October 16-20 is National Wellness Week. What a great time to begin your wellness journey or to add a new dimension to your current regimen. Many cities have wellness activities planned for their residents.
As a reminder…the 6 dimensions of wellness are Emotional, Social, Occupational, Intellectual, Physical and Spiritual. Over this week take a look at your life and evaluate which of these six dimensions may be lacking wellness. Once you’ve found an area to focus on, take a look at what options may be available for you to help improve in that area. Next TAKE ACTION. I know, I know… this is ALWAYS the hardest part. But, like my mother always said, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions” So you’ve got to commit to taking the necessary action to improve your life. No one else can do it for you, and just thinking about it won’t get you far. Knowing what you need to do is a great first step. Let’s talk about some possible easy options to get you going in each particular category.
Emotional Wellness-one thing many of us do that causes us to be UN-well in our emotions is to set unrealistic expectations of ourselves and others. This week take a good look at your expectations, maybe choose yourself or one other person that you have expectations of, and determine if these expectations are realistic. Many people have unrealistic expectations of their significant others. This frequently causes major issues in intimate relationships. This week may be a good time to evaluate your expectations and a good time to have a discussion about them. Having clear expectations of ourselves and others leads to better emotional wellness.
Social Wellness-it’s widely acknowledged that humans have a basic need to “belong”. This need is often fulfilled by family, however, in today’s world many families are dispersed. This leads to the necessity to find an alternate place to belong. Some find that sense of belonging at a place of worship, others increasingly find it by joining clubs or groups. Finding a group of people with a similar interest or hobby can provide the connection that humans need. This week I encourage you to seek out a new group to engage with. If you are already part of a group, but perhaps are not very active, I encourage you to consider taking a more active role, and deepening your connections. For some, joining a group is WAY outside their comfort zone. I assure you, taking that first step is difficult for most people, but usually it’s worth it. Less effective, but still worth the effort if joining a club just isn’t going to happen for you, an online group can work. There are groups for almost anything you have an interest in!
Occupational Wellness– this is probably the toughest one to tackle. For many people the job they have is a necessity and moving jobs is not always feasible. If you are in a situation where your occupation is causing you a lot of stress, maybe you can take this week to do a personal inventory and find out to what your personality is best suited. Knowing this is a big step in taking other steps to improving your occupational wellness. If moving jobs is absolutely outside the realm of possibility for you, perhaps you can look at the job you have to see if there is anything you can do to improve it. Can you adjust the hours you work? Can you rearrange the furniture or materials in the area you work in most? Can you get on a committee that would allow you to have an impact on the workplace? What other things might you do to improve your work conditions?
Intellectual Wellness-this is one where I tend to cut myself short. I haven’t read a book for pleasure since early this year (around sp
ring break!) As busy individuals it is easy to get caught up in our day to day lives, and of those around us. But we need to feed our brains also! Maybe you don’t have time to read a book, so think about picking up a new magazine. Preferably one that doesn’t have anything to do with your job, family, or home life. Depending on your personality, feeding your brains may include doing puzzles or meditating. Take some time this week to find a new way to feed your brain.
Physical Wellness– this is the first thing that comes to most people’s minds when the word wellness is used. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, this is one area I feel I do pretty well in. Being physically active and eating a healthy diet are two things that I have worked on for a very long time. For many others it’s fairly new, and still others find it a constant struggle to become physically well. I like to encourage people to begin by looking at one area of their diet that could use improvement. For example, if you are a soda/pop drinker commit to replacing two sodas a day with water for one week. The next week try replacing three sodas a day, etc, until you are down to 0 or 1 soda a day. Your body wil
l be so much happier! If it’s not soda, then maybe you want to add one additional serving of a fruit or vegetable to your day, or eliminate a sweet. Anyway, you get the picture, baby steps…pick one thing and commit to improving it. To improve physical fitness, take the stairs one flight instead of the elevator (get on at the second floor!) Park as far as possible from the front door of work, etc. The same principle applies here as it does to diet…baby steps. Each little step you take in the right direction will eventually compound your efforts! Pick one new thing to improve upon this week!
Spiritual Wellness-spiritual wellness is having a sense of purpose for your life. Some people achieve this through their work, however, for most it means finding something to do outside of work that they find rewarding. A great way to increase your spiritual wellness is to be of service to others. So this week, you could look at what causes you may have a passion for advancing and get involved by volunteering! Even if your first step is just to fill out a volunteer application it is a step in the right direction. There are causes that need support in almost everything under the sun. Many things you may never have thought of! Determine your interest and then ask the internet if there is a non-profit for it, I’ll bet you’ll be surprised at what you find!
Every small step you take in any of these six categories can start you on the right path to increasing your overall wellness. So this week, take a good look, and make some change! You’ll be glad you did.