Updated: Apr 5
Wellness is a word that gets thrown around a lot. There is a whole wellness movement going on right now and it means something different to everyone. To me wellness is making a conscious effort everyday to better your overall health including: physical, mental, occupational, intellectual, spiritual, social, and environmental health. These 7 things are called the 7 dimensions of wellness and to me they cover every aspect of wellness.
A lot of the time I see my clients getting caught up with trying to find balance in all 7 dimensions at once, or they focus solely on exercise and nutrition, but I don't think that's sustainable. And is it really possible to have balance in all 7 dimensions 100% of the time? Probably not, and if you have found 100% balanced wellness 24/7 in each dimension please share your secrets with the rest of us!
But perfection in each dimension shouldn't be something we expect of ourselves. That doesn't mean we don't strive to keep improving each category. I recommend focusing on one thing at a time. If you have been feeling mentally drained lately focus on improving that dimension of your health, the next day focus on another category. Finding balance is not about finding perfection, it's about listening to what YOU need in that moment and making a plan to fulfill that need.
Here are some of the things that you can do to improve your overall wellness:
Stay Active - Even if it's a 15 minute walk at lunch, or a couple exercises I do at my desk when I have a break at work. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, or park further away from work and walk in.
Drink Water- Aim for half your body weight in ounces, but work your way up to that amount. I use a pink, sparkly water bottle because it catches my eye so I am more likely to drink out of it more often.
Read- Read a new book either for fun or to learn.
Listen to A Podcast - instead of listening to music in the car turn on a podcast and learn something new! Have it queue'd up and ready to go for your commute.
Take a Hot Bath - I don't know about you but this always helps me relax after a stressful day.
Happy Hour- If you are lacking in the social dimension call up some friends for happy hour (which doesn't always mean drinks, it can be going for a walk or hike, having a game night, or making a nutritious meal together).
Take a Day Off - A mental health day is something I think everyone should take once in a while, and to me they are just as important as days off when you are feeling physically ill.
Go Outside - Soak up some vitamin D and fresh air to clear your mind and help you feel more focused.
Eat the Chocolate - Rather than restrict yourself from eating something you want to eat but might not be that healthy, give yourself permission to eat a little of it everyday. After a while you may find that you don't want as much of it because you can have some any time!
Diaphragmatic Breathing - Practicing diaphragmatic breathing can help you relax because it stimulates your vagus nerve, which regulates our flight or fight and rest and digest response. Try it out and try not to fall asleep!
Meditate- Meditating can help relieve stress and anxiety. The app insight timer has hundreds of free meditations of all different lengths and for specific things like anxiety, stress, sleep, and more.
Plan Your Meals - Having a plan for meals for the week and grocery shopping at the beginning of the week can help lower the stress that can be felt trying to figure out meals as the week goes on. Planning ahead can also help decrease how often we eat out for meals.
Unplug- Put the electronics away at least an hour before bed. This will help your mind and body to relax and wind down at the end of the day.
Change Your Environment - Create a space that makes it easy to make healthy choices: don't buy a big bag of potato chips, buy a small bag instead so that your craving is satisfied but there aren't more for later. Or place the remote further away so you have to get up and walk to get it.
Prep For Tomorrow - Get out your workout clothes for tomorrow so that they are ready to go when you get home, or bring a packed gym back with you to work.
Do Things You Enjoy - For me this means making time to scrapbook! Find what you enjoy and make a little time for it each week.
Gym Buddy - Having a support system that you can rely on in tough times is so helpful. Ask a friend or your significant other to workout with you. It should be someone who will help hold you accountable and won't back out at the drop of a hat.
Eat Real Food - Shop on the perimeter of the grocery store, this is where most nutrient dense, real foods are kept. As a rule of thumb if sugar is in the top 3-5 ingredients avoid it, or if you can't say some of the words in the ingredient list put it back.
Do Something Spiritual - This means something different to everyone. Whether you feel spiritual at church, on a hike in the woods, or at a bunco party. Do something that makes your spirit feel fulfilled.
Give Yourself a Break - No one is perfect, balance is near impossible to achieve in every aspect of life so don't put so much pressure on yourself to achieve it.
Whatever wellness means to you, do your best and take it one day at a time. For me sometimes wellness means sitting on the beach with a glass of wine!