04 Jan Wellness and its 8 Dimensions – Know How to Use Them!
As 2020 ends, we find ourselves entrenched in today’s new normal, where being healthy is primarily defined as not getting sick with the pandemic virus. Our lives have become all about face masks, hand sanitizer, disinfectants, and social distancing. Yet, being healthy is more than being disease-free. Think of wellness as being healthy in many dimensions of our lives. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Servies Administration (SAMHSA) has identified eight dimensions of wellness to focus on how to optimize health. These include the emotional, physical, occupational, intellectual, financial, social, environmental, and spiritual parts. These dimensions are interconnected, one dimension building on another.
Notice an example of how our physiological health is directly related to how our minds and bodies are connected. When an individual is grappling with depression, it’s not just his emotions that are being affected, but the person can feel immense physical exhaustion or even become lethargic. Another person dealing with stress or anxiety can develop stomach ulcers or breathing problems from feeling overpowered by the situation. 2020 has proven that we need to know how to use these dimensions to protect ourselves, both physically and mentally, in this post-COV19 world. Here are some WWD tips on how to understand and use these 8 dimensions to create the right balance for our wellbeing.
Physical wellness is affected by physical activity, healthy nutrition, and adequate sleep. In the pandemic era, it may seem challenging to do this but find some physical activity that works for you. Yoga, pilates, or biking can be done indoors, thus keeping you within restrictions while providing an outlet to stay active. Physical wellness can also include the limits you set to protect your physical body. Set a standard for what you will and will not allow others to do around you. Abstaining from hugging or shaking hands and choosing not to associate with anyone not wearing a mask are some examples.
Social wellness is a sense of connectedness and belonging. The social dimension of health involves creating and maintaining a healthy support network. That can be challenging today but must be maintained. Make time to actually speak to your loved ones instead of texting, via Zoom, FaceTime, or another virtual platform. On the flip side, also recognize when you need quiet time or time to focus, such as while you work. Put a ‘do not disturb” mode to help keep balance.
Emotional wellness has been defined as an ability to cope effectively with life and build satisfying relationships with others. People with healthy emotional wellness feel confident, in control of their feelings and behaviors, and can handle life challenges. Working through life challenges, including this pandemic, can build resiliency as we learn that setbacks can be overcome. If you are struggling with something, you have to ask yourself: How can I take responsibility for this feeling and do the work that I need to combat it? Engage in activities that involve each of your senses: smell, taste, touch, sight, and sound. Listen to music, eat your favorite food, light your favorite candle, play with your pet, and watch your favorite movie or enjoy a sunset. All of these options are accessible, regardless of your restrictions.
Spiritual wellness is related to your values and beliefs that help you find meaning and purpose in your life. Spiritual wellness may come from activities such as volunteering, self-reflection, meditation, prayer, or spending time in nature. Signs of strong spiritual health include having clear values, a sense of self-confidence, and a feeling of inner peace. Make time for yourself in this dimension. If you are living, working, and schooling all at the same time, find some quiet time just for you.
Intellectual wellness is when you recognize your unique talents and creativeness, and you seek out ways to use your knowledge and skills. When you foster your intellectual wellness, you participate in activities that cultivate mental growth. Pick up a book, learn a new language or instrument, try out a new hobby, or even have a conversation that involves a topic that can be debated peaceably. Trying something new can help you have better concentration, memory, and improve your critical thinking.
Financial wellness is a feeling of satisfaction with your financial situation. Finances are a common stressor for people, so being able to minimize worry about this aspect of your life can enhance your overall wellness. There is no lack of instigators to cause stress, but having a household budget and sticking to it, selecting to avoid unnecessary expenses, and understanding what you can do with what you have will likely give you more peace and add to your overall well-being.
Occupational wellness is a sense of satisfaction with your choice of work. Occupational wellness involves balancing work and leisure time, building relationships with coworkers, and managing workplace stress. With remote work and online classrooms, this presents a new challenge. So find ways to still reach out to your team, knowing that keeping even that distant connection will produce better results. When work is getting done, you feel better.
Environmental wellness is related to the surroundings you occupy. This dimension of health connects your overall well-being to the health of your environment. Your environment, both your social and natural surroundings, can greatly impact how you feel. Since most of us are now redefining our homes as a multi-purpose space, work with your area to make it conducive to the needs. For example, put your workspace in an area that can be separate from your living space. Keep it organized and uncluttered. Can you sit on a porch with your laptop once or twice a week and enjoy the outside? Give it a try and see how a change of surroundings can prove to be beneficial.