The year 2020 has revealed itself as a year of uncertainty, prompting anxiety for many people across the world. COVID 19 and the high stress that has ensued since has put each person’s resiliency to the test.
Since resilience is a “foundational psychological tool which empowers the individual to feel capable of handling uncertainty” (Hook, 2018), it seems like an opportune time to stock up on the key ingredients of resilience, wellness.
Wellness is nutrition and so much more. Attending to all eight dimensions of wellness can help us feel more balanced; preparing us to be more adaptable, as current or future stressors try to threaten our resiliency. Taking proactive steps to obtain equilibrium can boost our overall well-being.
Stoewen (2017) describes wellness as “a lifestyle, a personalized approach to living life in a way that allows you to become the best kind of person that your potentials, circumstances, and fate will allow.” Because the past is in the past and history, “the present and future lie in the choices you make today. Don’t worry about getting it perfect; just get it going.”
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2012) states that each person’s path towards wellness is unique. SAMHSA has been promoting the eight dimensions of wellness as a vital holistic framework to evaluate and improve all aspects of health throughout the last decade. “Every aspect of wellness can affect a person’s life" (SAMHSA, 2012). "Working toward all of them in one way or another is a great goal, because wellness relates directly to the quality of a person’s life.”
SAMHSA has gone so far as designing full campaigns for wellness dimensions, creating workbooks and worksheets to help the public and providers for the public more fully understand a formula that can help harness resilience.
As you consider the eight dimensions of wellness described below; think of the dimensions in your life that could use some attention. Setting a realistic goal for yourself in those areas can help you "get it going".
Physical Wellness – nutrition, physical activities, and self-management of chronic conditions in ways that help you feel healthy. This dimension of wellness might also include appropriate sleep, avoiding tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs, medication safety, and a preventive approach to health.
Intellectual Wellness – keeping our brains active, and sharp. This dimension of wellness might also include exploring personal interests, education, brain exercise, and impactful conversations.
Financial Wellness – income, manageable debt, and savings. This dimension also includes understanding of financial processes and resources, balancing checkbooks, budgets, retirement accounts or other accounts, and managing loans.
Environmental Wellness – being able to feel and be safe in the world. This dimension also includes accessing clean air, food, and water, preserving areas where we live, work, and learn, occupation of stimulating environments to support our overall health, appreciation of nature.
Spiritual Wellness – understanding what spirituality means to you, meaning and purpose in existence, appreciation for life and natural or other meaningful forces that exist in the universe. This dimension also includes knowledge and respect for different belief systems, being receptive to your spirituality when experiencing pain, fear, and grief, connecting with others in the community who share beliefs, using spirituality to give a better meaning to life.
Social Wellness – having healthy relationships and an interest and concern for others and all humans. This dimension also includes community, meeting new people, and setting aside quality time to spend with family and friends.
Occupational Wellness – participating in activities that provide purpose and meaning and reflect interests, beliefs, values, and can also include volunteering or employment. This dimension also includes contemplating career or volunteer work or changes that fit your values, open communication with coworkers, work/life balance, feeling proud of accomplishments or looking for a new career that gives you a sense of pride and accomplishment.
Emotional Wellness – expressing feelings, coping with stress, enjoying life, adjusting to emotional challenges. This dimension can also include self-compassion for oneself and others without judgement, recognizing limitations, expressing feelings, self-care routines for relaxation and emotional health, and cultivating positive and empowering thoughts, or seeking help to grow in this area.
Don't forget to give yourself grace as you evaluate the dimensions of wellness in your life that could use replenishing. Working towards finding personal harmony with the eight wellness dimensions, can help you become better equipped to cope with 2020, and beyond.
Teresa Jacobson is a Doctor of Behavioral Health and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor Supervisor with many years experience in leading a multidisciplinary integrated care team in Ohio providing holistic care for over 500 clients diagnosed with severe mental illness, resulting in significant outcomes. Working with Ohio adults across the state, Teresa can help you reach your goals to enhance your overall well-being. Feel free to reach out to her by phone (513) 234-9184, email, email@example.com or her website: https://www.jacobsoncounseling.org
Hook, B. (2018). A guide to resilience and wellbeing. The Resilience Institute. https://resiliencei.com/2018/07/guide-resilience-wellbeing/
Stoewen, D.L. (2017). Dimensions of wellness: Change your habits, change your life. CVJ 58:861-862.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2016). Creating a healthier life: A step-by-step guide to wellness. www.samhsa.gov/wellness-initiative
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2012). Learn the eight dimensions of wellness. https://store.samhsa.gov/product/Learn-the-Eight-Dimensions-of-Wellness-Poster-/SMA16-4953