’t make it to the gym? Try at home workout videos online. No time for that either? Try incorporating movement throughout your day. When you are at work, get up and walk around the office every hour or take stretching breaks. If you are out grocery shopping, park your car further away to get some extra steps in.
My biggest tip for eating well: always be prepared! We live in such a fast-paced world that we want everything ASAP. Do you ever have a snack while you heat up your food in the microwave? I do that too. If you have those healthy foods readily available, you are more likely to eat them. After you buy your fruits and vegetables from the grocery store, don’t throw them in the fridge in hopes that the next time you see them isn’t when they are all nasty. Wash, cut and divide them into snack size amount before they go into the fridge. Better yet, leave them on the counter and munch on them before putting them in the fridge.
Sleep I feel is underestimated. Make sure you get a sufficient amount of sleep each night. Your body needs to rest and deserves to rest! If you can stay on a regular sleeping schedule, your body will thank you. Go to bed and wake up at the same time.
How happy are you with your work and your working environment? Our jobs consume much of our time, so it is important that we find satisfaction in our job. You want to feel respected and have friends, and also feel comfortable talking to upper management. Many people experience stress from work. It’s important to know where that stress is coming from and do something about it. Are you working too many hours or have more projects to take on than you can handle?
Your emotional well-being encompasses your thoughts and feelings. It’s normal to feel an array of emotions, it’s how you react to them that matters. Everyone experiences upsets, some more than others. Are you able to acknowledge how you are feeling and then move forward? It’s important to have a way to express how you are feeling. Often times, one of the best ways is to talk about it with someone who will listen. You may also want to seek out support from a mental health professional.
This dimension may be personal to each individual. It involves our own beliefs and values. You should go through each day living by these but also be accepting of others beliefs and values. When you live authentically you are able to see the purpose in life and figure out where you belong. A spiritual practice may guide one through this process, such as yoga, meditation, relaxation, and prayer.
The ability to interact with others and maintain healthy relationships is part of the social dimension. This involves having good communication skills and developing a support system with friends, family, and co-workers. We are meant to interact with each other. Think of a time where you have had a meaningful conversation with someone; how did it make you feel? Another important aspect to this dimension is seeking out new relationships. Often times we get comfortable with the few people we associate with on a regular basis. Try meeting someone new!
Do you ever feel like you are just going through the motions of day to day life? If so, chances are you need to feel more challenged. It’s important to continue to grow and challenge yourself! Try learning about a new subject or take on a new activity. You should always be trying to better yourself and it’s never too late to try something new! If you are passionate about something, challenge your mind to learn as much as you can about it. It’s also important to be open to what others can offer you as well; you never know what door it could open.
Do you do your part to take care of the environment? How we feel about taking care of our environment can say a lot about how we feel overall. It’s important to understand the impact that we have on our environment and that what we do each day can have an influence. My favorite thing to do is use reusable grocery and produce bags! Think about how many plastic bags you or someone else uses when you/they go grocery shopping. Our immediate environment also plays a role. Are you surrounded by junk food in your kitchen? Do you spend time with negative people?
Whether we like to admit it or not, money is an important aspect of life. It’s critical that we are able to balance our finances or it may be a constant stressor. Have a plan for budgeting and make eliminating debt a priority. Emergencies happen, so make sure you have a plan for that too. Lastly, it’s never too early to start planning for retirement. Being proactive with your finances can save you some future stressors and leave you feeling less anxious.
Feeling like one, some, or all of your dimensions of wellness could be improved? Contact us for a free personal training consult.
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