So, What Is Wellness?
Sorry to hit you with a dictionary definition right off the bat – my high school English teacher would be horrified – but:
Wellness(n.): the state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal – Merriam-Webster
Did you notice that there’s no one specific process mentioned here? That means that your wellness ~journey~ can be entirely different from the journey of the person sitting next to you in spin class (or wherever) – and that’s okay, as long as you’re both doing the work to pursue your individual wellness goals.
This also means that:
- Like your body, your personal brand of wellness is uniquely yours
- You get to decide what steps to take to pursue your happiest and healthiest life
- You don’t have to eat keto, practice yoga, or scrub your face with literal diamonds to achieve wellness (unless you want to) – you get to do what works for you
This definition might not be sexy
because it doesn’t move merchandise off shelves, but it can be empowering. Your health is yours. Empower yourself to discover which things support your health – and start letting go of the stuff that gets in the way.
Okay, Cool. So, Let’s Unpack the Different Dimensions of Wellness.
In most health & wellness spaces, wellness has been dumbed down to refer to some oversimplified (or maybe overcomplicated?) combination of diet, exercise, and – maybe – self care. But wellness is actually a lot more nuanced than that. Here’s what you might be missing out on.
That Sounds Like A Lot of Work, Right?
Maybe reading this list makes you want to just throw on a sheet mask, drink a smoothie, and call it a successful #WellnessWednesday. (And, hey, go ahead – there’s nothing wrong with sheet masks or smoothies.) But don’t feel like you need to have it all figured out yet. Hint: No one does. (No, not even the person you’re thinking about right now. Really.)
Here’s what you should take from this:
- Wellness isn’t one-dimensional – No amount of overnight oats, gym time, or meditation will make you feel better if you’re not working on the other pieces of the wellness puzzle
- Practice makes progress – Maybe you’re killing it financially, but struggling to manage your emotions in a healthy way. Some things will come easier for you than others. Use your knowledge of your strengths and weaknesses to inform the goals you set and the choices you make
- There’s no finish line – Maybe wellness is technically an end-result, but learning to live well (or at least, better) is a process. Don’t let that scare you – let it take the pressure off. You’re not racing to get to the peak of ~Mt. Wellness~. You’re just trying to make choices each day that make the hike worthwhile
- Do what works for you – For me, eating plant-based is an important part of my physical, spiritual, and environmental sense of well-being. For other people, the crux of their well-being might be CrossFit, or church, or kombucha. Don’t get me wrong: Not all approaches are created equal (don’t get me started on “clean eating,” okay?) But one person’s wellness is another person’s well, that didn’t work. Do what works for you – mind, body, and everything else
For each of the eight dimensions of wellness, take five minutes to write down:
- 1 goal for self-improvement +
- 1 thing you’re already doing well
By the way, this *not* a to-do list to cross off today (or this week, or month, or year…), but a good way for you to see your wellness goals in one place. Feel free to start your day or end your evening with a quick read-through of your list to help keep your goals in the back of your mind.
Note: This is definitely not an overnight miracle kind of thing – improving your life will 100% take time and effort (I mean, duh, you already knew that). But taking small steps, like setting realistic goals for improvement and making small, positive choices each day are how you get anywhere. As always, try to be gentle and patient with yourself – you’re doing hard work. It’s okay if it takes time.
Until next time,