Balancing the Dimensions of Wellness
Have you ever felt consumed by something going on in your life-maybe, a new job, an addition to the family, or even trying to lose weight? During these times, you may have experienced feeling out of balance. In order to experience optimal emotional and physical well-being, it is beneficial to create a more balanced life.
There are several dimensions of wellness, including life purpose, finances, physical health, relationships, spirituality, fun/recreation, physical environment. Even if just one of these areas is being neglected, it can make you feel out of balance. Signs to look for when your wellness dimensions are off are feeling depressed, stressed, overwhelmed, tense, irritable, tired, resentful, or restless. You may also experience physical symptoms, such as headaches, muscle tension, changes in appetite, sleep disturbances, and upset stomach. Here are some ways to feel better and create more of a balance between your dimensions of wellness:
Life purpose: Create a long-term vision by thinking about what you want to be doing and how you want to be feeling in six months, one year, five, or even ten years. What does that look like to you? What would you like to be doing more of? What would you like to be doing less of? Then, you can create realistic and achievable short-term goals to help you get closer to your long-term vision.
Finances: Create a budget for yourself or set up some time with a financial planner. Consider which expenses you can give up or reduce. You may also want to consider putting some money into a savings account each month. Every little bit adds up.
Physical health: Make time in your day for movement, whether it is taking the stairs instead of the elevator, taking a brisk walk, dancing, or sitting on a Swiss ball instead of a chair to better engage your abdominal and lower back muscles. Get sufficient sleep, typically eight hours a night of undisturbed sleep. For proper nutrition, evaluate what types of food you are eating and the portions. Are you getting the necessary amount of fruit, vegetables and lean protein? I use the website choosemyplate.gov for nutrition information and tips.
Relationships. What does your support system look like? Do you have a variety of male and female relationships who are supportive? Do you have healthy boundaries with family members, friends, and colleagues? Healthy communication is key in any type of relationship, so evaluate your relationships and surround yourself with those who are supportive of your personal growth.
Spirituality. Your sense of belonging and worth is a big part of your spiritualty, along with your connectedness to your surroundings and to others. Do you take time to volunteer? Do you respect the environment around you by recycling or being gentle with nature? Do you offer to help others in need? Studies show that volunteers live longer, happier, and healthier lives. Spirituality is an important part of our lives. Making time for meditation, prayer, yoga, going for a walk in nature, ‘quiet time’, or whatever helps you feel connected to the universe are all examples of experiencing spirituality.
Fun/recreation. Play time is an essential part of your life for improved creativity, relaxation, and emotional well-being. When was the last time you did something just for fun? Do you have a hobby or some form of outlet? If not, challenge yourself to find time in your day for ‘play time’, whether it is riding a bike with your child, playing a board game with your friends, or picking up a hobby. You will be a lot more fun to be around if you take time to play.
Physical environment. Your physical space can have an impact on both your physical and emotional health. From feeling safe in your neighborhood to having access to parks and trails to having an uncluttered home or office, your environment can affect your mood. Remember how you feel when you can’t find something you need, or when you don’t feel safe in an area? These experiences affect our nervous system and can lead to feelings of stress, fatigue, and other negative emotions. So, focus on what you have control of and take steps along the way to improve your physical environment.
Enjoy your journey of creating a more balanced life of wellness and challenge yourself to work on the dimensions of wellness you would like to improve while celebrating your strengths.