These days the term wellness has become trendy, but what does it really mean? To define every angle, the term has been broken into seven dimensions. Each influencing the others, creating a holistic approach to health.
It is important to note that there is no perfect way to reach wellness. Wellness is a subjective term, meaning each dimension of wellness is a balance that you continuously work on. What works best for you may not work best for someone else. The main goal is to fulfill each dimension in a way that feels best for you, consistently being conscious of what brings your life joy and vitality.
Origin Active Lifestyle Communities ensures that every community member is treated as a whole person. We nurture the spirit, mind, and physical body through unique activities, programs, and dining experiences.
To get started on your wellness journey, take each dimension as a guide. Approaching life from a nonjudgmental place and doing your best to tackle each dimension with purpose.
Have you ever heard the saying, “nature is the best medicine”? Environmental wellness is exactly that. Prioritizing outdoor adventures and being conscious of sustaining our beautiful environment have proven to be vital to our overall health.
Environmental health impacts our physical health and mental health.
There is a reason why forest bathing and camping have become so popular during a global pandemic; there is no better medicine than the outdoors. There is even an emerging type of therapy called adventure therapy, where clients experience adrenaline-inducing outdoor activities to overcome mental illness and trauma.
Studies have shown spending more time outdoors can minimize stress, improve quality of sleep, reduce depression and anxiety, increase life satisfaction and well-being, and increase social connection.
Ready to get outside and help your outdoor community this summer? Here are some ways to get started:
- Start to be more mindful of your impacts on your local environment by participating in local public gardens or joining a plogging group in your area.
- Organize a weekly hike with friends or join an outdoor sport like lawn bowling.
- Support local markets when possible to help encourage and sustain environmental diversity in your community.
- Join a nonprofit organization in your region.
- Use natural light as much as possible, supporting your circadian rhythm and decreasing energy use.
- Any chance you get, try to walk or carpool to decrease the number of cars on the road.
- When possible, choose vegetarian options to reduce the carbon monoxide pollution from agriculture farming.
At its core, occupational wellness is all about feeling a sense of purpose in your life, having a healthy work/life balance, setting goals to achieve, and taking the time to celebrate your successes. Having a well-rounded approach to your occupational wellness will leave you feeling accomplished, competent, and valuable every night you lay your head to rest. These factors are crucial for your mental well-being and finding meaning in life.
Below are some ways to get started on continuing your occupational wellness after retirement:
- Connecting with a financial advisor, set a realistic financial plan for your retirement.
- Ease into retirement by slowly cutting down hours or projects before the final day.
- Volunteer in a role that allows you to use and share your talents and skills.
- Consider mentoring the new generation in your industry.
- Join your community’s recreational council to help support fundraising activities or improve your community.
Socialization is a dimension of wellness that is an integral part of being human. Our need to connect with others and communicate is inherent.
Social connections help you live longer.
You may have known about the impact that social wellness has on your mental well-being, but did you know it can also increase your lifespan and physical health? Studies have shown that the quality and quantity of our relationships can increase your lifespan by 50%.
A healthy social life dramatically impacts your mental well-being.
The impact of creating intimate relationships with family and friends is substantial for your mental health. Leaning on others for stress-reduction significantly increases your stress resilience and healing, opening your mind to meeting others challenges your social norms educating yourself and others to unite communities, supporting and receiving comfort from others diminishes anxiety, and conversing with others increases your intercultural experiences to expand your mind.
If you’re looking for ways to increase your social well-being, seek connections with others that cover each of the four types of social support.
To get started on improving your social wellness, try these action items:
- Call a long-distance friend or family member to check in.
- Join a local book club or sports team and actively organize coffee meet-ups afterwards.
- Volunteer at a local organization that means a lot to you to meet others with similar interests and improve your community.
When most of us think of wellness, we think of physical health; fitness, nutrition, skincare, etc. This dimension may be one of the more tangible aspects of wellness as you can easily measure it. Improvements in physical fitness can be shown by getting stronger or visibility more fit, while nutrition can be shown through blood work, weight loss or gain, and organ health. The impacts of your physical wellness on other parts of your life are huge, benefiting your emotional and occupational wellness. If you’re seeking to improve your physical fitness consider adopting these habits:
- Improving your quality of sleep by going to bed and waking up at the same time, getting enough time outdoors daily, sustaining nutrient levels like calcium and magnesium, and reading before bed instead of watching TV.
- Having a daily balance of cardio, strength training, and stretching to increase mobility, strength, and cardiovascular fitness for fall prevention.
- Ensure you’re getting enough diverse protein sources, low-cholesterol fat, and complex carbohydrates in every meal according to Canada’s Food Guide.
Emotional wellness is a less tangible dimension of wellness as it differs from person to person and is not as visibly apparent. It encompasses your ability to regulate emotions, mental health, stress resilience, and perspective on life. This dimension is heavily impacted by every other dimension of wellness and is a crucial part of holistic health.
Including proactive, preventative, and reactive strategies, emotional wellness is a long-term practice. Tackle your emotional wellness by implementing these practices into your life:
- Engage in practices that improve your personal development and heal past traumas that may be impacting your health.
- Work on being present in the moment through guided meditations at a local meditation centre or using an app like Calm, Headspace, or Insight Timer.
- Increase your self-esteem by utilizing your skills through volunteering, a new hobby, mentoring others, or creating something.
- Begin a gratitude journal to show appreciation for yourself, your life, and others.
- Find a balance of rest and physical activity that you feel supports your mental well-being.
A holistic approach to life follows the theory that every aspect of wellness needs to be balanced to achieve true fulfillment. Spiritual wellness is a very personal and intimate dimension that differs from person to person.
Although different for everyone, spiritual wellness is defined by the big-picture unmeasurable and intangible mind-body connection that impacts emotional wellness. Where emotional wellness involves emotions and the physical body, spiritual wellness involves deeper meaning and values that live within our subconscious.
To tackle spiritual wellness is to tackle your overall gratification and fulfilment in life from a larger scale. Here are some tips to get started:
- Use mediation practices to expand your mind-body connection past the present moment to grow and improve.
- Mindfully make daily decisions to respect and learn others’ points of views, beliefs, backgrounds, and values.
- Lean into your creative side by trying a new artistic hobby like painting or writing.
- Volunteer at an animal rehabilitation centre to connect and support with animals using intuition and compassion.
- Remove distractions while you perform daily tasks such as eating without the TV, waiting for the bus in pure silence, or practicing yoga to mindfully connect with every sensation in your body.
- Join a community group that shares your values and beliefs.
Closely related to spiritual wellness, intellectual wellness involves expanding our minds intellectually through education and challenges. This dimension of wellness can involve practicing social wellness by engaging in a debate about politics, getting better sleep by learning through a new book before bed, or improving occupational wellness by signing up for a course that teaches you a new skill. In fact, intellectual wellness is even more important as you age to keep your mind alert, prevent memory decline, and lower your risk of developing cognitive conditions like Alzheimer’s.
A great way to measure your level of intellectual wellness is by checking in on the last time you learned something new or opened your mind to a new point of view. Just by working on some of the other dimensions of wellness, you may naturally be flexing your intellectual muscles. But if you’re looking to take it up a notch, below are some activities that may help:
- Join a weekly board game group like poker, cribbage, or cards.
- Learn a new skill like computer gaming or a new language.
- Sign up for a program specifically designed to prevent cognitive decline such as Total Brain Health® or Mind in Motion.
At Origin, we believe in providing opportunities and programs that address each dimension of wellness. When you find a balance between each dimension, you can truly live your highest quality of life. To learn more about our active senior living communities throughout Canada, we invite you to contact us!