Getting on the Road to Wellness
Posted by Kris Drake, RN, CHPD, on July 24, 2014
“If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one.” This quote by Dolly Parton reminds me that we all have the opportunity to make changes in our lives. Sometimes it’s hard to decide where to start. Let’s begin by looking at the concept of well-being. Achieving wellness requires balancing the various aspects of our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health. If one or more of these aspects are out of sync, then you can start looking at ways to bring them back in balance.
Physical wellness is probably the aspect that comes to mind first when we think of wellness. According to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, you need to two types of exercise each week to improve your health–aerobic and muscle-strengthening. Adults need at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise (such as brisk walking every week) and muscle strengthening exercises on 2 more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms.)
Emotional wellness is the aspect that involves your personal thoughts and feelings. How you handle stress is a big part of your emotional well-being. Improving your emotional wellness involves getting comfortable with who you are by building positive self-esteem and practicing emotional self-care.
Mental wellness can be defined as a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a contribution to his or her community. Mental wellness can be influenced by medications, illnesses, family history, losses and traumatic events. You can improve mental wellness through healthy habits such as regular physical activity, nutritional meals, adequate sleep, stress reduction and more.
Spiritual wellness deals with how we find meaning and purpose in life, a connection to the universe and a relationship with a higher power. It involves clarifying your beliefs and values so that you can truly live by them. Some questions to ask yourself relating to spiritual wellness include: “Do I make time for relaxation in my day?”, “Do my values guide my decisions and actions?” and “Am I accepting of the views of others?”
If you find that any of the aspects of your wellness are out of sync, look for ways in your daily routine to make improving them a priority. Oftentimes, making an appointment with yourself to walk or return to the moment by turning off distractions such as your cell phone, computer or the TV can be helpful in the process. Remember: if you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one.