Wellness is something that we hear a lot about, without ever giving much thought. We think of it as something for fitness junkies, vegans, and yoga masters. Those with incredibly healthy lifestyles practice wellness. It’s not something for the rest of us. Is it?
Well, yes, it certainly can be. Wellness isn’t about losing lots of weight, eating only the healthiest foods or spending hours a day contemplating life. It’s much, much more than that. In short, it’s about looking after yourself. Making choices every day, even tiny ones, that are good for you. That improve your wellbeing.
The World Health Organization defines wellness as “…a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity “. It’s not just about doing things that help you to stay healthy. It’s about growth and taking care of your mind, body, and soul. Think of it as a triangle that must be balanced to achieve true wellness.
Looking after your body is an essential part of wellness. A fit and healthy body helps you to maintain good mental health and a happy soul. Think of physical wellness as the base of your triangle. Holding everything up, helping to support your mind and soul. Exercise, diet, sleep, and maintenance are the most effective ways to look after your body, and it’s easy to make a few small changes every day, that helps your physical wellness.
Start with adding exercise to your daily routine. Activity trackers like a Fitbit can be incredibly useful here. They help you to monitor how much activity you do, allowing you to build on it by making the right choices. Try getting off the bus a few stops earlier or taking the stairs at work. You’ll be amazed at how many steps small changes can add.
You might want to add more, however. Exercise is wonderful. It boosts your mood, improves your health, makes you less likely to be struck down by illness and improves your confidence. Try to get 30 minutes of activity every day. This could be running, walking around the park, swimming or taking a class at the gym.
Then, take a look at your diet. Wellness doesn’t mean that you need to deny yourself the foods that you love. In fact, it’s far from it. Denying yourself the things that you enjoy will never make you happy. Instead, you need to balance your diet. Eat well, fill up on fruit and vegetables, try new things, switch to complex carbs and cut refined sugars and saturated fats from your daily meals and they’ll be plenty of room to treat yourself when you feel like it. When it comes to diet, wellness means achieving a balance between what is good for you and what you love. It’s crucial when it comes to diet and exercise that you don’t focus on your weight.
If you need to lose some to be healthy, then, by all means, do it. But, don’t make this your key focus. Instead, concentrate on getting strong, gaining stamina and being more confident. Measure your success in how far you can run rather than a number on the scales, and you’ll find mental wellness much easier to achieve.
Like exercise and diet, sleep is a way to look after your mind and soul as well as your body. Chose to go to bed early instead of staying up scrolling through Facebook. Chose to stick to a bedtime routine and to get up nice and early. Your body will respond, and you’ll feel much better.
When it comes to maintenance, you need to be aware of your body and its rhythms. It’s talking to you all of the time, but are you listening to it? Rest when your body tells you to, take time off when it cries for it and visit your doctor if you feel like something is wrong. Trust your instincts and listen to what your body is telling you.
A strong, healthy body is an excellent basis for a strong and happy mind. Both are important to your overall wellness and happiness, and you need to make choices that look after your mental health as well as your body. Exercising more is one of them, but there are others.
Reading, trying new hobbies, visiting new places and talking about a range of topics are all fantastic ways to let your mind grow. Take some time every day to look after your mind. Learn something new, speak to an old friend or find a new hobby that you could enjoy. Don’t waste your days doing things that make you unhappy or hurt your overall mental wellness.
Another way to help your mind achieve balance is removing negativity from your life. It’s bringing your mind and soul down and making the quest for wellness impossible.
But, negativity surrounds us. We look through our social media feeds annoyed by what we see, we let our friends and family upset us with negative comments, or we watch shows on TV that make us angry. Stop. Say no to negativity. Stop spending time with these people, unfriend them online and instead spend time doing things and speaking with people who make you feel good.
If you are looking after your mind and body, you’ll start to feel your spirit soar. You’ll feel happier, lighter and less weighed down with stress. You’ll feel more confident, keen to try new things and like you can take on the world.
Now you can build from this. Treat yourself to flowers from a florist, to a day at the spa or to something new that makes you smile. Spend time on your own, doing nothing at all and practice mindfulness and wellness. Take time every day for yourself and make daily choices that help your mind, body or spirit grow.
The path to complete wellness might be a long one. But, by doing things every day, you are already on your way. Slowly but surely you’ll start to feel your body get stronger and your stresses melt away.