Wellness is a philosophy of living that can help people live a more satisfying, productive, and happy life. Peggy Swarbrick
The beginning of the year brings many goals and resolutions for incorporating Wellness to reduce daily stressors and anxiety. The ancient Greeks understood this concept, and often went to temples to find relief from stress, and paid attention to their diet. The ancient Greeks prioritized relationship and self-examination as forms of wellness improve energy and vitality, and promote wholeness, harmony and balance in life.
Art, philosophy, humor, and spirituality were seen as lifestyle practices to creating wellness. Modern day wellness advocates have added dimensions to round out a holistic concept of an individual’s life. A wellness lifestyle includes a self-defined balance of health habits, such as adequate sleep and rest, productivity, exercise, participation in meaningful activity, nutrition, productivity, social contact, and supportive relationships.(Peggy Swarbrick, 2016)
Below are the eight dimensions of wellness that you can incorporate as part of your goals and resolutions for 2020. Now that the rush or the new year has passed it is actually the perfect time to revisit and reevaluate your plans. (Peggy Swarbrick, 2016)
Focus on developing effective coping skills and maintaining or creating satisfying interpersonal relationships. To do this you need emotional health, which comes when you recognize conflicts as healthy or normal, not devastating.
Goal: Develop healthy coping skills and improve my emotional health to help me create healthy relationship
- Stress Management Techniques – Learn to listen to your body to find out what reduces or help you cope with stress
- Meditation – It has many benefits for your body, mind and spirit (Set time for daily meditating)
- Seek Help – When feeling overwhelmed, anxious or sad – call a friend or seek professional help
This is all about connecting with others and your environment. It varies for everyone due to personalities, different interests, and what restores your energy. Strive to develop a sense of connection, sense of belonging, and a well established support system
Goal: Connect with others and become an active participant of your community
- Intentional Connecting with others – Seek friends or relationships that add value to your life and theirs too. (For example, a co-worker or neighbor you enjoy sharing a meal with)
- Community involvement – Participate in social events or community engagement
Lifelong learning and feeding your intellectual curiosity while sharing gifts or impacting lives through. intellectual pursuits.
Goal: Recognize your creative abilities, gifts and talents, and find ways to expand on your knowledge and skills.
- Reading – find books on topics you are interested in and not school related
- Learning a skill – For example, learning how to paint or make illustrations
- New Hobby – Similar to learning a new skill (Watching a movie in another language with English subtitles)
- Course or Workshops – For non-academic purposes but purely intellectual curiosity and interest (Skillshare and other platforms offer a variety of courses or check your community centers for workshops)
A wellness lifestyle incorporates fulfilling activities that and add meaning and purpose to your life and others around you. This dimension takes into consideration your personal goals, beliefs and interests as you are pursuing an occupation
Goal: Find personal satisfaction and enrichment from your work life
- Create a vision board for your career, business, or entrepreneur goals – For example, the trajectory of your career or business for 2020
- Career Services or Career Coaches – Seek help for your career vision or visit placement sites for better opportunities
The environmental dimension is about the different spaces or places in your life such as your living space, learning space, working spaces, and the community at large where you mingle with others. All these spaces should promote relaxation, learning, curiosity, contemplation etc.
Goal: Occupy a pleasant, stimulating environment that fosters your well-being.
- Ensure you have an environment where you feel physically safe, have clean surroundings, clean air, healthy food, and clean water
- Recycling – Become more in tune with your recycling habits or start now
- Awareness Of Global Warming – Be aware of natural resources and how to make small contribution toward its conservation
- Maintain A clean environment or surroundings
This dimension has two parts depending on the individual perception of what constitutes financial well-being. The objective perception of your financial status may incorporate your income, debt, savings, your knowledge of financial services and products, and budgeting discipline. The subjective perceptions involve how satisfied you are with your current and future financial situation.
Goal: Understanding of and satisfaction with both your current and future financial siruations
- Create A Budget – A flexible or fluid budget that you can adjust when necessary
- Take A Free Online Financial Course – Learn about financial matters
- Learn New Financial Habits – For example, how to stick to a budget
- Assess Contentment vs. Financial security
This dimension has many aspects, and requires routine. You must pay attention to what your body needs in terms of food, sleep, and exercise and what your body does not really need, such as excessive alcohol consumption, drugs, tobacco.
Goal: Learn to recognize and balance the need for physical activity, healthy diet, water and sleep.
Activities: Create a daily routine physical activities,
- Sleep – Sleep as your body need every night
- Rest – find time to rest your body from physical and mental exhaustion
- Exercise – Let it be your ritual for 2020. There are different forms of exercises, practice what works for you and your body
- Maintain appropriate level of productivity daily
- Use your creative outlets daily, even if just for 15 or 30 minutes, to help fight stress
- Meal Planning – Control how much you eat per meal or learn to eat in moderation
The Spiritual dimension involves expanding a sense of purpose and meaning in life through a sets of beliefs, principles, or values that shed light for your pathway in life.
Goal: The willingness to seek meaning and purpose in human existence and a sense of gratitude for the unexplainable in life or the universe at large.
Activities: Contemplate or explore your spirituality
- Seeking and experiencing freedom for yourself and others around you
- Worship or connection to a higher power
Wellness is about empowering yourself and others around you to live a healthy, meaningful, purposeful life. There is no one style fits all. Everyone has different needs, ways of coping with stress, and activities for restoring their energy and vitality.
“Wellness involves a sense of empowerment. Each day we wake up we can make choices. Empowerment goes hand-in-hand with taking personal responsibility for our day to day choices and our lives. Wellness and balance are defined by you, based on what you think is important and needed, as well as on yourpersonal goals and values”. – (Swarbrick & Yudof, 2009)
Swarbrick, M., & Yudof, J. (2009). Words of Wellness. Occupational Therapy in Mental Health, 25(3–4), 367–412. https://doi.org/10.1080/01642120903084158
Swarbrick, M. (2016). Wellness Activity Lessons: A Guide for Group Facilitators.
Freehold, NJ: Collaborative Support Programs of New Jersey Inc., Wellness Institute.