We talk a lot about ‘wellness’ here at Studio Zest. We like to think we help people with their ‘wellness’, but then we started to wonder: “what does ‘wellness’ actually means to us?”.
The dictionary defines it as “the state of being comfortable, heathy or happy” – but is it something you can really measure? And, what can we do to improve our wellbeing?
First, let’s look at what wellbeing is. It’s not just one thing, it’s a combination of many factors – physical, mental and social factors.
The Wheel of Health by Duke Integrative Medicine is a good model which was designed to allow us to look at ourselves as a whole. This includes our values, goals, work balance, fulfilment and life purpose.
Social awareness - The ability to relate to and connect with other people – no matter who they are. This dimension has become even more important recently due to the growing issue of loneliness. There are 1.2 million chronically lonely older people across the country according to Age UK – with the number of over-50s experiencing loneliness set to reach two million by 2025/6. To beat that we need to communicate better, develop meaningful relationships and maintain a support network that helps overcome loneliness.
Emotional awareness - Understanding ourselves and cope with the challenges life can bring. To have good feelings, and be in touch with all our emotions – from happiness to anger. To feel mentally clear and open, with the ability to practice stress-management techniques and be resilient to the daily struggles.
Spiritual awareness – This dimension is all about being able to establish peace and harmony in our lives. The ability to develop an agreement between values and actions and to realise a common purpose that binds creation together, all contribute to our spiritual wellness.
Environmental wellness: To recognise we have a responsibility for the quality of our environment, like the quality of our air, water and space that surrounds us. It could include our homes, work place, community or planet. This dimension makes us think about how we can have a positive impact on the quality of our environment. The more we do, the better our environmental wellness becomes.
Occupational wellness: We all spend many hours working, so it makes sense that if there is a problem with work then it has a negative impact on our wellbeing. Instead it should allow us to pursue our interests, values and purpose – which leads to happiness, meaning and enrichment professionally.
Intellectual wellness: This dimension looks at how we open our minds to new experiences and ideas, then applying that to personal decisions, group interaction and community improvement. The desire to learn new concepts, improve skills and seek challenges in pursuit of life long learning contributes to our intellectual wellbeing.
Physical wellness – To have a healthy body, not just through exercise, but healthy eating also. What we put in our bodies makes such a big difference to our health – including the way we feel.