Being healthy isn’t just about looking after your body, you need to look after a lot more areas of your lifestyle than just your physical body. Today we’re going to take a look at some areas you may have neglected over the years and how you can make a start in changing all aspects of your health.
So many of you look at a healthy lifestyle in the context of losing weight, but there are many other aspects of being healthy that you need to be looking at. Being healthy isn’t just about eating right!
I personally think the key to living healthy is to follow a healthy lifestyle in order to give yourself the best chance of avoiding chronic disease.
It’s easy to neglect taking care of ourselves because when we’re busy and overwhelmed, we simply don’t seem to be able to find the time to take care of ourselves. Self-care prevents “overload burnout” and reduces the negative effects of stress, so it is essential for your health.
There are no doubts that eating right and exercise are crucial for your body as is consuming sufficient amount of water. “Calories in” have to be countered by “calories out” so making good food choices supported by working out are indeed crucial to take best care of your body.
You are going to feel better by eating right and exercising, but to feel good there is more you have to do. Having a full healthy lifestyle needs to be your priority. Taking care of your body, but also your mind and general wellbeing.
Having been a personal trainer and now a Life Coach, I urge my clients to create a good balance between all the important areas of life.
To do this I teach them about the importance of Wellness
According to the World Health Organization, “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” In other words, your health is about much more than physical ailments — it’s about emotional and social fitness, too.
“The natural healing force in each one of us is the greatest force in getting well.” ~Hippocrates
The best way to look at all aspects of a healthy lifestyle is to consider your Wellness.
Wellness is an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life. Wellness is more than being free from illness, it is a dynamic process of change and growth.
Definition of Wellness
“…a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” The World Health Organization
Wellness is a way for us to actively work toward better health. There are 8 areas that make up wellness and your target needs to get a good balance between all of them.
Eight Dimensions of Wellness
There are eight dimensions of wellness: occupational, emotional, spiritual, environmental, financial, physical, social, and intellectual. Each dimension of wellness is interrelated with another. Each dimension is equally vital in the pursuit of optimum health.
Emotional wellness relates to understanding your feelings and coping effectively with stress through self-care, relaxation, stress reduction and the development of inner resources so you can learn and grow from experiences.
You need to start with your emotional health. You can’t have avoided the recent upsurge in the news about mental health. In our stressful society it has become a seriously big problem. Slowly, we’re coming around to the fact that mental wellbeing is just as important as physical fitness in terms of our overall health. Your mental state effects everything from your blood pressure to hormones and resting heart rate.
We human beings are frequently subjected to emotions, some positive, others negative. It is essential for your health that you manage your feelings, dealing with the negative harmful ones as they come up.
How good is your emotional wellness? Check yourself against these statements:
- I’m able to ask for/seek help when I need it.
- I value self-exploration and self-improvement.
- I am able to recognize and manage the different stressors in my life.
- I have a sense of fun and laughter.
- I am able to feel and label my feelings.
- I express my feelings appropriately.
- I have a sense of control in my life and I am able to adapt to change.
- I am able to comfort or console myself when I am troubled.
- Others would describe me as emotionally stable.
Environmental wellness encourages us to live a lifestyle that is respectful of our surroundings. This realm encourages us to live in harmony with the Earth by taking action to protect it. It promotes interaction with nature and your personal environment.
How good is your environmental wellness? Check yourself against these statements:
Your environment and the greater global environment play a role in your wellbeing. How you understand it, interact with it and feel its impact contribute to how you live. Ask yourself:
- I care for and respect the environment and my community.
- I am aware of the risks within my environment and adjust my lifestyle accordingly.
- I preserve a calm home environment.
- I enjoy taking care of my living space and creating a positive place to be.
- I try to live an eco-friendly lifestyle.
- I make a point to educate myself about issues of global environmental significance and do my part to combat these.
Financial Wellness is where you successfully manage financial expenses. Financial stress is repeatedly found to be a common source of stress, anxiety and fear for college students.
How good is your financial wellness? Check yourself against these statements:
- I have developed a financial plan for my future and have a balance between spending for the present and saving for the future.
- I budget my spending each month.
- I have enough money to manage my living needs.
- My beliefs/values surrounding money are harmonious with my behavior.
- I have a healthy relationship with money.
Occupational wellness is about enjoying your work and appreciating your contributions. This dimension of wellness encourages personal satisfaction and enrichment in one’s life through work.
How good is your occupational wellness? Check yourself against these statements:
- I have a balance between work and the other areas of my life.
- My work has a purpose.
- I enjoy my work and am happy doing what I do
- I use my skills and personal talents in the role I have at work
- I do the job I want to be doing
- My work doesn’t stress me highly
- I feel optimistic about my current career and my career goals.
Intellectual wellness involves having an open mind when you encounter new ideas and continuing to expand your knowledge. It encourages active participation in scholastic, cultural and community activities.
How good is your intellectual wellness? Check yourself against these statements:
- I seek out new challenges.
- I have specific intellectual goals.
- I pursue mentally stimulating interests or hobbies.
- I have positive thoughts (a low degree of negativity and cynicism).
- I would describe myself as a lifelong learner.
- I commit time and energy to professional and self-development.
Physical wellness relates to maintaining a healthy body and seeking care when needed. The one area you all consider when thinking about a healthy lifestyle. Physical health is attained through exercise, eating well, getting enough sleep and paying attention to the signs of illness and getting help when needed.
How good is your physical wellness? Check yourself against these statements:
- I get adequate sleep and I wake feeling rested.
- I eat regular nutritious meals that give me the energy I need to get through the day.
- I get a total of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week.
- I eat a balanced nutritious diet.
- I practice safe sex.
- I do not use alcohol or use in moderation, am a non-smoker and avoid street drugs.
- I am generally free from illness.
- I am a reasonable weight for my height.
Social wellness helps you perform social roles effectively and comfortably and create a support network. This dimension of wellness allows you to not only develop encouraging relationships with peers, but also intimate relationships with romantic partners.
As important as eating right and exercising are, never missing an important family event, a night out with your best friends , or a meal with your family. We are social creatures and whether extroverted or introverted, investing time and effort into our close social ties is crucial to our ongoing mental health
How good is your social wellness? Check yourself against these statements:
- I am able to find the time to maintain healthy relationships with friends and family.
- I feel I belong to a group or community and do not feel isolated.
- I respect others and their cultural identities.
- I am able to resolve conflicts in all areas of my life.
- I am aware of the feelings of others and can respond appropriately.
- I have at least three people with whom I have a close trusting relationship.
- I am aware of and able to set and respect my own and others boundaries.
- I have satisfying social interaction with others.
Your spiritual wellness encompasses your ability to discover purpose and meaning in your life and looks at how in touch you are with your values, morals and a higher spiritual power
How good is your spiritual wellness? Check yourself against these statements:
- I feel an overall sense of peace and wellbeing in my life.
- I am aware of my own values and beliefs and respect the values and beliefs of others.
- I believe my life is meaningful and has direction.
- I practice meditation, pray or engage in some type of growth practice.
- I have a general sense of serenity.
- I have faith in a higher power.
- I have a sense of meaning and purpose in my life.
- I trust others and am able to forgive others and myself and let go.
To be healthy you have to deliberately choose to make sure each of these areas are in a good place. Making time for each of them will ensure you are making time for your health.
“There is no one giant step that does it. It’s a lot of little steps.” -Unknown