The month of August brings a lot of thought and activity. There is a push to get last-minute vacations. School is starting, which requires new supplies and adjusting to new sleep patterns. August also brings stress as September is one of the top months for weddings. With all these changes and challenges, it is no surprise that August is also National Wellness Month!
The National Wellness Institute defines wellness as “an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence.” Often when we think of wellness, the focus is on our physical bodies. For a full picture of wellness, let’s explore the six wellness dimensions identified by Dr. Bill Hettler, co-founder of the National Wellness Institute.
Emotions are an essential aspect of our everyday interactions. These interactions can be with ourselves as well as others. Emotional wellness involves our ability to be aware of emotions, accept them, and utilize them as a guide.
Utilizing your gifts, talents, and skills can be so rewarding. It is no wonder the field of career counseling is growing. Finding a job that allows you to use your gifts not only brings fulfillment, but improves your overall wellness. If you are not able to find a career consistent with your values or skills, in what other ways can you be involved in organizations that do?
Physical health is important. Diet and exercise are contributing factors to many of the struggles people face. Connecting with a primary care physician allows for consistent check-ins on what’s working and what’s not. Physical wellness doesn’t need to start with significant changes. The secret of success is found in daily routines. Drinking one more glass of water during the day or starting your day by stretching for 5 minutes puts you on the path for physical wellness.
Did you know your social network is a predictor of your health and wellness? A recent study by researchers at the University of Notre Dame showed that a social network puts you in a position for greater wellness. With the advancement of technology, it is easier than ever to become isolated. If you have a social network, be intentional about staying connected. If you’re looking for a group, explore what community groups may be available in your area to meet people.
When was the last time you read a book, learned a foreign language, completed a puzzle, or went to a cultural museum? Engaging in creative and mentally stimulating activities is how you maintain intellectual wellness. As you improve your improve this area of wellness, you will develop personal resources that will help you live a more balanced life.
Spirituality means many different things. For some, it is a connection to nature. For others, they find spirituality in religion. Pursuing spiritual wellness is about finding meaning in the world and discovering who you are and your purpose in the world. Be intentional about fostering your spiritual wellness. A few ways to do this are: volunteering, meditating, spending time in nature, or joining a faith community.
National wellness month is a great time to reflect on various aspects of your life and person. As you explore different areas, you will discover they are inter-connected. Improving your occupational wellness will have a profound impact on your emotional wellness. As well, spiritual wellness improves physical wellness.
Start small. There is no need to tackle all the areas at once. Pick a dimension you want to improve. What small change can you make in that area?