The term wellness has been applied in many ways. Although there might be different views on what wellness encompasses, the National Wellness Institute–along with the help of leaders in health and wellness–shared many interpretations and models of wellness. Through this discussion, there appears to be general agreement that:
- Wellness is a conscious, self-directed and evolving process of achieving full potential
- Wellness is multidimensional and holistic, encompassing lifestyle, mental and spiritual well-being, and the environment
- Wellness is positive and affirming
One can reach an optimal level of wellness by understanding how to maintain and optimize dimensions of wellness. In this blog post we will cover elements and ways of achieving Financial, Occupational, Physical and Emotional Wellness.
Financial worries are a leading cause of stress for Americans today and the need to address this in the total wellness picture cannot be overstated.
Financial Wellness is having an understanding of your financial situation and taking care of it in such a way that you are prepared for financial changes. It is an intricate balance of the mental, spiritual, and physical aspects of money.
Elements of Financial Wellness
To be financially well, an individual must have an understanding of their spending, including what they are spending their money on, groceries, clothing, coffee shops, and how much they are spending. Most importantly, an individual must spend less then they earn so they are able to set aside money to reach their financial goals.
Planning for emergencies is a key component of financial wellness. Personal finance experts across the country recommend 3-5 months of income saved in a separate account for financial emergencies. Without sufficient emergency savings it is very difficult to be financially well as any unforeseen event can undo all the positive financial behaviors of an individual’s past.
Guidance is the most important component of financial wellness. With so many products and services in the marketplace designed to separate an individual from their money, we all need an independent and trustworthy source of information to guide us toward the right decisions.
Your Company might provide you with great benefits programs. However, many may struggle to understand and use all of their benefits effectively. To be financially well, individuals must understand their benefits and be able to maximize the benefit they receive from the packages they are offered.
In order to build wealth individuals must find long-term investments and diversify their portfolios. Knowing what to invest in and what to avoid has become a multi-billion dollar industry. To be successful, an individual must understand how to invest their money.
The occupational dimension of wellness is involved in preparing for work in which one will gain personal satisfaction and find enrichment in one’s life through work. Traveling a path toward your occupational wellness, you’ll contribute your unique gifts, skills and talents to work that is personally meaningful and rewarding. It focuses on our search for a calling and involves exploring various career options and finding where you fit.
Elements of Occupational Wellness
- Engaging in professional development
- Volunteering and contributing to the community
- Maintaining work/life balance
- Having satisfying work
- Being visionary
Here are some ways to achieve Occupational Wellness while at work:
- Take a break! Taking breaks actually improves job performance, and it also helps reduce overall work stress.
- Make a list, and be realistic. To maximize your to-do list’s effectiveness, make sure that you keep it relatively short. This will force you to prioritize your projects. Place items on the list in order of importance, and make sure to give yourself some breathing room.
- Organize your workspace. A clean, neat and organized workspace makes it much easier to keep track of everything that is going on, reducing feelings of anxiety.
- Take a class. If you’re considering changing careers, or if you just want to sharpen your skills for your current job, signing up for a class is a great place to start. Learning more about what you’re doing will help you feel more comfortable and effective at work, and it may land you a promotion. If you want to change careers, taking a class will give you hope for a better future. It will get the ball rolling as you start down the path toward something satisfying and new.
- Set mini-goals. Everyone has big dreams and aspirations, but setting mini-goals at work will help you get through your days.
Emotional Wellness & Physical Wellness
Emotional wellness relates to understanding your feelings and coping effectively with stress. Emotional wellness is more than simply “feeling” happy. It is about practicing self-care, stress reduction techniques, and fostering a relationship with yourself to experience both positive and negative feelings. It also consists of building inner strength to overcome challenges. Below you can find some resources that can help you maintain or even improve different areas of your emotional wellness.
- Practice smiling
- Write down things you are thankful for
- Remind yourself to stay positive and practice positive self-talk such as “I can do this”
- Seek out support and allow others to help you
- Do at least one thing every day that you enjoy such as taking a walk, drinking a cup of tea, drawing etc.
- Reach out to a friend to talk with or to hang out with
- Send a kind text to a friend
- Volunteer or help someone out with something
- Go outside for some fresh air
Physical wellness relates to maintaining a healthy body and seeking care when needed. Physical health is attained through exercise, eating well, getting enough sleep and paying attention to the signs of illness and getting help when needed. Physical wellness means being able to take care of your body by consistently making healthy lifestyle choices. These include:
- Being physically active (i.e., engaging in physical activities that you enjoy- daily or at least twice per week)
- Eating healthy foods (i.e. eating a balanced diet of protein, whole foods, fruits, and vegetables)
- Staying hydrated (i.e. drinking enough water or decaffeinated tea throughout the day)
- Getting enough sleep (i.e. sleeping 6-8 hours per night)
- Avoiding drugs, alcohol, and tobacco
- Scheduling annual medical check-ups and screenings (i.e. getting a physical, blood tests, pap tests, etc.)
Research has shown that physical wellness is an important part of our overall health. While anxiety and stress can weaken the body’s immune system, disrupt hormonal balances, and affect sleeping patterns, regular physical activity and a balanced diet can help you feel healthy, happy, and more energetic.
Applying a wellness approach can be useful in nearly every human endeavor. The National Wellness Institute devised three questions that can help persons and organizations assess the degree to which wellness is incorporated into a particular approach or program:
- Does this help people achieve their full potential?
- Does this recognize and address the whole person (multi-dimensional approach)?
- Does this affirm and mobilize peoples’ positive qualities and strengths?
Wellness should not be a one-time thing. It needs to be a continuous and ongoing process. Wellness is an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life. Wellness is more than being free from illness, it is a dynamic process of change and growth.