Are you ready to become a Wellness Warrior and take action for your life?
It seems every where we turn these days we are bombarded on social media with mixed messages from regurgitated content telling us how to live happier and healthier lives. Filtering through all the memes, platitudes, ads, emails and photos that make their way into our consciousness on the daily is an impossible task. We often remain on auto-pilot, overwhelmed with information, inevitably doing nothing different at all. We go through our daily activities and leave our health to fend for itself! Unfortunately, inattentiveness to our health and wellness can accelerate acute and chronic disease, reduce our life span and decrease our overall sense of happiness and fulfillment.
What is health? What is wellness? Let’s break it down:
Health is essentially the physical and mental state of our being. It is the presence or absence of disease, injury, illness or disability. If you are in good health you are likely active, maintain a stable weight and have good endurance. But just because you are in a “good” state of health, doesn’t mean that you are actively involved in your wellness. Nor does it imply that you are pro-actively ensuring you remain this way.
Wellness is the intentional participation and holistic approach to health. Consider health as the goal and wellness the means to achieving it. Wellness is the consistent actions taken towards improving or maintaining good health into the future. People who adopt more positive habits and behaviours reduce their risk of disease, improve longevity and have an overall greater sense of balance and fulfillment in their lives. Good health may not always be a choice but wellness is.
The 6 aspects of Wellness:
The aspects of wellness can be divided into 6 foundations, all in a dynamic interplay with one another. Often when one aspect is compromised they can all be affected. As a result our overall health is impacted.
This involves the decisions we make about our nutrition, substance use, hydration, exercise, sleep patterns and environmental exposure. Neglecting this foundation can affect health at the core.
This involves the engagement of our mind. New experiences, education, problem solving, learning a new skill, thought provoking conversations are all a part of keeping our minds sharp.
This involves our ability to emotionally self regulate, demonstrate empathy, understand and express our feelings and develop emotional resilience to difficult situations.
This involves the health and quality of our relationships. Having close friends and family, a healthy partnership and community to participate with are essential components to all human beings.
This involves all aspects of your environment from your immediate space to understanding the interconnectedness we have to our one and only, life giving Earth. Taking steps to clean, organize and minimize your home, car or workplace and extending this to the far reaches of showing respect and responsibility for our planet is a key component in this foundation.
This involves understanding the world stretches beyond ourselves and that forms of service, kindness and compassion can create meaning and purpose in our lives. Spiritual wellness for some may include faith but is not the core principle in spiritual wellness. Creating gratitude, mindfulness and understanding our connection to the whole is the essence of this aspect of wellness.
The connection between health and wellness:
It is difficult to separate health from wellness as one can be healthy and oblivious to wellness while another could be experiencing health issues such as an injury, illness or disability and still feel balanced in the aspects of wellness in their lives. One thing for sure is that without a commitment to wellness, health will eventually be tested. Neglect, especially to nutrition, fitness and sleep, can lead to a cascade of acute and chronic conditions including:
- Obesity and related complications
- Chronic Inflammation
- Increase risk of injury
- Sleep disturbances
- Auto-immune conditions and hormonal imbalances
- Cardio-vascular disease
- Chronic fatigue and fibro-myalgia
- Digestive complaints
- Depression and anxiety
- And more…
Unchecked chronic stress, social isolation, lack of purpose and disconnection can all increase the risk of emotional and mental dis/ease. A regular routine of choosing nutritionally valuable foods, activity, keeping hydrated and a good sleep all improve emotional and mental health which in turn improve social, environmental and spiritual wellness.
Challenges to health and wellness:
It goes without saying that harmful activities will directly affect health. Here are the obvious:
- Excessive alcohol
- Drug misuse
- Unprotected sex
- Poor nutrition
- Exposure to harmful chemicals
Participating in these activities will adversely affect health over the long term. However, there are many factors that may influence our ability to uphold our commitment to the practice of wellness, as well. These may include:
- Chronic repetitive stress
- Death of a loved one
- Work/life imbalances
- Parental responsibilities or care-taking another
- Poverty or financial stressors
- Relocating or career changes
- Lack of access-ability
- Genetic influences for pre-existing conditions
- Loss of relationships such as a marriage ending
- Natural disasters
- Trauma, PTSD or adverse childhood experiences
- Educational barriers
- Lack of family or social supports
- Peer pressures, social media and societal conditioning
- Clinical depression or untreated mental health conditions
Everyday can present us with a number of stressors and despite the many variables that could thwart our wellness practices, staying aligned with the aspects of wellness is essential. If the practices of self care remain intact, then, ultimately, health should remain vital. It is impossible to eliminate stress but having a solid base of positive habits and behaviours can help maintain your overall health and wellness and create resiliency into your future. Steps to wellness include:
- Adopting healthy habits around nutrition, activity and sleep
- Reducing risk factors that can bring harm
- Being pro-active and pursuing activities that promote health and well-being
- Trying something new or learning a new skill
- Reaching out to friends and family
- Living your life with purpose and deliberation
- Living responsibly by making mindful and conscious decisions
- Striving for sustainable living and being a champion for your Earth
- Practicing gratitude, kindness and compassion
Lastly, consider hiring a health and Wellness Coach. Having supports in place to keep you on your wellness path can dramatically increase your successes even when circumstances feel overwhelming!
What areas of wellness do you feel confident and which areas could use some attention? Feel free to leave a comment. We are all in this together!
Contact me for a free consultation to determine if Health Coaching is for you!
Yours in Health and Wellness,