When you hear the word “wellness,” what comes to mind? You might think about vitamins, healthy foods, workout routines, and other tools that help you maintain your physical wellness. But the truth is that there are many facets and dimensions to wellness—it’s not just one singular thing. Wellness is a personal journey and the best method to achieving a balanced life is to take wellness one step at a time.
There are around seven different aspects of life that most people need to maintain in order to stay healthy and feel balanced. These categories—emotional wellness, intellectual wellness, spiritual wellness, social wellness, physical wellness, financial wellness, and environmental wellness—can be organized into a wellness wheel. The wellness wheel is separated into seven equal sections because one category of wellness is equally as important as another.
If one of your wellness wheel dimensions is lacking, you might find that the others begin to suffer. For instance, financial stress can effect both your emotional wellness and the energy that you might have to maintain your physical wellness. With so many categories impacting one another, it can be overwhelming to decide where to start on your wellness journey.
But it’s easier than it seems. You’re already getting started on your journey by just reading about the wellness wheel. Consider going a step further by printing out a wellness wheel worksheet for yourself. You can evaluate the seven dimensions and mark the ones that have been lacking and effecting your performance in other areas.
Are you so busy at work that you’re forgetting to make your bed and haven’t cleaned the house in a few weeks? Your environmental wellness may be lacking. You may be embarrassed to have friends over to your house and might have a hard time focusing in an unorganized environment. That deficiency in environmental wellness is already effecting your social and intellectual wellness.
If your emotional wellness is lacking, you may have a difficult time sticking to an exercise routine, socializing, and getting enough sleep. You might consider seeking out mental health counseling if you have noticed changes in your mood that are impacting your other wellness areas.
After you identity which dimensions of your wellness wheel need the most attention, you need to take that first step towards improving them. You can even mark your progress by shading in a little bit of each section on your wellness wheel worksheet each time you take a step. Read on for some first steps you can take to improve your emotional, physical, intellectual, and financial wellness. Just remember that you have the potential to be your best self and live a fulfilled, well-balanced life.
- Emotional Wellness
If you want to improve your emotional wellness, tracking your mood changes in a journal and talking with a licensed therapist can be great ways to help. Give yourself a dedicated space to feel emotions that aren’t always positive, like grief and anger. Write about these emotions in your journal, or, if you prefer talking it out to writing, try out a voice diary. Even as you make space to express your negative emotions, make sure you also make space for the positive ones. Start your morning out with a little bit of positive self-talk or by writing down a list of things you’re grateful for.
- Physical Wellness
Improving your physical wellness doesn’t have to be an all or nothing journey. Start out by doing a few exercises each morning, even if it’s just some jumping jacks, lunges, and squats. The morning is a great time to mix up your routine because it’s the start of a new day. It might have been a while since the last time you exercised, but no judgement here. Once your body gets used to moving, you’ll be able to figure out a more thorough routine that fits your lifestyle. And if you want to eat healthier, rather than jumping into a new diet, consider starting out by drinking just a little bit more water and eating some fruits and vegetables with each meal. If you really want to turn your life around, you have to start small.
- Intellectual Wellness
You don’t have to start improving your intellectual wellness by busting out the Complete Works of William Shakespeare. Instead, turn on a documentary rather than reality TV when you go to wind down for the night. Or read an article on a topic that’s of interest to you before you start your workday. Stimulating your mind a little bit right when you wake up or before you go to sleep can help prepare you for the intellectually challenging activities you might face throughout your day.
- Financial Wellness
You don’t have to be an accountant to set a financial budget for yourself and stick to it. Separate your spending into categories like rent, food, eating out, medical, transportation, travel, personal, home, gifts, and fun. Start out by tracking your spending and sorting each transaction into a category so you can see where you’re spending the most and where you can cut back. Rather than setting a budget for yourself that might be unrealistic for your current spending habits, look at how you can reallocate your funds towards purchases you actually want or need.
Once you take your first baby steps towards improving each area of your personal wellness wheel, you’ll find it easier to create and stick to a routine that works for you. Good luck on your exciting new journey of self-improvement—and self-discovery!