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What is ‘Wellness’ Anyway?

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what is wellness

It seems you can’t surf the ‘net anymore without coming across this buzzword.  Many articles are full of lofty ideals and pseudo-spiritual nonsense without any clear definition that offers personal application or action steps.  According to our good friends at Merriam-Webster, wellness is “the quality or state of being in good health especially as an actively sought goal.”  But what the heck is that even?  “Good health” can be subjective and confusing, and that even makes me feel a little anxious, which I am sure is counterproductive to this pursuit.

To me, wellness is a constantly evolving, multidimensional, life-long journey.  Wellness encompasses physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual elements of one’s being and all of the unique complexities associated with each.  The act of being able to distinguish which spoke of this wheel that supports your journey needs extra care is truly wellness in action.

So, how can you apply some action steps today and demystify this buzzword to strengthen your own lifelong wellness journey?  I’m so glad you asked!

Physical

Your body is the container for your soul/spirit/essence/whatever you’d like to call it while you’re embodied here on Earth.  Care for it well to maximize your time and energy here!  Participate in movement that you love, eat whole, real, nourishing foods, and prioritize sleep.

New Action Step: Try a few simple yoga postures before bed to literally work out the kinks of the day and to unwind and relax before falling asleep.  Notice how much easier it is to fall into a deep sleep!

Emotional

Feelings are powerful teachers and indicators of our needs – if we actually allow ourselves to feel them.  Don’t apologize for your feelings, express them and acknowledge them.  Surround yourself with supportive, loving people who celebrate and uplift you.  Always honor your boundaries and practice self-care in each and every moment.

New Action Step: Explore your creativity!  Often times, routine gets the best of us.  Break out of it and tap into your creative side, which is directly connected to our feeling side.  Many arts and crafts stores (Michaels, Hobby Lobby, etc.) offer classes for nominal fees or search YouTube for instructional videos on crochet, paint, dance, etc.  My favorite?  Simply breaking out the oil pastels and going to town on a blank sheet of paper!

Mental

Ah, the mind is such a beautiful thing and yet, can be such a destructive little bugger, too!  Aim to befriend your fear and inner critic by thanking your thinking side for its attempts to keep you safe, push you, etc.  Start to observe the stories and messages you tell yourself on repeat and work to defy them.  Not only will you begin to build self-trust, you’ll increase your self-awareness and begin co-creating with all the beautiful pieces of yourself – instead of having outdated, debilitating stories run the show most of the time!

New Action Step: Write down your biggest values, core beliefs, and things you most love about yourself (your accomplishments, trials and tribulations you’ve overcome, strong character traits, etc.).  Then, for a few days, keep a journal of your most common thoughts and internal stories.  Next, go back and read both pieces with compassionate, neutral, and objective eyes.  Compare your core truths to the monologue that goes on in your head and notice any discrepancies and vow to defy and release those that no longer serve you.

Spiritual

Belief, faith, and trust in something bigger than yourself can offer much joy and peace.  Surrendering control, trusting your innate wisdom, and seeing the magical spark in all living things is a state I truly aspire to be in at all times.  However, I am a human and I definitely succumb to that which blocks spirit from time to time.

New Action Step: Spend time in nature each day for a week and notice the shifts!  For at least 20 minutes each day (or some amount of time that is reasonable for you), spend time in nature, in silence, and without technology.  Root your feet firmly into the ground, breathe deeply, and tune into your five senses.  How does the air feel on your skin?  What do you smell and hear?  A true weather-permitting bonus?Go barefooted!

 

All in all, integrate these various pieces of yourself by feeding them all.  Eventually you’ll begin to notice and then meet your needs more quickly and efficiently.  Honor yourself and above all, enjoy the journey!