What do you think of when you hear or see the word “wellness?” Many people think about food, nutrition and exercise. Some people think about being sick or not being sick. While those fall under the umbrella of wellness, it’s not a complete package. Wellness -Total Wellness- has a lot more to with it than just “not being sick.” There are many facets to total wellness that can be categorized into five dimensions:
- Physical wellness
- Spiritual wellness
- Emotional wellness
- Professional wellness
- Social wellness
I’m going to touch on each dimension of wellness, one at a time, for the next five weeks and really explore total wellness and give some practical tips and suggestions to keep my dear readers well. All 25 of you.
We will be starting with physical wellness.
Physical wellness is more than the mere absence of disease. It is living in a balanced state of mind, body and spirit. It includes lifestyle behaviors that promote health and aim to avoid future preventable diseases.
What can we do to promote our own health? One big, big lifestyle behavior that can positively affect your health is to stop using tobacco! Smoking is harmful to the smoker and also to everyone else around. It’s not only in the cigarette, it’s in the air and on the clothing, skin and hair of those who were in range of the smoke produced. It is beyond me how anyone could still be wanting to smoke in the year 2015. We have now known for several decades the detrimental outcomes of cigarettes.
The next big, obvious one is nutrition. We know that we need to eat right for our health. What’s not as obvious is what that actually means. There is so much misinformation on the internet about nutrition. There are an uncountable number of “miracle” diets that claim “If you follow this diet, you will never be sick, you will lose weight in only one week and you will live longer!” The problem is, many of these diets cannot deliver on that promise. The key to healthy eating is this: Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Aim for 7-9 servings a day. If you only get 3-5, don’t beat yourself up. Choose lean meats like fish, chicken and lean beef or pork. Get about 3 servings, 3 oz each of lean meat. Cook your meat in a way that doesn’t add a lot of fat. This means, avoid breaded and fried meat. Drink lots and lots of water. Don’t drink sugary beverages. Eat whole grains when possible and try to stay in your own healthy calorie range.
Get some exercise. Try for 30 minutes a day, five days a week. I find it hard to believe that you cannot find 30 minutes in your day for this, but if you really can’t, break it up into 3 or 4 sessions per day that are 10 minutes each. Exercise doesn’t have to be boring or difficult. Just move. If you like to dance, turn on some music and go after it. If you like to walk or run, do it. If you need structure and guidance, take an exercise class or buy an exercise DVD. You really don’t even need to buy anything. Youtube is FULL of free exercise videos. You just have to look!
One that we tend to overlook or ignore is rest. The body needs adequate rest to be healthy. When we overload ourselves and do not allow any time for rest, the body cannot heal. The body cannot recover which can lead to illness, weight gain, bad moods and a whole host of other negative consequences. We need eight hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. Unlike exercise, it is not good to break up our sleep time if it can be helped. It is also important to take some waking hours just to relax and unwind. I want you to schedule at least an hour every week to do something nice for yourself. It could be something that you spend money on, or something that is totally free. It could be getting a spa treatment, an at-home pedicure, a nice stroll through a pretty park…. just something that you enjoy!
The last tip I have for your physical wellness is preventative medical care. Make sure you are getting your teeth cleaned regularly. If you are a woman over 40, be sure to get your mammograms. Get your wellness checks! Stay up on immunizations for yourself and your children. Practice good hygiene. These are all things you can do to prevent disease or to have successful treatment of disease.
Next week, we will be discussing the spiritual dimension of wellness. What it is and how to improve that part of our lives!