This month the Healthy Lifestyles group at work is promoting Women's Health. One of the activities to do was a Journey Walk, where you focus on your senses, and then reflect on your state of well-being. Where are you, where do you want to be. This got me thinking back to the Aspects of Wellness.
Wellness isn't simply about your physical health. It's an overall state of well-being and achieving your full potential. Different sources list a different number of aspects/dimensions/categories of wellness, from four up to eight. I like breaking things down into smaller parts, so go with the eight: emotional, physical, intellectual, occupational, financial, social, spiritual, and environmental. This is a good site that goes into depth on each of them.
I decided I want to go through each and do the following for myself:
Emotional wellness is all about understanding your feelings, coping with stress, and building self-esteem. Some good goals here would be starting a gratitude journal, regular "me-time" where you focus on your self and recharging, finding a hobby to destress such as coloring or gardening.
Physical wellness is one most people are familiar with. Getting enough sleep, eating healthy, getting physical activity. You could set a goal to drink more water, exercise a certain number of minutes per week, or choosing a healthier snack option.
Intellectual wellness covers staying mentally fit, having an open mind, and expanding your knowledge. Creativity also tends to fall under this aspect. Schedule time for creative projects, learn a new skill, take some community classes, read a non-fiction book (either factual or inspirational), or do puzzles and brain teasers.
Occupational wellness deals with both the day job and the side hustle. Are you happy in your job? What does success mean to you? If you're not finding that satisfaction in your career, explore other avenues. Maybe you'll get fulfillment from volunteering, or starting an Etsy shop. Goals could be taking continuing education classes, additional training through work, working on your marketing skills, getting to know your coworkers.
When I was working a day job just to help with the bills, I was also trying to get into the library. After a certain number of interviews that resulted in second interviews and just being passed over "if we could have hired two...", I explored ways to make my resume stand out more. So I started volunteering at the local library, which led to substituting as a shelver for the county, which ended up giving me the references, connections, and experience I needed to get me where I am now. I am very happy with my current job, so now my occupational goals focus on my writing career.
Financial wellness is about managing your finances, having a savings account, knowing where your money is going. If you don't yet have a budget, make a goal to track your bills and spending so you can see where to improve. More goals could be to set aside a certain amount of your paycheck into savings, or create a savings plan for a specific goal (that dream vacation once the pandemic is over!). What debts do you have? What plans could you make to become debt free?
Social wellness is about having a support system. Create a network you can rely on, friends to lean on, mentors to learn from. With all the isolation right now due to the pandemic, it's so important to reach out and connect with others. Schedule a video chat with friend or family, join a virtual group of likeminded people, join a book club, schedule a date with your spouse/significant other.
Spiritual wellness isn't all about going to church and religion. It's about developing your own personal values, finding meaning in your life, and your place in the world. Goals could be daily meditation, subscribing to an inspirational podcast. Find time to relax, be quiet and alone, allowing yourself to retune with spirit, soul, nature. Know thyself so that you may know thy future.
Environmental wellness is being respectful to our environment. Take care of the planet, the neighborhood. Go on a hike, do a litter walk, recycle, plant a tree, conserve water. Appreciate our world and make it a good place to live.
Make it your own
What do each of these aspects of wellness mean for you? What can you do today to improve your wellness, whether across all categories, or focusing on one?
Mary W. Jensen. Author, poet, gamer, library shelver.