By: Karen Yontz Center Staff
August is National Wellness Month—a month to focus on self-care, managing stress, and promote healthy routines. But wellness sometimes seems like a buzzword that’s more focused on sunny beach vacations, booking spa days, and creating the perfect hashtag (#SelfcareSunday anyone?) for your Instagram posts. The truth is, if we focus on the root of wellness, which means creating healthy balance in all aspects of our lives, it can be one of the ways we can keep our hearts healthy.
The concept behind the wellness movement is the “Eight Dimensions of Wellness Theory” which suggests there are eight separate areas where people need to be healthy in order to achieve complete wellness. These areas are: emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, physical, social, and spiritual. Think about your life for a moment and consider each area of the list. Write down how you feel you are doing in each area on a scale from 1-10. For example, under “physical”, do you feel you are meeting your physical needs? Do you eat a healthy diet? Are you exercising? Do you visit your doctor each year for a physical and make sure you take any medications as prescribed? If you find any areas where you are at a 7 or lower, write down ways you can improve yourself in each. Keep in mind that you don’t need to spend money or do anything extreme to improve. If you find yourself below a 7 in your intellectual area, you might want to carve out 15 minutes in your day to do a crossword puzzle or read a book that challenges you.
It is important to check in with our whole self from time to time because as we grow and change, so do our priorities. Because of this, we may forgo one part of our wellness for another. The most important thing we need to remember is balance between all eight areas and that can be tough. Therefore, it’s necessary to consider how much time you have to devote to these improvements so that you don’t set yourself up for failure. Starting slow and making sure you recognize the small successes you have will go a long way to improving your wellness. It is also crucial to include positives in your changes. So much of our wellness pursuit tends to focus on the constant “Stop that!” scolding we hear in our heads. It can be tough to remember that we need to indulge ourselves as well. Take a glass of wine to your backyard or front steps to enjoy while watching the sun set, stick an extra $20 in your savings account this week, or find a room where you can sit quietly for 10 minutes.
Wellness is the state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal. The key words here are “actively pursued goal”. We need to be proactive in keeping ourselves well. Good health can only happen when we look at ourselves as multifaceted creatures as opposed to just a body we need to keep running. By balancing our eight areas, we can achieve the wellness that benefits not only our hearts, but the rest of our body, our mind, and our spirit as well.