When people think of wellness, they often think of simply the absence of illness or disease. True wellness, however, is much more complex and comprehensive than that. According to The Global Wellness Institute, wellness is defined as “the active pursuit of activities, choices, and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health.”
This journey to wellness is an active one striving towards wholeness, fulfillment, and potential and is a dynamic process of growth and change. When you change your lifestyle to be one focused on wellness, you’re not just surviving—you’re thriving.
There are several areas of a person’s lifestyle that contribute to their overall well-being, often called the dimensions of wellness. Most experts agree that there are eight dimensions of wellness:
While each dimension of wellness doesn’t need to be equal, it’s essential to find a good balance and harmony between them all. As you focus on one, you’ll find that they are all closely connected and influenced by one another.
HarborChase Senior Living has independent senior living communities throughout the United States. We focus on celebrating life, wellness, and senior living. We’re taking a look at the eight dimensions of wellness and how you can actively pursue each one in your life!
Emotional wellness relates to the ability to understand and interpret your feelings and emotions (as well as those of other people). A strong sense of emotional wellness can lead to a positive self-image and healthy relationships.
Some important aspects of emotional wellness include:
- Being in touch with your feeling and emotions
- Respecting the feelings and emotions of others
- Knowing healthy and constructive ways to cope with stress
- Having a positive view of yourself and your life
To improve your emotional wellness, try to focus on being mindful and self-aware. Emotional wellness requires a lot of internal retrospection and self-understanding, resulting in optimism and better ways to deal with stress. You can also strengthen your emotional wellness by getting enough sleep, practicing mediation, and journaling.
Environmental wellness is about understanding how your lifestyle impacts the environment around you, including personal spaces and the world at large.
Some important aspects of environmental wellness include:
- Maintaining a clean work and living space
- Recognizing your impact on the environment
- Taking steps to live sustainably
- Being aware of how your work and living environment impact your well-being
You can begin to enhance your environmental dimension of wellness by simply spending some time outside each day. Doing this can help you appreciate the world around you and discover ways to take care of it. Living sustainably can be easy, fun, and rewarding.
Financial wellness does not mean that you are financially successful or prosperous; it simply means that you are able to successfully budget and manage your resources—regardless of how much you have.
Some important aspects of financial wellness include:
- Paying bills and other expenses consistently on time
- Monitoring your spending and sticking to a budget
- Setting realistic financial goals
- Understanding that everyone’s financial situation is unique
You can improve your financial wellness by starting a basic budget and monitoring your monthly expenses. There are even several online resources to help you get started.
Intellectual wellness focuses on expanding your knowledge, skills, and experiences, encouraging you to engage in lifelong learning.
Some important aspects of intellectual wellness include:
- Staying curious and valuing lifelong learning
- Traveling and exploring new places and cultures different from your own
- Discovering a passion or skill that you enjoy
- Exploring different avenues of artistic and creative expression
- Challenging your mind with brain games and puzzles
Occupational wellness relates to the personal satisfaction you get (or have gotten) from a career or volunteer experience. This dimension of wellness focuses on finding enrichment and purpose through your occupation.
Some important aspects of occupational wellness include:
- Contributing your unique skills and talents in a work or volunteer setting
- Effectively communicating with others inside and outside of a work environment
- Receiving personal satisfaction from your career
- Setting realistic career goals for yourself
Occupational wellness can sometimes be challenging to achieve if you are retired. Still, many people actively pursue volunteer opportunities after retirement that provide them with a sense of purpose and fulfillment.
Physical wellness is more than just avoiding illness and disease; it’s about taking care of your body to keep it healthy, functioning, and able. It means understanding and appreciating all that your body is capable of and treating it in a way that promotes this.
Some important aspects of physical wellness include:
- Getting enough quality sleep
- Eating a balanced, nourishing diet
- Engaging in physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day
- Finding a hobby that gets you active and that you enjoy
Physical wellness can seem like the most daunting dimension of wellness, and it can be intimidating to know how to begin improving this area of your life. By observing your current lifestyle habits and making small changes, you can improve your physical wellness sooner than you think!
Social wellness involves having and maintaining healthy social relationships, which is vital in nurturing support, trust, and communication with others.
Some important aspects of social wellness include:
- Keeping in touch with family and friends
- Learning how to offer and accept help from others
- Connecting with people different from yourself
- Understanding your own social needs and desires
- Joining a club or group with people who share your interests
Even though all the dimensions of wellness interconnect, having solid and developed social wellness is valuable in emotional wellness, intellectual wellness, and even physical wellness.
The last dimension of wellness is spiritual wellness. Spiritual wellness is not limited to religion but instead focuses on the big picture of understanding your purpose, values, and beliefs. While social wellness could be religious in nature, it could also be personal and self-reflective or communal with others.
Some important aspects of spiritual wellness include:
- Taking time to understand your values and beliefs
- Understanding and respecting different cultures and people
- Spending time alone for self-reflection
- Participating in activities and habits that reflect your values and beliefs
Discover Holistic Wellness
Making the right choices for health and wellness can be a difficult journey; however, change becomes much more achievable when you have self-awareness of your habits and lifestyle. By observing your current lifestyle, you can begin to understand which dimensions of wellness you are already thriving in and which ones may need more attention. By working towards better wellness in one area, you can aim to reach holistic wellness and live a healthy and fulfilling life!
HarborChase Senior Living aims to focus on all dimensions of wellness in our independent living communities. Through daily engagement, nourishment, connection, and more, we encourage each resident to live a life that is fully satisfying and fully theirs.