The concept of wellness is nothing new.  Most of us have a basic idea of what it means, but it can have different meanings that are more personal.  However, the dictionary defines wellness as “the quality or state of being in good health especially as an actively sought goal.”  By this definition, wellness is the state of being healthy, both physically and mentally.

So what am I getting at with all of this?  Well, first off, wellness is something that we should always be striving for.  But for the purpose of this post, here’s why wellness is important right now.  August is National Wellness Month and it’s the perfect time for self-care, mental health awareness, healthy fitness routines, stress management programs and working on achieving new goals.  Live Love Spa founded National Wellness Month in 2018 to focus on health and follow daily wellness routines and programs. It is to remind everyone that there is something new to learn and discover.

But wellness is such a vast term.  It encompasses so many different areas and facets of daily life.  To one person, wellness can mean having a healthy body free from disease and pain.  To another person, wellness can mean mental clarity and the ability to rationalize and reason.  Then to yet another person, it may mean having a peaceful life filled with friends and family.  So how is wellness really measured?  Or is it completely subjective to each person?

I think wellness is definitely subjective, but there are components that contribute to the wellness of every person on the planet.  These dimensions are ways to evaluate your overall wellness.  And while they are different for everybody, they are all necessary.  Take a look.
The Six Dimensions of Wellness

1. Physical
This dimension of wellness applies to the things we do to keep our bodies strong, healthy and resilient. Wellness involves the recognition that regular physical activity promotes and supports a fulfilling life. The core tenets of the physical dimension of wellness include a recognition that consuming nutritious foods and beverages promotes good health and the idea that being in good physical condition supports overall wellness better than being in poor physical condition.

2. Social
This dimension of wellness applies to the things we do to help the overall health of our environment and our community. The social dimension implies an understanding of the fundamental interconnectedness of all things, including people with one another and the connection of people to the natural world. The core tenets of social wellness include a recognition that contributing to the common welfare of our communities is beneficial for everyone and that living in harmony with our environment is more productive than living in conflict with it.

3. Intellectual
This dimension of wellness applies to the things we do to stimulate our mind and enhance our personal creativity in a way that’s meaningful to us. This involves embarking on a path of self-discovery, while sharing the fruits of that journey with our friends, family and community. The core tenets of intellectual wellness include understanding that a continuous process of learning and creativity benefits us in the long run and that applying our intellect to solve problems in new and innovative ways support both our happiness and the health of our communities in general.

4. Spiritual
This dimension of wellness involves our search for meaning and purpose in our lives. It may involve traditional religious and spiritual practices or it may not.  The choice is up to the individual. Spiritual wellness means developing a deep appreciation for the depth and expanse of life an natural forces that exist in the universe. The core tenets of spiritual wellness include the understanding that a genuine curiosity about the meaning of life contributes to our overall happiness, that tolerance for the manner of other’s curiosity helps us all and that we’re happiest when we live in a way that’s consistent with our personal values and beliefs.

5. Emotional
This dimension of wellness prioritizes our ability to identify, understand and accept our own feelings and internal life. It involves our ability to express our feelings effectively, and in turn, listen to and understand the feelings of others with empathy and compassion. When we can do these things, we’re able to make choices and engage in behaviors that lead to harmony between our heart and mind. The core tenets of emotional wellness include the idea that accepting our true emotions is a more productive choice then denying them and that recognizing the reality and validity of other’s emotions enriches our lives by enhancing our capacity for empathy and compassion.

6. Occupational
This dimension of wellness applies to the work we choose to do in our lives. An occupation that serves our wellness is one that aligns with our values, interests and personal beliefs. Staying active and involved in an occupation we believe in serves our overall wellness.

With all this being said, here are some ways to celebrate National Wellness Month.

1. Do a Digital Detox
With the advent of social media, it is easy to get hooked your news feeds. Most of the information on social media is pointless and can even be damaging. Therefore, it is essential to disconnect from technology to upgrade yourself and boost your mental health.  When you are away from social media, you get ample free time.  Use that time to reconnect with the world around you.  Never underestimate the immense healing power of being among nature. Fresh air, peace and quiet can be extremely relaxing. Even though you’re busy, schedule time throughout National Wellness Month to get outside. You can take a daily walk through the park, go for long hikes, visit the beach or even plan a camping trip.

2. Practice Mindfulness / Meditation
You don’t need to be a zen master to benefit from meditation. Meditating, even just for a few minutes, has a powerful impact on your overall wellness. If you haven’t already tried meditation, National Wellness Month is the perfect time to start. If you’re already incorporating meditation into your routine, use this time to try different types of meditations, switch up your breathwork or just meditate for longer. There’s no wrong way to do it  Mindfulness, meditation and deep breathing are excellent ways to cope with stress and improve your overall wellness.

