by Blake Herzog
“Wellness” is a status we all look for and aspire to, but it covers so much ground it’s difficult to even define what it is. Many experts approach this by breaking the topic of wellness down into distinct areas, all of which affect each other and support overall health for every individual.
One of the most-used models for explaining wellness is the eight dimensions embraced by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and many other groups:
Ensuring your body stays healthy by following positive habits including proper nutrition, adequate exercise and sleep and appropriate health care. There are many steps you can take to improve your physical wellness including eating at home to have more control over what you consume and building your fitness through workouts and other opportunities.
Keeping your own and others’ brains active through learning new skills and concepts, looking at issues from different perspectives and sharing engaging ideas and games with family and friends. Follow current events, join the library for access to more books and plan or participate in game nights.
Knowing how much income and savings you have versus debt you carry, understanding budgeting and other financial processes, and saving enough money to pursue your life goals. If you’re not satisfied with your current situation look for work you will find more rewarding or seek advice on paying off loans or investing savings.
Feeling safe from environmental hazards such as pollution and being able to access clean air, food and water, as well as having pleasant, stimulating spaces to be in at home and outdoors. You can contribute by recycling and conserving resources, organizing your workspace and spending time outside when you can.
Acknowledging and pursuing the search for meaning and purpose in your life and having an appreciation for life and the natural forces that shape the universe. Think about your own values, morals and principles while learning about others’, consider finding a group or congregation that will deepen your spirituality and try out meditation.
Maintaining healthy, positive relationships with your family, friends, coworkers and neighbors while caring about the welfare of others. Work to stay in contact with longtime friends while seeking out support groups or other ways to meet and engage with new people.
Being involved in employment and/or other activities that provide purpose and align with your values, goals and interests. Try to keep an open line of communication with your boss and coworkers, consider whether your job fulfills your talents and interests, and keep your resume updated for when new opportunities come up.
Being able to cope with stressful events and emotional challenges, express your feelings and enjoy life as much as possible. Learn how to cope with stress in ways that work with your lifestyle, reach out for help when you need it, and practice finding silver linings in situations you feel are negative.