These are the top five areas of wellness that you can grow and expand in for a healthier, happier life.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately, as we move into a new year, about how I would like to grow as a person. I’ve been thinking about this and which areas specifically I would like to grow in. Tis the season for goal-setting and self-improvement! Generally speaking, there are 5 main areas of wellness. Of course, there’s more than just these 5 areas of wellness, but these are the 5 that I deem to be the most important to keep in mind when embarking on a self-improvement journey.
How you choose to learn, grow, and evolve in these areas is up to you. Take what you will from this, incorporate and expand on your own ideas, and go forth in 2022 to become a better you.
Emotional wellness is arguably the most important out of all of the areas of wellness because without strong emotional wellness, it may be hard to grow in other areas. So much of what we do, learn, and experience stems from emotional wellbeing. The way we interact and perceive the world around us has a lot to do with our emotional state.
A few ways to expand on your emotional wellness are:
Allow yourself to feel however you want to feel
Let yourself experience each emotion instead of numbing or pushing things aside. Don’t gaslight yourself! If you’re feeling angry, be angry (just don’t take it out on others), if you’re feeling sad, let yourself feel that and process it in whatever way feels the best to you. If you’re feeling happy, let that shine through and experience it wholeheartedly.
Take control of your stress levels and learn to manage them
Stress is responsible for creating a variety of health issues. When you’re stressed out your body releases cortisol which increases your blood pressure and heart rate. This chemical release can leave you feeling revved up, high-strung, and ready to fight. This can be helpful in a fight-or-flight situation but a state of stress shouldn’t be your resting state.
Take time for yourself
Say, “No” to that social event, spend the evening having a spa night, take a nap; just do something for yourself at least once a week. Prioritize having “me time” so you can reflect on your emotions and create healthy habits that allow you to have better control and understanding of your emotions when you’re living life outside of that “me time.”
Financial wellness is all about having the means to get by and live comfortably. If you’ve ever experienced money trouble (and let’s be real here, who hasn’t?) you know just how draining it can be. Practicing financial wellness can take form in a variety of ways and growing in this area can help you grow in other areas of wellness.
Some ways to expand on financial wellness are:
Create a reliable income for yourself
Most of the time, this will just look like a full-time job with a regular paycheck that pays the bills. If you’re like me though, working a full-time job was not ideal for my emotional wellness. Full-time jobs make me angry, unstable and tend to bring in a sense of hopelessness. For me, I needed to create multiple streams of income doing different jobs in smaller chunks of time to create a reliable income for myself. Find what you need to do in order to pay the bills; hopefully, it makes you happy too!
Create a budget and stick to it
Obviously, paying all of your monthly bills should be the top priority. But with any money left over, decide how you’re going to portion it out and stick to it. For example, if you have $400 leftover each month and you decide to save half and spend half, make sure you really save that $200 each month. By the end of the year, you’ll have $2,400 which is a nice chunk of change for most people.
Think about your future
This can send some into a state of stress, so don’t panic! Having some kind of a savings plan can help alleviate a lot of the stress people have around money. It’s one thing to worry about paying the bills when you’re working, but what are you going to do when you’re older and aren’t working anymore? Think about investments you could make or a plan you could put in place for your future so you live comfortably and stress-free.
There’s plenty of science and research to back the fact that physical wellness is beneficial to us as humans. Physical activity can promote healthy bodily functions, support a healthy weight and body image, and plays a big part in our mental and emotional wellbeing. A big reason this is in the top 5 areas of wellness-physical wellness is a pillar of many other areas of wellness.
A few ways you can expand on physical health are:
Get up and get your body moving for at least 30 minutes a day. You could stretch, go for a walk, hit the gym, go rock climbing, or jump rope. There are probably about a thousand different activities you could choose from to get active. Any kind of movement is good movement. Exercising regularly can even release feel-good chemicals in the brain like dopamine or serotonin to make you feel happier and less stressed. It also helps regulate crucial bodily functions and maintain a healthy weight.
Get plenty of sleep
Most full-grown adults need 7-9 hours of sleep. I fall closer to the end of 9 hours and fight it every night, knowing full well that I’ll feel better if I actually sleep 9 hours. Let your body rest when it needs to rest. Our bodies need sleep in order to function properly. If you’re having a hard time falling asleep, may I suggest my article on sleep habits!
Eat healthy food
A large portion of our emotional and physical wellness depends on the food we put in our bodies. As cliche as it is, you really are what you eat. When you take in foods that fuel your body and are packed with vitamins and nutrients, you’ll obviously feel better overall. Vice versa, steering clear of foods that don’t agree with you will be beneficial to your overall wellness.
Humans by nature are social creatures. We thrive in a community setting and rely heavily on the support and companionship of others. While there’s something to be said about carving out time for yourself and having a little ol’ “me time”, there’s also something to be said about cultivating the social relationships we have in our lives and expanding on our social wellness.
Some ways you can expand and develop your social wellness are:
Show up for friends and family
This goes right along with the age-old saying, “Treat others how you want to be treated.” Just like it’s important to you that your friends, family, and other important relationships are present in your life and show up for you, you should be doing the same. Show people you care for them through your actions because-one more saying here-”Actions speak louder than words.”
Have meaningful conversations
Enough with the small talk. Let’s all leave that behind. A great way to cultivate long-lasting, worthwhile relationships in your life is to have real conversations with the people around you. Be vulnerable, be open, let your relationships grow full of secrets and stories shared. Secrets do in fact make friends!
Create healthy boundaries where needed
While it’s great to share important milestones and problems with those you have close relationships with, it’s also great to set boundaries when you need to. Any relationship is a two-way street, meaning that if someone in your life is repeatedly overstepping with you or saying things that don’t feel good to you, speak up!
Spiritual wellness is something deeply personal to each individual person and something I dare to even touch on lightly. Everyone has a different belief system, a way they feel towards spirituality, and how they best integrate that into their daily lives. However, you choose to integrate spirituality into your growth will be the right way to do it. For me, practicing meditation, yoga, and pulling a tarot card from time to time is what creates a spiritual connection for me.
Other ways to grow and develop in spiritual wellness are:
Regular prayer or meditation
Whatever you choose to believe, sitting quietly for a few minutes each day or even each week to calm your mind, body, and soul and sit with your beliefs can be a transformative experience. This can be done almost anywhere too, which makes growth in spiritual wellness easier in a way because it’s not hindered by gym memberships, deadlines, or any kind of purchase.
Giving a little thanks for the blessings you have in your life can go a long way. It puts your mind on the fast track to think of more things you have to be grateful for. I like to start my day by not getting out of bed for the first hour and a half of my day because I sit there and read, meditate, and journal about what I’m grateful for that day.
Connect with nature
Clean, fresh air and a good set of trees boasts significant health benefits. It also can bring you closer to whatever spiritual beliefs you have. Going for a walk in nature (barefoot=optional) can help you root yourself back in the present moment and take stock of where you’re at in your life. I’ve always found walking barefoot in nature to be a very spiritually grounding experience, personally.
If there’s one takeaway from all of this, it’s that each area of wellness plays with another. They’re all connected. It’s important to keep each area balanced and make an effort to grow in each area so you can live a well-rounded, happy, healthy life. Through growing in each area of wellness you may even reach a state of living in Eudaimonia Eutopia (brand name plug-no shame.)
If you do nothing else in 2022, take care of yourself in each area of wellness; it’s worth it.