Wellness. It's THE buzzword right now. I used to think that "wellness" just meant working out and eating healthy, but I'm discovering that it encompasses so much more than that!
I did a little research and I was shocked to find *so* many (reputable!) articles with titles like "8 pillars of wellness" or "5 components of wellness" and "6 areas of wellness"....so many! It makes complete sense, and the main areas that I found repeated are: physical, emotional, spiritual, and social. Those make up what we would call "whole wellness." Those can be broken down in so many ways, and many more areas can be added like environment, financial, and even vocational!
All that to say, it takes MAJOR awareness and effort to practice and maintain "wellness." The Global Wellness Institute defines "wellness" as the "active pursuit of activities, choices, and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health." I like that definition because it says that wellness is a PURSUIT! It doesn't just happen! I'm definitely pursuing wellness in my own life and want to share a few habits and lifestyle choices that I've changed recently and the ones i'm currently evaluating!
Let's break it down into wellness categories to keep us organized.
I used to think that this only included working out and eating healthy, but I'm finding out there's so much more to it! I started a birth control pill last year and the side effects were not fun! Hormone levels trying to balance out resulted in major breakouts on my cheeks and chin. I've tried a few new skin care products but I've only found one new tool (in addition to my old zapper!) that I think help at all. All in all, I have to accept that my body is figuring things out, and I have to do my part in trying to maintain healthy habits that I can control and leave the rest up to my body.
I tend to eat fairly healthy and cook at home most lunches/dinners, but will enjoy myself when I go out for dinner. Now that I'm married and living with Adam, I have noticed how much he eats...mostly because whenever he gets a snack, he offers me one! Now that I'm aware, I am working on thinking through my answer when he asks instead of just saying yes! I also eat fairly quickly and I'll keep eating if he's still eating, and not give my body time to realize that it's full. Being aware of this is allowing me to choose smaller portions and eat a little slower. This isn't a huge change, but all about being aware of new factors and how best to work with them. Do your eating habits contribute to your overall wellness?
I've always loved working out, but I struggled to get up for early morning workouts! Now that I'm married, it's like having a built in alarm clock! Adam works out in the morning and is really good at going to bed on-time (so hard for me!), so now it's getting much easier for me! I go to bed at 9:30pm and wake up at 5:30am. I really never thought I would be saying that, but I actually love it! Having a set bedtime and wakeup time has made the rest of my day so much better! Since I'm self-employed, I've never had a hard wakeup time that I had to adhere to each day, so I'm loving this new morning routine that allows me to make it to my workout class early and get it over with so I can move on with my day. Does your wake-up time contribute to your overall wellness?
This is a huge part of wellness - what do your emotions look like? I used to be a lot more volatile....something could easily affect me and throw my day off or make me angry at someone for the rest of the day. Now, I'm much more in tune with my emotions and can better communicate feelings with myself and others. Emotions are real and negative emotions are real; it *is* important to experience those negative emotions and let yourself feel them, but for a generally positive person like myself, I have to really monitor when I'm allowing myself to "feel" and when I'm allowing an emotion to dictate my day. This is different for everyone/each personality type, but being aware of how you react to different positive and negative emotions when they happen is a great place to start your emotional wellness journey. The Enneagram was helpful for me personally to dig into motivations and root causes behind my emotions, so I highly recommend reading about it.
One thing that I've embraced in my emotional wellness journey is thinking about what makes me happy and what are the activities that I enjoy. For me, I realized last year that plants are a hobby that I really enjoy! I feel calm and happy when I'm picking out a new plant, potting it, watering it, arranging it in my home...even reading about plants is interesting and makes me happy! That's a huge signal to me that I need to continue to keep plants as a hobby in my life! Think about things that make you happy and calm when you're doing them. I love going for walks, reading, and baking for fun! What activities and hobbies do you do that contribute to your overall wellness?
If you have followed me for a while, you know that I'm a Christian and that my relationship with the Lord is a big part of my life. I don't think any other part of the wellness journey is as impactful as the spiritual journey in my life. Spending time praying, journaling, and reading the Bible daily help keep me grounded. Spiritual growth is one of the reasons for my emotional growth. Learning more about God, his attributes, and the love he has for us continues to open my eyes to how I can love other people better, become a better spouse, friend, and person!
I almost laughed this one off and didn't write about it because I feel like COVID has really stolen our social lives, BUT that's not true. My social circle has definitely gotten smaller in the last year, but I think that's a good thing. It's also forcing me to be intentional about expanding it this year! I set a goal to have coffee/hang out with 30 new people this year! That's a good amount of time that I'm going to be spending reaching out to new people, planning a meet-up, then spending time getting to know them! I have no idea what will come from it, but I'm trying to be totally open to new friends and good things!
COVID didn't steal our social lives but it did steal our social routine. SO we have to regroup. Whether it's via zoom or socially distanced, you are in control and you can decide to meet new people, to dive deeper in your current relationships, to strike up conversation with a stranger (safely!), and make it work! Learn what you need personally from a social standpoint...time alone? small group time? one-on-one friend time? Learn what you need and then work to make it happen in your schedule and life.
I hope this helps you think about areas of your life where you can become more aware and potentially make small changes that will leader to greater overall wellness in your life! I love sharing things with you if I think they'll help you, so take some time to think about these areas today.