8 pillars of wellness – How to keep the wheels turning in leading a happy, healthy, balanced life
Photo: Jeremy Thomas Unsplash
When many organisations and people hear the word wellness it’s often associated with physical wellness, but it’s so much more. Wellness has 8 pillars and if one or more of these are off balance people experience feelings of overwhelm, dissatisfaction, stress, unhappiness and find it difficult to lead a happy, healthy, productive life professionally and personally.
The 8 pillars of Wellness include:
At first glance this can look daunting, but by implementing small, actionable and achievable steps your wellness wheels will soon be turning smoothly.
Physical wellness is the key component to your overall wellness, it’s the foundation of wellness. Without our physical health we’re unable to enjoy quality of life. Our physical wellness is much more than keeping your body in shape. It helps with the ability to perform daily duties with vitality and endurance, we’re able to think clearer, reduce stress, improve sleep and self-esteem.
Physical wellness is comprised of moving your body, nourishment by eating quality, fresh whole foods (avoiding fast foods and many packaged foods), getting adequate rest, maintaining optimum hydration, managing stress in healthy ways and having regular oral and medical check-ups.
Intellectual wellness is critical thinking, having a learner’s mindset, being curious and open to new ideas, theories and concepts.
Some activities you may like to try to improve your intellectual wellness include:
- Be proactive and expand your skills by up skilling yourself, read books, attend classes and workshops, seminars or conferences
- If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room! Seek out and surround yourself with people that challenge you on an intellectual level
- Explore your creativity, find activities that challenge you, inspire new ideas and thinking
By engaging in activities like these you’re able to strengthen your mind, expand your knowledge and enjoy the benefits of intellectual stimulation.
Emotional wellness is our ability to cultivate awareness on our feelings, emotions, reactions to situations and our coping skills.
Many people avoid dealing with difficult and or negative emotions and hide them from others. To experience emotional wellness, it’s important to express your emotions and hone your emotional intelligence skills. Some ways you can do this include:
- Release your emotions and avoid bottling things up
- Meditate or practice yoga to relieve stress
- Pranayama: the practice of breath control
- Journal your thoughts and feelings
- Develop awareness on your emotions, allow yourself to experience them without getting swept up in them, observe them without judgement
Spiritual wellness is about living in alignment with your core values, your beliefs and finding purpose and meaning in what you do. It doesn’t have to be about following a religion (but it can be if you belong to a faith)
To me spiritual wellness is:
- Being present as often as possible
- Daily gratitude
- Creating and nurturing meaningful relationships
- Spending time in nature
Following my calling in life to educate, empower and inspire people to live and lead their healthiest, happiest most fulfilled lives
Not sure where to start? You may like to try this values exercise
Social wellness is the quality of your relationships, community interaction and your ability to interact with others in a nurturing and meaningful way.
The quality of your relationships affects your physical, emotional and mental health.
Ways you can improve your social wellness include:
- Nurture your existing relationships, practice love, kindness and compassion
- Be brave, let go of relationships that leave you feeling low, depleted, hurt, manipulated and abused
- Join new social groups within and out of your area
- Be open to making new friendships with different people these can be within your workplace, your community and your networks
- Practice random acts of kindness by paying complements, spend time listening to people without the need to jump in and speak yourself.
When was the last time you felt truly listened to and how good did that feel?
Environmental wellness begins with making our personal surroundings an enjoyable and pleasurable place to be that’s free from clutter, has a feeling of order and harmony with things around you that bring you joy.
It’s also about being environmentally aware, conserving our resources (water, air, nature reserves, bushland and farmland are all examples of this), eliminate waste, recycling, minimising toxic chemicals, leaving each place you go to better than how you found it.
Essentially, it’s taking care of your environment on a global, personal and professional level.
Financial wellness is our ability to manage our finances on a daily basis, having savings plans in place, setting financial goals and staying on track to meet those goals and having financial confidence that you have the capacity to absorb a financial shock. This gives peace of mind and financial freedom to make choices.
Financial stress seeps into many other areas of your life and can have a major impact on your life professionally and personally.
Some things you can do to improve your financial wellness include:
- Take stock of your expenses
- Create a budget
- Start an emergency fund, it helps to have an account separate to your everyday accounts
- Determine what you can change and what’s fixed
- Track your progress and do a monthly budget review
- Seek professional help
Occupational or Vocational wellness is about finding purpose, meaning and fulfilment in what you do. It’s career satisfaction, knowing your unique set of skills and the ability to utilise them.
If you’re like me and you’ve found purpose and meaning in the work you do, congratulations, it’s a wonderful feeling. For me it hasn’t always been that way and I’ve experienced my fair share of unsatisfactory working environments.
Some things I found helpful include:
- Enrolling in courses – lots of them!
- Finding purpose and meaning outside my career, I spent a decade in an industry that was never part of my game plan. On looking into other roles, I discovered due to my location (Regional Australia) finding high paying jobs wasn’t that easy. I had a young family and a large mortgage. The career I was in was commission-based so there was no cap on what I earned. I didn’t want to sell our home so I got good at what I did and enjoyed everything that came with the high-pressure hustling world of sales
- Joined a new company (several times)
- Seek out new positions within the existing company
- Started a side hustle
- Started my own business & practice (I currently have a business in tourism and a workplace wellness practice)
Keeping your wellness wheels turning smoothly takes time, dedication, practice and patience but the journey is worth it
An important element to remember is avoid the urgency to change everything, choose just one thing, it doesn’t matter how big or small (small is actually better as you have a better chance of implementing and succeeding) – this creates momentum and you know how much I love momentum!
Take a turn on the wellness wheel here.
Enjoy the ride
Like to know more ways to keep the wellness wheels balanced in your workplace?
I can help your team take a deeper turn on the wellness wheel by facilitating a Wellness Wheel Workshop