“Wellness” can mean many things and affects all aspects of health including physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and even social. How“well” you’re doing isn’t an inactive status. It changes daily, and you always have opportunities to improve your wellness. However, focusing on creating positive habits will put you in a mindset where you organically reach for healthy wellness strategies in high-stress times. Not everyone considers wellness by the same parameters. For instance, some people enjoy a glass of wine daily and are committed to the theory that red wine, in particular, is heart-healthy. They aren’t at risk of addiction and can manage their wine consumption responsibly. Others have been in alcohol detox and drinking a glass of wine leads to a slippery slope. Clearly, wellness is unique to each person.
It’s important when incorporating more wellness into your life that you understand what wellness means to you. This will be informed by your innate self-knowledge, experience, and perhaps input by professionals. For example, maybe your doctor has recommended you increase strength in a particular body part to reduce the risk of injuries in the future. That’s a wellness tip you may not have realized on your own. Still, there are some fundamental ways to incorporate wellness into your life that will work for most people. Always check with a professional before undertaking any new workout or health-based change.
- Say no to toxic relationships. How do you know if a relationship is toxic? It’s an innate knowledge that requires listening to your gut. You might already know one or more toxic relationships in your life, but you stick with them out of familiarity or to avoid a confrontation. Some relationships, such as lingering childhood relationships that aren’t physically dangerous but wear on your other forms of health, are retained because it would require a formal“breakup.” Nobody likes initiating breakups. However, if you take stock of your relationships and find that some of them aren’t good for you, it’s time to take action. These relationships might require an ending (which can be a breakup or “ghosting” depending on the terms) or work towards making it a healthy relationship again. This, too, would require a conversation.
- Move your body at least once per day. Moving your body doesn’t necessarily mean a gym workout. It might mean a walk around the block or following a yoga video at home. The human body is designed to move, but our current society reveres daily routines with little movement. The ideal amount of movement for health is 150minutes per week with a heartbeat at the aerobic level of burning fat. However, you can and should move more than that.
- Be nice. This rule has two parts: Be nice to others and be nice to yourself. Smile at a stranger, hold the door open and refuse to speak negatively to and about yourself. Being nice is contagious and can set the stage for everything from meetings to a relationship. There is power in smiles and kindness. Numerous studies have revealed the benefits of better physical health to mental clarity. However, it does take practice, especially in stressful environments or when you’re rushed.
- Get more sleep. As Americans, we are notoriously under-slept and it’s affecting every part of our life and wellness. Lack of sleep is linked to numerous diseases, from heart disease to depression and anxiety. Go to bed earlier and establish a sleep hygiene routine that works for you. Make your bedroom a place of soothing comfort. Sleep is one of the seemingly easiest ways to optimize our wellness, yet we repeatedly refuse it.
- Take fewer pills. This, of course, does not include prescription drugs without speaking to your doctor. However, if you regularly reach for over the counter pain killers or supplements in lieu of a healthy diet, it’s time to reassess why and see if there are other options. Drugs can be dangerous and are often linked to side effects, especially with long-term use. Talk with multiple doctors, including alternative therapists, to understand why you depend on pills instead of other resources. You might be able to identify alternatives that can lead to a healthier overall lifestyle.
Increasing your wellness is a daily practice, and there will be some days where you’ll feel like you fail. That’s okay because your next choice (or the next day) can be different. Consider wellness a daily goal with many opportunities to increase your wellness quotient. There will never be a final destination, but there are always ways to do better for yourself.