What is wellness? If you asked a dozen people, you would probably receive a dozen different answers. The reason for the diversity in responses is that the answer is complicated: wellness has several dimensions, and everyone has a natural tendency to gravitate toward different aspects.
The concept of "wellness" refers to the fact that there is more to good health than a lack of disease. Feeling your best and reaching your full potential is about much more than isolated things like your diet, going to the gym, or whether or not you are sick (although those things certainly play a role).
In fact, we like to think of wellness in terms of seven interconnected dimensions. These dimensions represent aspects of who we are as individuals. Just as our personal identities are more than what we look like, where we work, or what we do for a living, our overall wellness is not determined by any one factor.
Here is an overview of the seven dimensions of wellness, along with resources and short self-assessment quizzes to help you understand them in your own life. Each quiz is only five questions – select the answer that best reflects your current behavior.
Physical wellness refers to the state of your body and the things you are doing to nourish it. When we make a conscious effort to make healthy decisions in this area, it is easier to maintain a healthy body and a high quality of life over the long term. Habits like diet, exercise, and drug intake all play a role.
If your self-assessment is low in this area, here are a few suggestions for improvement:
- Focus on consistent movement. Increase your daily activity level, perhaps by setting a step goal or taking daily walks.
- Evaluate your eating habits.
- Engage in strength training 2-4 days/week for 30 minutes.
- Engage in low-intensity activity 2-5 days a week for 30 minutes.
- Engage in mobility work for 10 minutes each day.
Are you in touch with your emotions? Do you express them well? Emotional wellness refers to your feelings, emotions, reactions, and cognition. When we are emotionally well, we are able to cope with the full intensity of life's emotions in healthy ways.
If your self-assessment is low in this area, there are plenty of opportunities for improvement, and you can start small. Suggestions:
- Use a journal to track, label, and describe your emotions.
- Join a support group. A "support group" could be anything in your life that gives you a sense of hope, help, trust or love.
- Practice positive perception strategies for resilience: mindfulness, walking, talking, practicing gratitude, and professional (therapeutic) support.
Intellectual wellness covers the areas of critical thinking, creativity, and curiosity. Improving our intellectual wellness helps us be open to new experiences so that we can continue learning and growing throughout our entire lives.
To make improvements in this area, you don't need to become a rocket scientist. You can start by making a conscious decision to perform activities that stimulate the brain in a way that's enjoyable for you. Read a book, start a new hobby, take a class, join a puzzle club – it's all good for you!
Humans are social creatures. Social wellness is a measure of relationships, respect, and community interaction. It is our ability to connect, communicate, and get along with the people around us.
You don't need to become an incredibly outgoing social butterfly to improve your social wellness. Start small: do a good deed for someone else, eat dinner as a family, call a friend out of the blue, ask someone out for coffee or tea, or say yes to an invitation that you normally wouldn't.
Environmental wellness concerns your awareness of the environment surrounding you, whether is natural or man-made. It allows us to feel a sense of connectedness to the earth and to the communities and situations we find ourselves in.
Practice cultivating presence through meditation; connect with nature by growing a plant, starting a garden, beginning a compost pile, and increasing your "green" habits like reducing, reusing, and recycling.
Occupational wellness measures our satisfaction with the vocation we have chosen. It also takes into consideration our skills, finances, and work-life balance. Wellness in this area means that we are fulfilled by our jobs/roles and that we have both work and leisure time.
Suggestions for improvement if your self-evaluation is low in this area:
- Assess your ability, desire and need to work.
- Look into professional development. (Taking continuing education classes in your field of expertise or trade of desire).
- Develop leadership skills by volunteering at a charitable organization.
- Update your resume.
Spiritual wellness considers our meaning in life and whether or not we are living a life that's aligned with our values. It is the ability to discover meaning and purpose and life; it helps establish a sense of inner peace and harmony. To grow in this area, consider inner practices such as:
- Be quiet. Take time for yourself every day – even if it’s just before you go to sleep.
- Practice forgiveness of others and of yourself.
- Practice being non-judgmental and having an open mind.
- Be receptive to times of pain and or sorrow. It is often these times that we discover how spirituality can help us cope.
- Nourish a spiritual practice daily; prayer, yoga, meditation, devotionals, etc.
- Live with joy in the heart. Honor the journey and not just the destination.
About Skyterra Wellness Retreat
Workshops covering the dimensions of wellness are just one aspect of the signature wellness program here at Skyterra. Weekly activities include fitness classes, yoga, seasonal outdoor recreation, health education lectures, stress management seminars, healthy chef-prepared meals, and much more.
If you're looking for a beautiful mountain retreat where you can set aside life’s obligations and focus on your own health and well-being, our caring experts are ready to guide you in all of these areas. You deserve to feel better – you deserve Skyterra!