Wellness is more than health. It is living fully. We believe wellness is conscious and inclusive, self-directed and evolving, holistic and multidimensional, positive, and affirming.
Wellness is fueling your body, engaging your mind, and nurturing your spirit. How we think about wellness is affected by our culture and our life experiences.
While all dimensions of wellness need our attention for us to truly flourish, there doesn’t have to be a balance among all dimensions. Instead, the goal is to find a personal harmony with the dimensions that are most authentic for you. You can’t get there passively, it requires active awareness, acceptance, and commitment through choices you make every day no matter how small.
1. Physical Wellness
Physical wellness is not merely the absence of illness, but about maintaining a thriving lifestyle. This area of wellness includes adopting healthy habits such as routine medical exams, immunizations, safety precautions, sexually transmitted infection screenings, adequate sleep, a balanced diet, regular exercise, and more. It is also about avoiding or minimizing risky behaviours like alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. Most importantly, physical wellness is about discovering what healthy habits make you feel better and suit your lifestyle and level of mobility and fitness.
Tips for physical wellness
Consume foods that aid in body detoxification such as cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, and cabbage), brown rice, and green tea.
Sweat out toxins with saunas, hot yoga, or exercise.
Work with a naturopathic doctor to identify food sensitivities that can cause inflammation in the body, digestive distress, headache, skin problems, and fatigue.
2. Social Wellness
Social Wellness focuses on connecting with your community and the people around you, which includes being aware of your own social and cultural background as a bridge to understand the diversity and depth present in other backgrounds. This dimension encourages taking an active part in improving your communities, connecting with others, establishing supportive social networks, developing meaningful relationships, and creating safe and inclusive spaces.
Tips for social wellness
Take time to foster your most meaningful relationships. Here are some suggestions.
– Go for a walk with a Friend
Try leaving your cell phones at home!
– Schedule in family dinners
Not only does this ritual create connectedness amongst family members, but research shows that, for children and adolescents, it’s linked to healthier eating habits, higher academic achievement, and increased emotional well-being.
3. Emotional Wellness
Emotional wellness includes: practising self-care; fostering inner resources and resiliency; finding unique ways of coping with stressors; creating satisfying relationships; empathizing with others, and being realistic about expectations and time, and knowing when to ask for help.
Tips for emotional wellness
– Gain perspective
When faced with everyday challenges—such as getting stuck in traffic or managing conflict with a family member—Knudsen suggests asking ourselves: “Is this the hill to die on?” Chances are, she says, the answer will be “no.”
– Get into a routine
Our adrenal glands—which help our bodies cope with stress—thrive on predictability. Thus, Knudsen recommends a regular sleep routine, including going to bed by 10 pm and waking up at the same time every day—even on the weekends.
– Seek extra support
Some things in life feel too big to handle on our own, such as job loss, the death of a loved one, or overwhelming feelings of anxiety or depression. In these cases, seeking help from a mental health professional can be an important way to learn coping strategies, gain clarity, and receive emotional support.
4. Intellectual Wellness
Intellectual wellness encourages participating in mentally stimulating and creative activities. Improving intellectual wellness can happen in and out of the classroom. It is the ability to think critically, reason objectively, make responsible decisions, and explore new ideas and different points of view. It also emphasizes lifelong learning and inspires curiosity.
Tips for intellectual wellness
Leonardo da Vinci was onto something when he said, “Learning never exhausts the mind,” and it’s certainly never too late to learn or try something new. Some ways to stimulate our intellectual sides include the following.
– Tap into culture
Those who attend sports and cultural events and places (museums, foreign films, or live concerts) are more likely to report good health than those who do not.
– Stimulate your vocal cords
Whether harmonizing in a choir or belting out our favourite tune in the shower, research indicates that singing may improve our mood and counteract stress. And due to its influence on breath control, singing can even help improve respiratory conditions such as asthma, shortness of breath, and snoring.
5. Vocational Wellness
Vocational wellness involves preparing for and participating in work that provides personal satisfaction and life enrichment that is consistent with your values, goals, and lifestyle. This dimension includes taking a thoughtful and proactive approach to career planning and assessing personal satisfaction and performance in one’s work.
6. Environmental Wellness
Environmental wellness inspires us to live a lifestyle that is respectful of our surroundings. It involves understanding the dynamic relationship between the environment and people and recognizing that we are responsible for the quality of the air, water, and earth that surrounds us and in turn, that social, natural, and built environments affect our health and well-being.
Our environment and the way we feel about the environment can play a big role in how we live our lives. Examples of our environment include out social environment (i.e. bullying, fat talk, and racism), out natural environment (i.e. air, nature, and climate), and our built environment (i.e. proximity to resources and living conditions).
Tips for environmental wellness
– Walk barefoot
A number of studies have revealed that many health benefits come from foot-to-surface contact with soil, grass, or sand—including better sleep and reduced pain—and that these benefits may arise from having direct contact with the many different electrons on the earth’s surface.
– Play outside
Pack a picnic instead of eating indoors, spend the afternoon hiking instead of shopping at the mall, or even plant your own garden.
7. Spiritual Wellness
Spiritual wellness involves seeking and having a meaning and purpose in life, as well as participating in activities that are consistent with one’s beliefs and values. It is more than prayer and believing in a higher being. A spiritually well person seeks harmony with the universe, expresses compassion towards others, and practices gratitude and self-reflection. When we integrate practices of spiritual wellness we are able to connect in mind, body, and soul.
Tip for spiritual wellness
Rickhi recommends implementing a deep, slow breathing or meditation practice for as little as five minutes per day, noting that doing so for 60 to 80 days will start to build neurons in the brain. Research supports his claim, indicating that meditation is linked to changes in our brain regions involved in things like introspection and emotion regulation.
8. Financial Wellness
Financial Wellness includes our relationship with money, skills to manage resources to live within our means, making informed financial decisions and investments, setting realistic goals, and learning to prepare for short-term and long-term needs or emergencies. Part of this dimension includes an awareness that everyone’s financial values, needs, and circumstances are unique.