Wellness is the active process of working towards health goals: being healthy in your finances, your body, and your emotions, for example. What, then, is the difference between wellness and health? Health is much more of a static goal rather than a process. According to the World Health Organization, health is: “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Wellness across the “eight dimensions of wellness,” then, are processes that you can use to get healthy. What are the eight dimensions of wellness, why is wellness important, and what are some planning tools you can use to get your wellness on track? Read on!
Just as health is a holistic goal, the smaller goals that you set for yourself in each of the different disciplines are essential. The eight dimensions of wellness: emotional, environmental, financial, occupational, intellectual, physical, social, and spiritual, all should get a goal or two. While eight different goals can seem intimidating, it’s not as much as you would think — many areas of wellness, like occupational and financial, social and emotional, and environmental and spiritual, overlap–making goals that hit more than one discipline realistic.
Emotional wellness comes with being able to understand and interpret your feelings. Being able to separate emotions from each other, understand what each feeling is, and be able to come to terms (or cope) with each sense is an essential aspect of emotional wellness. Important things that you can do for your emotional wellness are setting aside time to relax, taking breaks when you need, and managing and mitigating stress.
Living in touch with the environment around you comes with environmental wellness. Being mindful of what resources you use, working to reduce your environmental impact, and encouraging others to do the same are parts of environmental wellness. A goal for yourself that you could set in this area is bringing a metal straw out with you to combat disposable straw use!
Managing your expenses, keeping a budget, and sticking to your budget are all huge parts of financial wellness. Financial worries can cause stress but working actively to stay financially healthy is an important goal to have. Money plays a critical role in everyone’s life: knowing how to take care of it and take care of yourself is important!
Feeling like you have support in your job is an integral part of mitigating stress and financial concerns. See how these disciplines blend? Occupational wellness comes with having a job you enjoy, and feeling like your contributions are essential, and your co-workers appreciate you. A goal that you could set for occupational wellness would be speaking up at least once in every meeting.
Appreciate other points of view and love to learn? You’re likely intellectually healthy! Goals you could set for yourself related to intellectual wellness include reading books and other literature outside of your comfort zone, seeking news sources that differ from your regular sources of news, and talking to people you wouldn’t usually speak to!
This usually is what you’d think of if someone asked you about health. Are you physically healthy? Goals to set in this area involve going to the gym, eating healthy and logging calories, and taking care of underlying health issues.
Feeling like an integrated part of your community is essential. Social wellness addresses your social ties, friendships, and familial relations. Keeping in touch with friends and family is a simple goal for this area of wellness!
This area of wellness has to do with more than religion. Spirituality means finding a purpose in life, be it religious or non-religious! A goal you could set for this area is going to career development workshops, religious services, or doing volunteer work.