Wellness happens when you’re actively engaged in making healthy lifestyle choices. It’s not a passive act and there’s no magic wand. Just like many things, wellness is a journey – not a destination. And even those who practice must continually fine-tune their approach.
Wellness is physical, mental and spiritual. It’s also about your overall lifestyle. A balance between all is needed for optimal well-being and overall good health. Wellness matters and finding your way to it may be exactly what you need.
It’s definitely what Jen and I need, that’s for sure. For the past 5 years, we’ve been running full speed ahead, operating our food production business. And though we maintained a relatively healthy lifestyle, we were certainly not in balance. The mental stress alone was killing us and the physical 12 to 16 hour kitchen days really almost put us over the edge. So here we are now, free of production yet dealing with a few health issues. Our healthy food business made us unwell (what irony, right?). So, we’ve resolved to get our life back together and experience the true journey toward wellness – and to share it here with you. Let the following guide your exploration as it will guide ours.
Health is a state of body. Wellness is a state of being. – J. Stanford
5 Dimensions of Wellness
The following 5 dimensions are key to finding your way to wellness and to nurturing your basic human needs for optimal health and functioning. Find your way to each, always striving for a thriving balanced existence.
- Physical wellness is taking care of the body – moving and staying active, consuming foods that support and aid the body, getting adequate sleep and rest.
- Mental wellness is about keeping stress in check. Taking notice of your thoughts, feelings – how you react to situations. It requires pushing yourself to tune in and be aware of your internal and external behavior.
- Spiritual wellness is not about what God you believe in or whether or not you go to church. It’s about finding a sense of purpose and connecting with something greater than yourself. Universal energy, if you will.
- Social wellness speaks of healthy and meaningful relationships. Good communication skills, and building a support network you can turn to in times of need – both in sorrow and joy.
- Lifestyle wellness ranges from the job you have, the environment around you and the balance between creative and mental activities. Balancing work and leisure, connecting to nature, limiting your toxic exposure and keeping the mind sharp.
How to Find Wellness
Finding your way to wellness should be an experience to relish in. An exploration of yourself and your life. An intentional goal of balance in the 5 dimensions. The opportunity to become your best self yet.
These are just a few ways we find balance. Trust me, we’re not perfect by any stretch. It takes effort and it’s easy to fall off the wellness wagon. Just remember, every moment offers a chance for a different reaction, a better decision, and a mindful thought.
Eat clean food free of chemicals. Without a doubt, you will never find true wellth while carrying a toxic load. Starting with what you eat and drink is the first big step. Find your local organic (practice) farms and markets – support them. For they are nature’s farmacy. Then, let that expand into all your body and household products.
Get some sleep – at least 7-9 hours a night. Our bodies need time to rest and repair, which can only happen when sleeping. The whole body is affected by sleep deprivation – skin, gut, memory, mood, etc. Keep your room cool, wear something comfy or – take it all off. Remember to power down all devices and keep it nice and dark.
Meditate to cope with anxiety and stress; to cultivate mindful awareness and expand your consciousness. Check out Faith Hunter’s 30 Day Meditation Challenge. With email prompts and 8-14 minutes a day (most are 10 minutes), you have no excuse – join us. If you’re weary, don’t be. It’s just the act of being present and quieting the mind. Something we all can benefit from.
Create a yoga practice and bliss out, as Brett Larkin (our fav online yogi) would say. Cultivating a home practice was one of the best things we’ve done for ourselves. At least 5 days a week, our day begins with one of Brett’s videos. Keeping the daily practice to 20 or 30 minutes makes it manageable and staying home cuts travel time and expense. That said, there’s nothing like the energy of a great class. If your time and finances allow, seek one out. And, if you’re new to yoga, attending a few classes until you’re comfortable to practice on your own may be valuable.
Let go. If you need a mantra, make it this. When you surrender and breathe, you feel better. Letting things go will lift the mental weight you carry. It begins with acknowledgment and commitment – to see and deal with things differently.
Walk every day. Not only for physical exercise but for a mental breath of fresh air. Walking is heart healthy and triggers endorphins and serotonin – a natural high for the body and mind. Just be sure to dress for the weather at hand – and wear good walking shoes.
Explore nature and connect to the natural bond between yourself and the great outdoors. Pausing to appreciate nature is a gift that’s all sorts of good for ya. From creativity to physical health and mindfulness, nature holds the key.
Consult a naturopath doctor. A naturopath focuses on the whole body being in balance. They look to uncover the root problems to what ails you, utilizing a holistic approach. Working with a naturopath was our first step years ago and truly proved to be helpful. Not only did we learn a lot about food, we developed a better understanding of how the body works and how to support it through nutrition, exercise, supplements and internal cleansing/detoxing.
Create healthy routines. Walking, drinking water, sleeping, yoga, meditation, etc., it’s all part of a healthy lifestyle. Breaking bad habits and creating new good habits does take time and some adjusting but you can do it, pinky promise.
Learn something new to keep the mind sharp and engaged. Take a cooking class, learn a new language. Think about all the things you don’t know but would be happy to learn about. Hell, you could even watch documentaries or read some books. With any activity, there’s always something new to explore.
Check your attitude – it plays into 100% of everything you do. Stop focusing on what’s bad and shift your attention to what’s good. Looking at things from a different perspective is key. Examine the way you speak to others – what vibes are you putting out? It’s easy to be a pessimist but you have to push past it. If you’re feeling stuck, consider this happiness challenge.
Connect to someone. Humans crave connection – we’re actually hardwired to need it. The key is to spend time with those that lift you up. Share your life with those that want to see you grow, those who you can count on and trust. Remove negative people from your life; then find your tribe and hold them close.
Indulge. Healthfully, of course. In this case, we’re really talking about self-love and self-care (not Chocolate Cream Pie). Give yourself some down time to do something you love. Take a bath, read a book, go to the movies, go on a hike. Do something that makes you feel alive and healthy (outside of food). If finances allow, treat yourself to a day at the spa or even better, visit a wellness center like Kripalu.
Remember, wellness is a journey – not a destination. If you need some assistance in the matter, check out Winter of Wellness featuring 40+ wellness experts. The 21 Day Food Matters Program sounds great too – covering nutrition, movement and mindset.
Every day offers a chance to begin again. Small steps lead to big changes.Danielle