3. Get Active
You already know that a little bit of movement can go a long way when it comes to physical wellness. National Wellness Month is the perfect reason to change things up. If you’re feeling bored with your current routine, it’s time to try something new. Even if the gym isn’t an option, there are tons of at-home workouts, Zoom video classes and workout apps to help inspire a new routine.  Try walking  after meals, instead of plopping down on the couch to watch TV.  If you’re just starting out after being sedentary for several months or years, take it slow and find what works for you.

4. Engage in Hobbies
Craft out at least one or two hours for your hobbies. It will bring excitement to you and increase your satisfaction.  Some of the hobbies you can engage yourself in are: Playing an instrument, an outdoor sport, roller skating, doing puzzles, painting and more.  Find something that you connect with and that engages either your body, your mind or both.

5. Sleep
Good sleep is essential for your physical health. I would say it is as important as eating healthy and exercising.  It is typically recommended that adults should get a minimum of 7 – 8 hours of sleep a night.  But this doesn’t always happen and for some people, sleeping this long is actually counterintuitive.  Lack of sleep can increase the chances of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke.  So finding that sleep sweet spot is very important.  Also, your sleep hygiene can play a big role in how long you sleep and how well you sleep.  Sleep hygiene refers to things like the darkness of the room, the noises in your bedroom, the temperature and more.  If you suffer from poor sleep or wake feeling tired all the time, use National Wellness Month to try and figure out where the problem(s) lie and correct them.

6. Improve Your Diet
We can’t talk about wellness without mentioning food. For National Wellness month, take a look at your pantry and give it the clean sweep. Clean foods are made from real, whole ingredients and usually contain 5 or less main ingredients. There are plenty of foods out there that claim to be healthy, but contain fillers and weird chemicals. Stick to real foods and avoid packaged and processed snacks when you can. I challenge you to eat clean for the entire month of August, and see how you feel at the end.  And if you need to, about once a week, you can treat yourself to a hot fudge sundae or some cheesecake for a change.

7. Connect with Friends and Family
Everyone likes to feel cared for and loved. Especially when times are challenging, just knowing that somebody is thinking of you is an instant source of joy. So go ahead, spread the love! Call up your family, send funny cards or flowers to your friends and check in on those you haven’t heard from in a while. The wellness secret of this habit?  Making these small gestures of kindness actually has a positive impact on your own mood and mindset, too.

8. Adopt a Positive Mindset
When it comes to mental wellness, a positive outlook can go a long way. During National Wellness Month, take time to notice your thought patterns and see if you tend to stray toward negative thinking in certain situations. What can you do to change the way you think? Meditation is a one way to bring awareness to your thoughts and feelings and can also help you change your mindset to one that’s more positive. But there are other ways too.  Keep a gratitude journal or jar.  Every day, write down things you are grateful for in your journal or on a piece of paper.  Then you can put that piece of paper in the jar for safe keeping.  Once a week or at the end of the month, go through the jar or your journal and reflect on the things that bring you happiness.  It really does work.

9. Connect with the Community
Wellness is more than exercise and eating right. Taking care of the planet is important too.  When it comes to National Wellness Month, why not take it a step further and help out in your community?  Do some volunteer work, plant a tree, start a meetup group, attend a neighborhood meeting, sponsor a little league team, whatever calls to you.  Connecting with the people in your community or even just doing something that inspires you from behind the scenes, can help improve your outlook on life and your overall wellness.

10. Practice Self Care
When it comes to prioritizing your own wellness, what better way than treating yourself to a spa day? Massage, acupuncture, facials, saunas, float tanks, salt caves all feel great and they also release tension from stress and anxiety, reduce inflammation and help you recover quickly from exercise. Find practices that work for you and make them part of your monthly or weekly wellness routine to get the most overall benefit.

11. Love Yourself
Self-love can be a challenge, but it’s an important component of your wellness routine. Practicing positive self-talk, writing your own personal mission statement and having gratitude for yourself are all stepping stones to loving yourself. Don’t forget about all the fun self-love activities too and doing things you truly enjoy.

There are many ways in which you can celebrate National Wellness Month. It is a perfect opportunity to focus on yourself and get started on an overall wellness journey.  So why not take this month as an excellent opportunity to work on yourself?  You’ve really got nothing to lose and everything to gain.

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Dr. Kim M. Filkins, DACM, Dipl. Ac.
Zen Penguin Wellness

5224 South East St.,
Suite C-11,
Indianapolis, IN 46227

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