How Do You Measure Wellness
When you hear the word “wellness” what do you think of? Is it being physically fit? Is it having not had to see a doctor? Is it being happy? It is so much more than that. Wellness is defined by The National Wellness Institute as a conscious, self directed and evolving process of achieving full potential.
Today you can google “what is wellness” and be bombarded by 254,000,000 results. Interestingly there are numerous experts claiming that “their framework”, specifically the 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9 Pillars of Wellness, will help you along the way. What they all fail to point out is that “their framework” has been around since at least when the ancient Greek philosophers set about defining wellness. It was then further developed by Dr John Travis, Don Ardell, Dr Bill Hettler and others who set up the world’s first Wellness Institute. Since that time these concepts have been adopted by top Universities such as Harvard and Yale, and are now offered across numerous workplaces worldwide.
My work focuses around The 8 Pillars of Wellness. As noted above the number of pillars can change but I've found this one the most useful. It consists of
This series will help you consider each of the pillars in the context of your own life and provide tools for you to build capability and resilience across each of the areas. The best way to take a look at where your current wellness state is to complete an Wellness Assessment - there are numerous free assessments on line so find one that you relate to.
After you have completed the assessment you will have a good idea where you should be placing your focus first. As each of you as readers will have different priorities it will be impossible for me address everyone's needs in order of priority so taking a pragmatic approach we will start at the top of the list and work our way down. Even if the current weeks pillar is one you feel strong and resilient in there will hopefully still be some positive outcomes of utilising the tools and exercises for you.
First up is Physical - this relates to nutrition, exercise, sleep and hygiene. Each of these areas could take up weeks worth of articles alone so for now and the sake of simplicity we will keep this at a very high level.
Sleep - we all need it and research consistently tells us that as adults we need 7-9 hours each night. Where you fall within this range will be different but unless you have the gene that they have recently discovered for those that only require 3-4 hours don’t delude yourself! Providing your body with the sleep it needs will produce amazing results for you so try and get into the habit of a regular bedtime. This is such an important area you can be sure that more blog posts will be appearing in the future about this!
Exercise - I don’t believe there will be anyone reading this who hasn’t heard that our bodies need to move. Again research is showing that sitting for long periods is as bad for us as smoking. It’s important to note that your exercise doesn’t need to be all put into one time slot, nor do you have to don Lycra or the latest training gear to tick this one off everyday. If you think you are time poor try incorporating a walk/bike ride to take kids to school. Always catch up with friends at their house? - try doing a walking catch up.
Where I live we have the fortune of great cycle and walkways along a majestic coast line and stunning bush clad hills. Make it your mission to get amongst it - it doesn’t cost a thing and and benefit you will get to your mind and body can’t be underestimated. Or try one of the many exercise routines on YouTube.
Hygiene - the saying is cleanliness is next to Godliness. By practicing proper hygiene we keep ourselves and loved ones safe - its why the Romans built sewers, viaducts and public baths all those years ago. Being clean is also an instant pick me up - how often have you jumped out of the shower and thought ahhhh that’s better. Thankfully now we have the luxury of bathing in the privacy of our own space so no excuses.
Bath and clean yourself everyday - top to bottom. For some of us shaving will help us feel better - for others that isn’t the case. Wash your hair, the regularity of which will be determined by your hair type (and whether or not you are trying to grow dreads!) Any skin conditions should been seen by your health professional if they persist. Clean your teeth. Keep nails clean. Also look around your surroundings - got condensation on the windows in the morning? - wipe them down with a towel every morning there is condensation (and then put the towel in the wash). Removing moisture from your home will help keep mould away and open windows as often as the weather allows.
Nutrition - stop thinking about food as good or bad and start thinking about food as a source to nourish your body. It’s not about the six pack or being size whatever. It's about providing this one and only vehicle you have been given to get you through this life with as much goodness as possible.
Food affects our mood, our thinking and our ability to physically move. Again the advice in this area is numerous with fads coming and going. Live by the motto everything in moderation, the more fresh food you have in your diet the better. Treat your gut and its good bacteria inhabitants with respect, love and nurturing. Oh and drink water! If this is an area you really need help with see your health professional. There are sites that do provide great advice so again find something that resonates with you.
This weeks challenge
If Your Physical bucket is running low it is time to adopt at least something from the below list to help you start to create a life full of wellness
Drink water every day - at least four glasses, ideally eight
Move your body everyday - aim for 30 minutes minimum everyday. Remember it doesn’t have to all be at once - don’t make too many rules for yourself - just do it and have fun.
Treat your body like a temple and keep it clean and shiny everyday. Go all out and give yourself a foot rub - if you can pay someone else to pamper you great - but if you need to do it yourself the benefits are just as good too - and you won’t have to explain how firm or otherwise you like it!
Use food to nourish not reward
Be kind - to yourself and to others