Updated: Jan 2
2020 has been one of the most difficult year for all of us. In hindsight, not a single soul was prepared for the chain of events that started last year. During lockdown, we all had time to focus on ourselves. Every story has a moral, this event has taught us to be kind , loving and caring to ourselves and others. How do we take care of our wholeself?
Wellness Wheel was developed in 1970s with a view to develop healthy and happy life. It is a holistic way of improving our general wellbeing. Wellness wheel explains how our physical , emotional, environmental, social, intellectual, occupational and spiritual aspects are intertwined.
So how do we improve our wellness quotient?
Exercise is the most important aspect of physical wellbeing. A combination of cardiovascular (walking, running, swimming etc.) and resistance training (bodyweight , free weights or machine etc.) improves mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing. 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise 5 times a week is recommended to maintain fitness. Resistance training along with cardiovascular exercise is essential to improve bone and muscle health. Research has proved numerous benefits of exercise as shown below.
Watch this space for a vlog coming up soon for a simple 10 -15 minutes exercise video to accommodate the exercise recommendations.
The other aspects for improving physical health are good nutrition and good sleep. Eating healthy balanced diet including your 5 a day, fruits and vegetables, rainbow diet/mediterranean diet which includes different colours in your plate has proven to reduce risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes. There is a lot of research and different resources that suggest a variety of things, rather than getting confused follow what suits you. Balance your calorie intake, keep it simple and plan your physical activity such that it matches your food intake. It is simply input/output ratio.
Sleep habit: 7-8 hours of sleep is recommended for daily recovery. Every individual is different and hence there is always a range for a recommendation. Consider your body as a computer and it needs to shutdown and sleep is a reboot process. Sleep is essential to lower blood pressure, improve memory, reduce stress , improve immunity and mental health. Most of us have smart watch that tracks your steps, sleep and heart rate. Monitor your sleep, if you are struggling, then you can download an app called sleepio which helps improve your sleep habits.
Intellectual wellness is about being a life long student.
Increase curiosity, learn a new skill, broaden your horizons, read books, take up an art, learn a new language, take up a new hobby or learn a musical instrument. Do something that challenges you.
If this all sounds boring and tedious, simply reflect on your day.
What went well, how could I have done things differently?
Did I achieve something today? If yes, give yourself a good pat on the back.
Was I harsh on myself and or others, how do I take it easy?
How can I bring on change and do things in a different way?
Write a diary and reflect on weeks/months/years and you will see improvement in intellectual wellness.
Environmental Wellness is not just about the planet, it is also about your surroundings. tidyhousetidymind.
We feel better when we see a tidy room, tidy closet and a clean table to dine on.
Human beings love order and routine. We get up, get ready and have a plan for our day.
During lockdown , decluttering became a trend. People are working from home, they have time to tidy up.
Always ask yourselves a question how can I make the surroundings better.
If you have time, volunteer and help out your local council or neighbourhood and we can all step towards a better 2021 together.
Covid has caused a great impact on us by causing social isolation.
We do take friends and family for granted sometimes however this year has definitely brought us closer in spite of the social distance.
We learnt socialising can be done virtually on zoom.
Talking to people, meeting people, having a social interaction in any form is vital for sustenance.
Humans are social beings and we need each other.
I work in NHS and patients have been taking longer to finish an appointment and I do not blame them. They miss talking , they miss face to face conversations.
Use your support bubble, call your friends and family, go for a socially distanced walk with your neighbour or friend.
Use your local council's social prescribing resources such as walking groups, cycling, running clubs etc when you are allowed to.
There are lots of classes such as knitting, sewing, photography and other interesting hobbies you would like or you want to take up available to join.
Do ask for help, if you are struggling, there are resources available such as https://www.mind.org.uk/about-us/what-we-do/
Emotional Wellness is essential part of being human being.
We are all different and handle emotions in our own ways.
Although emotion is a chemical reaction, it is triggered by various factors such as environment, physical health, mental health and occupational health.
Stress is multifaceted and it can take a very different shape or form depending on what the triggers or stressors are.
How to improve emotional wellness?
Develop a routine, understand the stressors, seek help, use mindfulness apps such as headspace, calm etc.
Everybody handles their stress differently, see what works for you.
I love dancing and it has been the best stressbuster for me since I know myself.
Develop confidence in yourself, take up yoga, meditate, listen to music, do what makes you happy because that is most important of all.
On an average, a normal person works 8 hours a day, 5 times a week. This accounts to 1/3rd of your day.
Work is significant part of our individuality. If you do not enjoy what you are doing this can cause stress.
Some people say they dont enjoy their work but it pays their bills.
Understanding the financial aspect of your work is also essential.
Setting a budget, understanding your spending, working out savings and yet establishing a good work life balance almost sounds impossible to most of us.
Seeking help with stresses at work, discussing with your occupational health department.
Please do check out my workfromhome post for workstation guide and exercises.
Ensure you seek help to deal with stress at work because that can have various physical and mental effects on your body.
Spiritual wellness does not necessarily mean being religious. Spirituality itself means being one with yourself, understanding your beliefs, ethics and thoughts.
Reflection of what you are and what you believe in, is of paramount importance.
How to be spiritual?
During covid times, we all have struggled and are struggling to handle the stress which is out of our control.
You can take up mindfulness activities. Mindfulness activities can be decluttering your home, gardening, singing, dancing, listening to music, reading a book, exercising and spending time with your loved ones etc.
The key to mindfulness is to be present in the moment of the said activity.
Gratitude is a significant key to being spiritual.
Be thankful for what you have and count your blessings.
Anything that brings a smile on your face and makes you sleep better at night can improve your spirituality.
To sum it up, all these dimensions are inter-related and one change can offset this balanced wheel. To be able to maintain the wellness it is crucial to look at the body, mind and soul holistically. I always stress , " if we dont take care of our body, our body wont take care of us "
Please click on this link to find out your wellness quotient.
Thank you for reading!