There are 5 components to your overall Wellness (Physical, Mental, Spiritual, Emotional and Financial). The approach to your overall Wellness is a holistic one. So all these facets have to be addressed equally in order to get to be a well-adjusted, happy, healthy human being. Let us start with the Physical aspect of Wellness. There are also 5 components of Physical Wellness. These are your Sleep, Diet, Exercise, Hygiene and Relaxation. By addressing these factors we can take care of the body by getting and keeping it healthy. Once we can build healthy habits around this, then we can concentrate on the other factors.
According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) Young Adults (18-25) and Adults (25-64) need 7-9 hours sleep per night. Younger children and teenagers need more and older adults (+65) need less. Not getting enough sleep or an interrupted sleep cycle can result in fatigue, anxiety, memory issues, emotional instability and even an increase in illnesses.
Some healthy sleep tips include sticking to a sleep schedule, even on weekends. Exercising daily is also a great sleep aid. Make sure your sleep environment is in order. Temperature, light, sound, comfortable bed and pillows. Beware of “sleep stealers” like alcohol and caffeine. Turn off electronics well before going to bed. Also, try a relaxing bedtime ritual to get you settled down for sleep.
We are going to refer to the word diet as a noun and not as a verb here. A healthy diet is essential for supplying nutrients that support vital body functions and mental well-being. Eating too little or too much can upset your metabolism which can also affect your mental and physical health. Drinking lots of water is also a critical part of your diet. Most people equate diet with weight loss which is why we’re not using the verb to diet. We are only interested at this point in eating a healthy, balanced diet. Not over eating or starving. And drinking enough water during the day. Start there. Try to eat vegetables, fruits, lean meats and whole grains and try to cut back on sugar and snacks. And drink lots of water!
“Use it or lose it!” It is a known fact that exercise is good for the human body. Just know that having a fitter healthier body does wonders for your wellness and sense of well-being. Exercise does not have to be equated with pai, sweat and tears. Nor with images of running a marathon or hours in a gym lifting weights.
No need for expensive equipment and gym memberships. You can simply start walking more. All you will need are proper, comfortable walking shoes. There are many apps for your phone that count steps. You can use these to keep track of your progress and for motivation. Walking is also easier on your body. Especially if you are carrying extra weight like most of us average Joes. Find an exercise you like and start. I love walking as it gives me quiet time alone to calm my mind.
When they hear this word people immediately think of Personal Hygiene. But here we use Hygiene to refer to actions taken to maintain health and prevent disease. Personal hygiene practices like showering, brushing teeth and washing hands definitely play a part in keeping you healthy. Especially in these pandemic times. Hygiene with this definition also includes preventative care practices. Knowing what your body is telling you so you can take action. Doctor and dentist appointments for check ups instead of waiting for things to become an issue. All these self care actions fall into this category. I know that most of us take this for granted but it is good to be reminded.
Basically when we relax, the blood flow increases throughout our body giving us more energy. This in turn helps us to have a calmer and clearer mind. Which in turn affects memory, concentration, positivity and decision-making. Relaxation also slows our heart rate, lowers blood pressure and relieves tension. As we go through modern life, we build up stress and anxiety which take both a physical and mental toll on our bodies. We keep pushing ourselves.
This is why we must have recreation and relaxation to reset ourselves. We also don’t need to wait on the weekend or on our vacation in order to relax! There are many things we can do on a daily basis to help us relax. Walking is one which can be both exercise and relaxation. Getting a massage or a spa appointment is another. A meditation practice can also be another option. Believe it or not playing sports can also be relaxing. Once we don’t get too invested in winning or losing. Maybe not for everybody. Maybe just reading a book might be better. There are many things we can do to try to relax. We just have to make the time for ourselves!
So there you have it. I’m sure many of us are already doing some of these things. The trick now is to maximize the health benefits we can achieve. We can do this by understanding how these factors interact with each other. Then we can start to build some healthy habits.
The hardest part is building the habits. We will have to change our daily routines. But we don’t need to do it all at once. We can start small and build up as we go along. One good thing about healthy habits is that as they take hold, you have to use less effort to continue on. They say it takes 30 days to build a habit. So, we just have to start and motivate ourselves to push through for a month. Once you start seeing results it becomes easier. I personally did not like walking when I started. After a little while though, I started enjoying the time alone with myself. Within 2 weeks of starting I was regularly walking 4 miles a day. You don’t even need to do that. 30 minutes per day is all that is needed. Just start!