We have all heard that ‘wellness’ is important. But what exactly is it? And if wellness is so important, how can we shape and achieve such an expansive goal?
From a high level perspective, wellness can be considered the process in which one participates in activities that contribute to overall well-being and fulfillment. These activities can be broadly separated into seven general categories: physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, environmental, social, and occupational.
In April, coinciding with wellness month, we kicked off an Instagram video series exploring the seven areas of wellness. Dasha, owner of Symmetrix Exercise & Rehab, wanted to explore wellness in depth so she interviewed experts in each area of wellness.
This blog will summarize the key takeaways we learned from the experts about improving our overall wellness and enhancing our lives to our fullest potential. Read on if you want to learn more about it and how to achieve greater wellness in your life.
Jayten Patel is an accomplished physiotherapist and physical wellness expert, which he demonstrates through his active lifestyle. He recently spoke with Dasha about physical wellness. This is clearly a very important topic to us at Symmetrix.
Jayten discusses how physical wellness is not necessarily about ‘exercise’, but rather about incorporating regular movement into our lives. “The best exercise is the one you’re doing” he stated, meaning don’t overthink it, just get out there and get active. Some more tips for greater physical wellness are:
1) Make movement enjoyable
2) Try something new
3) Consistency is key
Movement and exercise are meant to feel good. Don’t force yourself to do something you don’t want to do otherwise it will not be sustainable or enjoyable. Don’t be afraid to try an activity you’ve never done before. And remember, you don’t have to be ‘good’ at something to do it. It’s a good thing to push yourself out of your comfort zone and explore your limits.
Jayten discusses a great reminder that the research shows that it isn’t so much about the specific exercises you do as the consistency in doing any movement at all. That’s where the real benefit lies so just get out there and move your body!
It’s easy to look at emotional wellness and think “oh, am I supposed to be happy all the time?” On the contrary, emotional wellness is feeling all your feelings and not pushing them away. Azi Mohammadian, owner of Azi Counselling & Associates, teaches us that achieving emotional wellness does not mean that you don’t feel negative emotions. Emotions are messengers – they are telling you what you need in the moment. It is only when you sit through them that they move through you and are able to be resolved. Here are Azi’s tips for emotional wellness:
1) Therapy: Talking with a therapist (even if you’re thinking “I have nothing to talk about”) is a fantastic way to explore your thoughts and feelings and learn how to manage them better. You’ll often uncover feelings you likely didn’t even realize you had!
2) Journaling is a simple yet effective tool to help you get in touch with yourself and explore your thoughts and feelings. No structure or format is required – simply write whatever comes to mind.
3) Self care: Taking care of your needs is such an important piece of emotional health. This can look different to every person and in every situation. The key to self care is giving yourself the time and space to check in with yourself and see how you’re feeling and what you need that day or in that moment and then allowing yourself to attend to that need.
Krista Simon, lawyer at Hammerco Law, spoke with Dasha about her experience achieving intellectual wellness. Krista defines intellectual wellness as maintaining a sense of curiosity in life. There are so many benefits to being a lifelong learner: it contributes to open-mindedness, shapes an understanding of the world that expands your relationships, and develops your personal potential.
Krista insists you engage different parts of your brain in a fun way! Learning doesn’t have to be boring. Try your hand at a new activity such as drawing or crafting. Or visit a museum or event with cultural significance.
Spirituality and spiritual wellness were perfect fodder for a conversation with certified yoga practitioner Dolly Reno. To Dolly, spiritual wellness is about engaging with a power greater than yourself. Spirituality helps you make sense of yourself and the world around you, and helps you engage with reality in a deeper, more meaningful way. Dolly’s advice about exploring spiritual wellness is:
1) Trust the process
3) Connect with nature
Accepting that there are things outside of our control and focusing only on what you can control allows you to attain a greater sense of peace and agency.
Just as journaling can be a fantastic tool to help you explore your emotions, it can also help you explore your sense of self. Ask questions – even if you don’t know the answers, the questions are the starting point for exploring deeper topics and beliefs.
Nature provides the perfect opportunity to connect with something larger than yourself. Explore what thoughts and feelings are invoked when you take in a body of water, immerse yourself in a forest, or simply take a walk in a park or garden.
The health and wellness of our environment is one of the most pressing issues our world faces today. It’s a complex issue that takes the cooperation and action of a range of people, organizations and governments. We can all take action to respect the earth and contribute towards its well-being. Guy Dean, president of Ocean Organic Seafood, is passionate about sustainability. In his interview with Dasha he offers tips about achieving greater environmental wellness:
1) Only buy what you need. Consumerism drives massive amounts of waste accumulation around the globe. By being conscious of what you need and only buying things when you truly need them, you will not only be reducing personal waste, but also creating downstream effects on the supply chain to reduce manufacturing waste and by-product.
2) Eat local. Most people don’t think about how the food they buy at the grocery store arrives to them. But the reality is that the environmental footprint of shipping food grown half-way around the world to your dinner table is very high. Buy from local farmers and eat at restaurants that are committed to sourcing locally.
3) Take the initiative to foster an environmentally-friendly workplace. It can be hard in a work setting to create practices that are sustainable. But even small actions such as setting up labelled recycling bins in a staff room can go a long way towards promoting sustainability.
Social wellness struggles hit close to home during the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve all had to cut back our social contact with others for well over a year now. Dasha interviewed one of Symmetrix’s kinesiologists, Lydia-Rose, to learn how she combats loneliness and isolation. Lydia-Rose drops some general tips for achieving greater social wellness too.
1) Try a new hobby or activity
2) Don’t shy away from virtual communication
3) Find a balance between time spent alone vs. with others
While we’re certainly aware that too much alone time can have a negative influence on our mental health, heavy amounts of socialization with others can lead to social burnout. Knowing your limits and putting boundaries in place is key to striking that balance.
Doing something by yourself not only engages your mind in a beneficial way, but it can also become a good source of connection to someone else who may have a similar interest that you didn’t know about previously.
Finally, although it doesn’t quite feel the same as face-to-face, connecting with someone over a video call still provides a much needed source of human connection.
Lorraine Sims is a business coach and owner of Trinity Coaching Group. She defines occupational wellness as the process where the work that you engage in is personally fulfilling and rewarding. She discusses her view on the 3 different levels of work: a job, a career, and a vocation. The highest level of work is a vocation; where you are living out your true calling and passion in life.
Meaningful work goes beyond our own lives and affects the wellbeing of others too. When you’re engaged in meaningful work, you achieve greater productivity and an increased general sense of well-being. Your personal relationships and everyday life improve which has a ripple effect, positively affecting those around us and society at large. Such a large part of our lives is spent working so it is absolutely essential that the work that we do is meaningful and fulfilling to us. Lorraine shares her advice on achieving occupational wellness:
1) Engage in work that aligns to your natural talents and abilities. Everyone is born with natural gifts and when you use them to contribute to the world, this is the pathway to experiencing the ultimate sense of fulfillment, meaning, and purpose. Not sure what they are? What you are passionate about? Your passions are your natural gifts.
2) Start small. Considering a career change is scary and daunting. If that seems too big a move for the current time, see if you can engage in your passions in a volunteer (or paid) role on the side. So long as you are pursuing your passions in some way, you are on the pathway to experiencing fulfillment and occupational wellness.
Start on your Path Towards Wellness
Achieving a balance of all the different areas of wellness is key to overall vitality and wellness. We’re passionate about getting people moving at Symmetrix, whether that’s helping you get active when traveling, overcome injuries or to achieve specific fitness goals.
Check out our services and book a free consultation today to get started on your movement journey.