Wellness is quite the buzzword nowadays, and a daunting one at that. What is it and how do we achieve it? Will it cost lots of money? Or eat up time we don’t have? I want to be healthy, but do I know what that really looks like?
Oftentimes, when I think of the word ‘wellness’, my mind goes straight to physical health. Workouts, protein shakes, meal plans, supplements, etc. I think of the million-and-one advertisements from ‘experts’ attempting to convince me of a new diet or routine that will ‘make me well.’
But what if wellness is more than being fit and skinny?
True wellness, according to the World Health Organization, isn’t just the absence of disease, it’s the “state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being.” When we pursue the activities that make us more holistically healthy, we are pursuing wellness.
Now, if you’re anything like me, the next question that comes to mind is something like: What are the activities that would make me well? Or, more importantly, how much time will those activities take? It’s sad that prioritizing wellness is incumbent upon how many hours we have available in a day.
In a culture where our nine-to-five usually looks more like a seven-to-seven, is there enough time in the day to pursue what makes us healthy inside and out? Perhaps we need to reevaluate where we put our energy.
The 8 Dimensions of Wellness
If life was a pie, each slice would be a different dimension of ourselves. Like most of us, I want my pie to taste good. I don’t want part of the pie to be undercooked or burnt. To ensure no part of life is uncared for, we must first be aware of the different pieces that make up the whole. Once we discover them, we can begin to find what makes each part well.
Caring for each dimension of life looks different for everyone. For me, a mostly clean house and workspace breeds a healthy environment. Making a monthly budget and sticking to it marks my own, personal, financial wellness. Meeting with a therapist monthly keeps me mentally and emotionally healthy. While I’m in tune with these dimensions in my life, I often neglect my social and physical needs. Drawing boundaries in my work life is something I rarely do, which usually leads to burn out. When burnout comes, my wellness in all areas decreases because if one part of the pie is burned, the whole pie is affected.
“He who has health has hope and he who has hope has everything.” -Arabian Proverb
While we redefine wellness for ourselves, let’s also clarify one very important thing: Self-care is not selfish. When we pour love into ourselves, we have more to pour out. Taking the steps to create a healthy life, inadvertently makes the lives around us better. Whether it’s because we’re able to lead better at work or we’re simply setting an example of healthy living for others, we shift culture to one with wellness at the center when we prioritize it ourselves.
What would it look like if we put as much time into caring for our wellbeing as we do climbing the corporate ladder? My challenge to you this month, National Month of Wellness, is to pick three areas in life to pursue wellness. Not just ‘okay’ or ‘fine,’ but truly healthy and thriving. Perhaps it’s setting boundaries at work or spending more time outside or even taking one day a week to pamper yourself. Whatever it is, put your energy into loving yourself. I promise that when you do, you’ll be able to enjoy every dimension of life and love others even better.