Wellness Tip 8: Occupational Wellness

Kaarin Anderson Ryan, PhD

Last but not least, the 8th dimension of wellness is Occupational Wellness. This area focuses on finding satisfaction and enrichment from your daily work. With our occupations taking so much of our time, this is an important area for focus. It is also a challenging area as daily occupations can be stressful – from homemakers to rocket scientists, there is no shortage of stress. To help you with finding occupational wellness, try keeping an open mind about your work. What was one thing you found satisfying today? What is one thing you could try to do more effectively tomorrow? What is something in your work that sparked inspiration or joy? Take a moment to reflect on these things each day.

Welless Tip 7: Spiritual Wellness

Kaarin Anderson Ryan, PhD

Our seventh dimension for wellness is spiritual wellness. This realm helps us find meaning and purpose in our own lives. It can be found through faith, beliefs, values, or ethical principles that generally guide our actions and decisions in daily life. This week, to help build a sense of spiritual wellness, try a daily meditation or mindfulness exercise, or if you are religious, focus on daily prayer. The practices may take only a few minutes per day, or you can choose to go a little deeper and devote more significant time during the week to engage in these focused and intentional activities to improve your spiritual wellness.

Wellness Tip 6: Intellectual Wellness

Kaarin Anderson Ryan, PhD

Intellectual wellness is all about engaging your mind intentionally, seeking creative and stimulating avenues for thought and discourse. This may include anything from reading a good book to having conversations with interesting people. To stay intellectually well, it may also be important to challenge your own mind, either by listening to new perspectives or trying something new. This week, try to stretch your mind by doing one thing to expand your knowledge in one area – look up and make note of something you have been curious about, have a good conversation with someone who has a different perspective on a topic than you do, or read and article on a topic that you normally wouldn’t take the time to explore.

Wellness Tip 5: Financial Wellness

Kaarin Anderson Ryan, PhD

Financial wellness sounds like a term that would describe having wealth. In reality, financial wellness refers to having a healthy relationship with your own finances. This would include effective ways to earn money, to save money and to manage a budget. To help with your own financial wellness, try challenging yourself to reduce your spending in one simple area this month (reduce the number of times you eat out or get takeout food each week, reduce the number of coffee drinks you buy for yourself, etc.) Take the money you normally would have spent on those things and put it in a jar or move it to your savings account to help you see how much you saved.

Wellness Tip 4: Environmental Wellness

Kaarin Anderson Ryan, PhD 2.22.22

Environmental wellness involves finding yourself in environments that enhance your sense of well-being. While we can’t always choose or control our environments, we can consider our own opportunities for creating environments that help us thrive. At home or at work, you might consider adding something to your primary living space that gives you a better sense of balance – maybe a new plant, a small artisan item, aromatherapy diffuser or scented candle, or soft lighting. These types of things might help you feel more peaceful in your own space. To help with a broader sense of environmental wellness, consider what you can to to maintain or improve the health of the natural environment by making ecologically responsible choices or helping out with clean-up efforts in your local community.

Wellness Tip 3: Emotional Wellness

Kaarin Anderson Ryan, PhD

Our third area of wellness is Emotional Wellness. With this dimension of wellness, the focus is on our awareness of our own feelings as well as the feelings of others. Our goal here is to work on learning how to cope effectively with stress and other powerful emotions, while fostering positive and fulfilling relationships with others through emotional awareness and understanding. This week, try this exercise to help enhance your emotional wellness. During the day, if you experience a situation that causes you to have an emotional reaction (good or bad!), pause to think about how you can best process this experience in a healthy way. Also, consider situations during the day where others around you may be experiencing emotional reactions, and think about what you can do to respond in a positive way to others (share their happiness or provide support for stress or difficulties).

Wellness Tip 2: Social Wellness

Kaarin Anderson Ryan, PhD

Our second dimension of wellness is social wellness. This is a large concept, generally including a feeling of connection with others, and a sense of having a good social support network. When things get busy, it can be difficult to prioritize socialization. This week, try reaching out to one friend or family member and carve out some time to connect with that person. This could be a video chat with someone far away, or meeting a local friend for lunch, coffee, or a walk. No matter how small the activity, it will help you foster your sense of social wellness.

Wellness Tip 1: Physical Wellness

This area of wellness is often the one most associated with the term Wellness. Physical wellness includes self-care, healthy eating, physical exercise, and sleep. This week, choose one thing that you would like to work on to improve your physical wellness:

• If you need more sleep, try going to bed a half an hour earlier.

• If you need better eating habits, give up one thing that is not good for you and add one thing that is good for you to your daily diet.

• If you need to improve physical activity, start with 15 minutes, 3 times per week. Go for a walk, try some yoga at home, find an exercise class on YouTube. You can always add more exercise once you get in the habit.

• If you need to improve self-care, try working on one area of self-care this week. This might be something like flossing more regularly, giving yourself a cleansing facial, or taking some time for mindfulness meditation.

Stop and smell the roses!

This is a busy time of year, between holiday gatherings, final exams and time off from school, overtime hours for busy workers, shopping, and travel. It is a lot to fit into the last month of an already challenging year! So during this time, it is important to take that time for yourself, to hit the pause button. Remember that during this season it is not supposed to be about stress but about sharing quality time with the people you care about.

Sounds good! But how do we accomplish this, with to-do lists that seem to be miles long? It is important to remember that one of the priorities right now is for you to enjoy yourself, and enjoy the season of giving and sharing. Look at your to-do list and add time for yourself. Be intentional about it, as much as you would for the other things on your list – even taking 10-20 minutes to rejuvenate will go a long way.

Focusing on your own Wellness

When we think about overall wellness, often people just think about physical well-being. There are actually multiple dimensions of wellness, with a general consensus in the field that there are 8 dimensions of wellness. For today, let’s look at each of those area briefly.

Intellectual Wellness: Ways to expand knowledge and skills.

Career Wellness: Ways to find satisfaction in your work.

Physical: Ways to take care of your physical health.

Social: Ways to stay connected with social supports.

Existential/Spiritual: Ways to expand your purpose and meaning.

Emotional: Ways to cope effectively.

Environmental: Surrounding yourself in a clean, pleasant and healthy environment.

Financial: Ways to feel satisfied with your finances both now and in planning for the future.

It is challenging to look at all these areas and consider how to improve your overall wellness, especially during this busy time of year. Instead, maybe pick one area to focus on for the rest of this month, something that will help you with creating some balance for yourself to help you maintain your energy enough to enjoy yourself and your loved ones.

Stay tuned! Over the next 8 weeks we will spend some time with tips for improving wellness in each of the 8 areas listed above. Meanwhile, remember to gift yourself with some balance, right now, and into the new year.

Tip of the Week: Sharing your gifts

While some people may feel compelled to make a difference for people with unique needs in our communities, not everyone has time to give to become involved with various organizations and initiatives. If you are one of these people, consider adding a group who supports people with different needs to your annual charitable giving list. As with any charity donation, look into which ones do the best job of putting your donation to good use to directly support the cause.