8 Essential Steps for Every Wellness Journey
Clearly, I talk about wellness quite a bit. That's because I feel so strongly that wellness is the prerequisite to true joy. Mastering the different aspects of wellness to find the proper balance for YOU is the key.
The classic wellness wheel consisted of five parts and included physical, emotional, spiritual, social, and intellectual. The components of wellness have expanded to where some incorporate as many as 12. I find that there are eight that are absolutely essential to your total wellness and life fulfillment.
Some of you will be stronger in certain areas than others, and that's ok and expected. What's important is finding the unique balance that fulfills you. While all eight areas do need attention, the amount of attention a specific area needs will vary. Don't worry. There is no need to be overwhelmed, feeling as if you must make immediate changes in all eight aspects at once.
Just simply accepting that there is more to wellness and opening your mind to the possibilities of how you can find balance in your life can open many doors to joy. Once you recognize that wellness is a lifelong process, it's easier to take it one step at a time and enjoy each step of the journey.
Now I want to tell you a little more about the elite eight wellness components and a small step you can take in each area to start making significant changes in your life:
I don't dare call physical wellness easy, but it is typically the simplest to understand how it affects your total health and wellness. Therefore, simpler for people to get on board and work towards change in their physical wellness.
The body and mind benefits that come from caring for your physical health are astounding. Eating a holistic diet with plenty of colorful and whole foods, and getting the recommended amount of exercise every week, will lead you to reach your physical health goals quickly. A balanced diet that limits processed foods not only prevents chronic diseases but also can boost your immune system and prevent acute conditions. Physical activity helps build lean muscle, improves cardiovascular health, improves balance, and increases mood and energy.
Step 1: Start Walking. Walking is gentle on the body, and it burns fat. Walking doesn't necessarily burn much energy or calories, but the majority of calories burned come from fat stores.
If there were a big three of the wellness components, emotional wellness would be one of them. Emotional wellness is actively working to enhance your overall emotional well-being and mental health. Even if you battle with mental health issues, you can still work to improve your emotional wellness. Creating habits that foster emotional and mental wellness will lead to a happier and healthier life.
By nurturing close relationships, creating healthy boundaries, not being afraid to ask for help, and learning to say "no," you can improve your emotional wellness.
Step 2: Practice Self-Care Regularly. If it makes you feel like yourself and refreshes and renews, then it is self-care. Schedule time with yourself if you need to. Put it in your calendar to make sure you set aside some "me" time.
Spiritual wellness is too often neglected because it can be a touchy subject for some or because it seems like it has to be all or nothing. Fortunately, that is not the case. The connection you feel with the universe around you and a higher power (whatever that may be for you) is directly related to your sense of spiritual wellness. Without spiritual wellness, hopelessness and negativity can creep in and even hurt your overall health and wellness.
Spiritual wellness is very personal and is practicing ways that help YOU feel closer to whatever YOU believe. That can be organized religion, but it can also be meditating, being in nature, journaling, or practicing gratitude.
Step 3: Be Grateful. Even when things are not going your way, I GUARANTEE you still have plenty of reason to be thankful. Take the time to think about everything you have to be grateful for and say, "thank you."
How can you be better if you don't know better? That is the fundamental principle behind intellectual wellness, as it involves how you use your brain. It takes time and effort to educate yourself and seek opportunities for intellectual growth.
Whatever stimulates your mind and increases confidence in problem-solving promotes intellectual wellness. A significant benefit of improving your intellectual wellness is reducing the risk for conditions such as dementia. Reading more books, doing crossword puzzles, or starting a new hobby such as learning to play an instrument are all ways to improve your intellect.
Step 4: Pick up a Book. Reading is an excellent way to improve intellectual wellness. Give a motivational or self-help book a try. It may be just what you need to hear to get you motivated for your wellness journey.
We are social creatures. Even coming from an introvert like myself, social wellness is imperative. How I nurture my social wellness will be different from an extrovert, but we both need those social connections to be healthy humans. Finding a balance between when to stay home and when to get out with others is essential.
Strong support from your social networks, from friends and family to neighbors and coworkers, will all promote social wellness. Having healthy boundaries with your social network and nurturing friendships will also improve this area of wellness. Attending regular social events and making community connections can be beneficial, but don't forget to skip the events that don't fulfill you.
Step 5. Phone a Friend. Nurturing your healthy friendships by reaching out not only when you need something but sometimes to just say "hi" or check on them is a great way to keep your social ties strong.