If you’re putting in the time at the gym and eating well, you may think you’re doing enough for your health. While both of those habits are a great start toward a healthier lifestyle, expand your focus not just to health, but to wellness. It’s time to tend to your well-being through a wellness-centered approach. To achieve a happy and fulfilling quality of life, aim to nurture your well-being in all seven dimensions of wellness: physical, intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual, occupational and environmental.
Physical wellness encompasses everything from exercise and eating right to getting enough sleep and to limiting your exposure to or use of harmful substances: everything you need to keep your body healthy.
When we think of wellness, we often think first of physical wellness, but the other dimensions are just as important.
Engage your mind, explore whatever piques your curiosity and engage with others and the world around you. To maintain your intellectual wellness, be a lifelong learner. For some, this may be learning a new language or to play an instrument, exploring an unfamiliar culture, or even taking up a new hobby. Think of it as a workout for your brain and a good way to stay sharp as you age.
How do you feel emotionally on a given day? Are you able to cope with stress? Understanding your emotions and finding emotional balance will set you well on your way to emotional wellness, but you can flex your emotional muscles through gratitude and mindfulness as well. Remember that emotional wellness isn’t about being happy all the time, but rather being able to accept life’s ups and down and cope with both the stressors of daily life as well as stressful life events.
Forge and nurture meaningful relationships to care for your social wellness. Humans are social creatures and benefit greatly from a social support network of friends and family. Engaging with friends and family in a meaningful way can even help cope with stress. You don’t have to be the life of the party, but having a good friend you can count on and making social wellness a priority can boost both your mood and your quality of life.
When you think of spiritual wellness, you may conjure up images of prayer or meditation, but spiritual wellness is among the most personal dimensions of wellness--and there’s no right way to experience spirituality.
Living a spiritual life means simply living life in line with your values and beliefs and connecting those values to the greater world around you, whether or not that includes belief in a higher power. For some, prayer and meditation are spiritual practice. Others still may practice yoga or spend time in nature.
Occupational wellness all comes down to doing work you love and applying your skills and talents in a manner you find meaningful. But even your dream job may not be enough to achieve occupational wellness. Strong and positive relationships with colleagues and a good work-life balance are necessary as well.
A baseline of environmental wellness can be achieved by living in spaces that are safe and not detrimental to your health, but environmental wellness means much more.
Realizing your impact on the natural world and taking positive steps toward reducing that impact are an important part of environmental wellness, so recycle, use water wisely and do what you can to reduce pollution (like carpooling, taking public transit or even bicycling to work).
Seven dimensions may sound like a lot to juggle, but here’s the good news: many activities can help you find balance across several dimensions of wellness. Taking a hike with a friend targets both physical and social wellness, but can also boost environmental and even spiritual wellness. Learning a new skill and volunteering provide excellent opportunities for intellectual wellness, but these activities can also be social and spiritual.
Consider these seven dimensions of wellness and how you can incorporate activities into your life that nourish them. Take time to think or even journal about what aspects of your wellness that you haven’t been tending to. As you reflect, consider what you could do to boost weak areas of wellness. Start with small and simple steps like calling up a friend to catch up or trying something new. Then, set wellness goals just as you would any other goals. If you’ve got a goal-tracking system that works for you, whether it’s a mobile app or pen and paper, fit your wellness goals into that framework. Then, take action to create a happier, healthier life. Continue to reflect and adapt if necessary, tailoring your wellness goals as you see what works and what doesn’t. Wellness is a lifelong activity and while it make take some work and revisiting every so often, the life you build will be well worth it.
Sara Vallejo is a self-confessed happiness, health and self-development junkie from Chicago. She writes professionally in a business development and marketing capacity, and as a volunteer for a digital nonprofit. Miss Vallejo is a passionate mental and holistic health advocate who believes that good health is an ongoing journey best undertaken with supportive peers. Sara’s areas of expertise include nutrition, weight loss, women’s health, mental health and disability issues. She is returning to weight loss and fitness following orthopedic surgery and is excited to encourage and inspire fellow Azumio community members and readers to achieve the best health they can.
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