One of the first things we might do before going on a long road trip is to take our car to the shop for a checkup, because the last thing we want is to spend a lot of time waiting for roadside assistance from blown out tires, engine failure, or an accident caused by shallow and worn out treads. It can bring down everyone’s mood and mess up our game plan.
But when everything’s running smoothly and there’s nothing to worry about except choosing what snack to munch on or what playlist to listen to, it makes the journey less stressful and that much more pleasant and enjoyable—much like how our bodies work and react when in an optimal state.
Being healthy is not just about eating your greens, working out and making sure your physical and mental state is in good condition. When you see yourself as a sum of different parts that make a whole, it can help identify your weak areas and achieve specific goals so that you can be at your optimal state. Ultimately, you don’t want to just get by and survive in life, but you want to thrive and become the best YOU so that you can live life to the fullest.
Enter the wellness wheel, which gives you a visual way to assess yourself in eight areas of your life. Seeing yourself multidimensionally helps answer questions about what state you’re currently in and what you need to work on.
Emotional wellness is the ability to cope with and manage feelings of stress, sadness, anger, hurt, fear, and negativity in a healthy manner. Improvements include learning to control emotions, practicing gratitude and mindfulness, and choosing to be positive and hopeful.
Environmental wellness is being mindful of your surroundings and creating a space that inspires and supports your well-being. You don’t have to be the next Marie Kondo or an environmentalist, but it can be as simple as making your living space clean and organized and being conscientious about the environment by recycling, not being wasteful, and being a good steward of the earth.
Financial wellness is how you think about money and manage it. It’s making sure you don’t spend beyond your means and have a plan and budget in place for your finances. It also includes learning how to save for the future.
Intellectual wellness is opening your minds to new ideas, knowledge, skills and experiences. This can be achieved by reading, learning new activities and being more aware of social and political issues.
Occupational wellness is finding personal satisfaction and fulfillment from your work. This can come from doing tasks you enjoy and can grow from, and being able to use your talents and abilities to help others or make a difference.
Physical wellness is keeping your body healthy through physical activity, eating the right foods, getting enough minerals and vitamins, receiving the required medical attention and dental treatments, and sleeping well.
Social wellness is the ability to relate and connect with others including friends, family, and co-workers in a healthy way. This can come from having a strong support network or community that gives you a sense of belonging. It’s also about how you interact with others who are different from you and knowing how to treat them with respect.
Spiritual wellness is about finding and growing a sense of purpose and meaning in life, which comes through your beliefs and values.
If you’ve already started thinking about what to work on as you were reading down the list, you’re on the right track. To make your efforts more effective, jot down each category in a notebook or bullet journal and start laying out a plan for each week. It can start with one small goal for each category. For instance, a goal-oriented action step for the emotional wellness category could be “list five things I’m grateful for at the end of each day.” For the environmental wellness category, an action step could be “make my bed right after I wake up,” which will help set the tone for starting the day off with an organized and clear mind.
Make sure to monitor your progress each week and add new goals every month, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a healthier and happier you by taking a holistic approach to wellness.
About the Contributor:
Annie is a digital marketer with a background in journalism and magazine publishing. In her spare time, she enjoys writing and is all about health and wellness.