What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “wellness”?
Yoga? Meditation? Vegan diets and green smoothies and all that holistic health-related jazz? We know – there are a lot of differing ideas about what wellness actually means.
Let’s try and define it a little more clearly:
What is “wellness”?
The World Health Organization defines wellness as “…a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
Wellness is the active process of making choices towards living a healthy life. It’s less about being a “health freak”, and more of a dynamic process of change and growth.
True wellness covers many different dimensions in our lives that are all interrelated. However, the most important ones for you to focus on are the Wellness Triangle: your body, mind and spirit.
Here are some tips to help you optimize each dimension:
Overall, physical wellness encourages having a balance of physical activity, good nutrition and mental well-being to ensure your body remains in top condition.
Exercise is amazing – it improves your overall health, boosts your energy levels and helps lift your mood. Get yourself out of the house each day and engage in some form of physical activity for at least 30 minutes. You could go jogging, hit the gym, soak in vitamin D while brisk walking through a nearby park – or even engage in less active forms of exercise like yoga and tai chi.
Eat a balanced diet
A healthy lifestyle goes hand-in-hand with a healthy diet – which means eating a wide variety of foods in the right proportions, and consuming the right amount of food and drink to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight. Try to avoid processed foods, reduce your intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates, and cook at home whenever possible.
Get adequate sleep
Sleep is essential for wellness, helping to boost both physical health and emotional vitality. The average adult requires between 7-9 hours of sleep each night, while children and teenagers need between 9-10 hours. Do what you can to maintain a regular sleep schedule and practice good sleep hygiene, and consider a natural sleep aid if you’re finding your sleep schedule out of whack.
It’s not always easy to eat your way to good health – which is why we may need the help of supplements to support our fast-paced, ‘on-the-go’ lifestyles. Supplements are a great way to boost your nutrient intake and ensure that you’re getting all the vitamins and minerals you need for optimal health.
To determine which supplements you should be taking, you’ll want to consider your lifestyle and long-term health goals, and then carefully evaluate your diet and nutrition needs accordingly. If necessary, speak to a doctor and get a professional assessment to help determine what essential vitamins and nutrients you need more of in your life.
Intellectual wellness is about engaging in creative and mentally-stimulating activities that expand our knowledge and skills, while in turn sharing what we know with others.
By combining travel and wellness, you’re fueling your sense of adventure while nourishing yourself inside and out. Open up your mind to learn more about new people and different cultures, while also making sure that you get the chance to explore and experience new things.
Discover new hobbies
Hobbies are fun, and can be a great way to help you increase your skill set! Picking up a new hobby is the perfect way to push yourself out of your comfort zone and meet with other people who share your interests. Hobbies also allow you to destress and relax, while expressing your creativity in new and interesting ways.
Emotional and spiritual wellness is all about self-care, relaxation, stress reduction, developing your inner strength and discovering your purpose in life.
“The past is gone, the future is not yet here, and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment, we cannot be in touch with life.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
Mindfulness is about helping you achieve objectivity, distance and perspective from past/future thoughts that may be causing you distress, while giving you a much-needed break from the stresses of life.
One of the easiest ways to achieve mindfulness is through meditation – but if you find that difficult, you can practice being mindful in other ways (even with everyday things like listening to music, gardening, or cleaning). Take some time out of each day to breathe and focus on the present.
Negative thoughts can drain your energy and ruin your mood, and they’re not easy to stop once started. Instead of backing away from negative emotions, it’s good to recognize and accept them – and then release them, so they harm you no more.
Keep reminding yourself to smile and think positively. It’s believed that optimism and positive thinking may have some great benefits for your health, such as increasing your lifespan, lowering levels of depression and stress, strengthening your immune system and helping you build better coping skills in times of hardship and stress.
Steps to Achieve Wellness
So, you’ve made the decision to start getting healthier. That’s awesome!
There are many different ways for people to achieve total wellness, and the good news is that there is no “right” or “wrong” way to do it.
Follow these tips to start bringing happiness, health and harmony into your life:
1. Set wellness goals. Each person has their own wellness goals, and it’s up to you to determine what you want to aim for in terms of your health/wellness. Set goals that are specific, measurable, realistic and attainable (Eg.: “Starting today, I will walk for 15 minutes in the morning and evening every day.”). This will help you track your progress and determine success.
2. Break them down. Small steps are the key to making your wellness goals achievable. Break each goal down into smaller goals or steps to help you stay motivated and on track.
3. Get support. A little support from family and friends can go a long way in helping you stay focused. Find a trusted partner to keep you accountable, support and motivate you as you reach for your goals. That way, you’ll be less likely to forget things or give up halfway.
4. Reward yourself. Once you’ve reached your goal (or even your mini-goals), don’t forget to reward yourself for your achievement! Celebrate every win, no matter how small. You’ve earned it!