So, what exactly is overall wellness? And how can it be achieved?
Wellness is a state of being; a way of life… a state of complete physical, emotional, intellectual, social, spiritual, occupational and environmental well-being. It can be achieved by practicing daily mindfulness and aligning our lives with our values.
The 7 aspects of wellness and how to achieve it.
1. PHYSICAL – Physical wellness relates to physical activity, healthy nutrition, and the right amount of sleep.
Full body movement is my favorite subject to talk about and I could get long winded. But let’s keep it short… Exercise can reduce anxiety and depression, improve mood, boost self-esteem, minimize stress, and enhance cognitive functioning. We all feel way better after moving our body. Body movement increases blood flow to the body and brain, delivering much needed oxygen to every cell in the body.
— Mindful eating
What does your body want and need? Choose healthy food more often than not. Prepare each meal with love and care. Make time to sit down for your meal instead of eating on the go. Savor every bite, notice the smell, notice the texture and take smaller bites to allow better digestion.
— Restful sleep
Doctors recommend a minimum of 6 to 8 hours of restful sleep each night. It is said that the hours before midnight are generally the most rejuvenating. A good tip is to sleep eight hours between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., which will leave you more rested than if you sleep eight hours between midnight and 8 a.m.
2. EMOTIONAL – Emotional wellness is the ability to cope with life and build satisfying relationships with others.
— Allow yourself to feel
Accept all of your emotions. Laugh, cry, feel the anger, and feel the fear. We need to feel the negative emotions in order to truly let them go. Pushing them down will only lead to physical, mental and emotional issues. To be able to laugh at ourselves is associated with elevated mood, cheerful personality, and a sense of humor. In turn, having a sense of humor helps us cope better with our troubles and downs.
When feeling stressed, anxious, angry or scared… take a full minute to just breath. “Be mindful of your breathing”. Inhale slowly and deeply from the belly. Think of filling your belly first, then your lungs. On the exhale, imagine slowly emptying your lungs first, and then your belly. I promise you will feel calmer.
3. INTELLECTUAL – To improve our intellectual wellness, we need to nurture our creativity, curiosity, and learning.
— Keep learning and creating
Read a good book for fun, learn a new language, learn a new skill, play games, do sudoku or crossword puzzles, learn a new dance, or play a musical instrument. Start drawing, painting, or knitting.. you would be learning a new skill and also tapping into your creativity.
4. SOCIAL – Humans are social creatures that require connections, nurturing and support.
— Stay connected
Here are a few simple ideas to help you along. Participating in a group activity like going to the gym, joining a group fitness class, or dance class. Joining a book club or other type of meetup group. Making a point to have a weekly coffee or lunch date with your friend, mother, sister, grand-father…. Having a weekly date night with your spouse or having family game night once a week.
5. SPIRITUAL – Being able to love, to forgive, and to have compassion for yourself and for others, and taking the time to be in the moment.
We cannot change others, but we can change how we choose to react to others. We cannot change the past but we can choose to forgive. This may take time but once achieved, we are able to move forward in our lives. This forgiveness is towards others, yes, but also towards yourself.
As you learn through life experience, you also adjust and make better choices. Such this journey called life.
— Be present
On the flip side, you also want to be in the moment. When is the last time you “really” looked into the eyes of the person you are interacting with? Put your phone, book or pen down. Truly be present with the person you are with.
6. ENVIRONMENTAL – The environment affects our spiritual, emotional, mental and physical wellness.
— Connect with nature
Going for a walk in the park or biking to work is a great way to clear your head and get blood flowing. Something as simple as taking your shoes off and walking in the sand or grass can be very grounding and calming. Add some plants to your home or make yourself a garden.
Remove clutter from both home and your place of work. A clear space leaves room for a clear mind.
— Eliminate chemicals
We are surrounded by chemicals but there are certain ones that we can get rid off. What we can do is use natural products for cleaning your home, eat cleaner by avoiding processed foods, and use natural products on our skin and hair.
— Zero waste
The reality is creating zero waste is unattainable, but, we can compost, reuse, recycle, up-cycle and be more aware of how much packaging is used on the products we are purchasing. Every little bit helps. (zero waste ideas here)
7. OCCUPATIONAL – A job that doesn’t align with your values, that is uninteresting to you, or that is overly stressful will eventually wear you down.
— Happy at work
When you are doing exactly what you want to do in life, when work lines up with your values, when you find your work interesting…. you have achieved occupational wellness. Your work performance is improved, your interactions with those around is positive, and to me, that is a state of success. (Post: When you love your job, you never work a day in your life)
Finding a balance between work life and home life is super important. Find what works for you. Scheduling family time, play time and leisure time is a sure way to make it happen. Don’t be afraid to it all down in your calendar. You need to be and feel 100% to be able to show up for others at your best.
When we try multitasking, we are just spending our time in “divided attention. Once interrupted, it takes on average 23 minutes to get our focus back on task… What a waste of precious time. Solution: focus on the project at hand. Finish that first before moving on to the next thing.
Meditating does not mean you have to sit still and “oum” for 20 minutes. Meditating can take as little as 10 minutes from your morning or evening routine. Find a quiet place if possible. If not, put on some earphones and turn on a calming instrumental song (no lyrics to distract you). Breath slowly and evenly, allow your mind to wander and then bring it back to the present moment. It takes practice, but after a doing this for a while, a short meditation of even just 10min will leave you will feel recharged spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically.
Yours in health ~ Nancy