By Katherine Kowal
What do you think of when you hear the word, “wellness?”
Many of us go right to our physical health. But wellness really involves our physical, emotional, and spiritual health. When we feel well each of these elements are working together in harmony. But what about when we don’t feel well? How can we determine if it is our physical health or one of these other areas? What steps can we take to improve our overall health and wellness?
It’s all about finding balance!
Finding and maintaining a balance between these elements looks different for everyone. When we feel something is out of sync it can be difficult to know where to focus our energy. And understanding how each part of our being works together can be a great place to start.
Being Aware: How it all works together (or doesn’t)
Take a moment to reflect on a time when you felt unwell. What part of your health was affected the most? What other factors where involved? How did feeling unwell affect other areas of your life?
Take having a cold for example. We all know the feelings of being run down, stuffy nose, and fatigue. But where and what else do you feel? Do you feel anxious about not tending to responsibilities? Are you sad, mad, or lonely?
Maybe you’ve felt exhausted after attending a large social gathering. Or possibly more energized and engaged. These are examples of how our social experiences can affect our physical and emotional health.
How do you feel when you have a deadline at work or school? Do you find yourself up at night worrying, or are you more motivated to get the task done?
Be Aware and Plan Ahead
Thinking about that time you felt unwell – how can you prevent other areas of your wellness from being affected?
If you know you get lonely or sad when you are sick – you can have a trusted friend or family member check in on you. Ask for help if you’re worried about responsibilities. This will speed up your recovery and allow you to heal the physical problem before it affects your emotional health.
Feel drained after a large social gathering? Plan for some extra alone time the following day to prevent that physical and emotional fatigue.
Deadline making you anxious? Create a project timeline to keep you on track – preventing those late-night worries.
Awareness makes us more prepared
Life is always throwing challenges at us, often at the worst possible times. By being more aware of your emotional, physical, and spiritual health you can begin to understand how your mind and body will react. Then you can support the other aspects of your wellness by taking a proactive approach.
Take some time this week and reflect on times when you have felt unwell or off balance. Think about an example for each area of wellness: physical, emotional, and spiritual, and ask yourself how one may have impacted another. Write down your thoughts and sit with them. At the end of the week look back at what you wrote. Think about one small adjustment you could make that might support you if you ever were to feel this way again.
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