Wellness means something different to all of us.
For some, it’s a morning Vinyasa flow. Or for some, marathon running. For many of us, wellness simply equates to finding healthier ways to fit into those skinny jeans.
In practice, true wellness has been identified by research fellows at The National Institute of Complementary Medicines in Sydney as ‘the whole person, not the parts’. Experts suggest taking a more holistic look at our wellbeing, rather than focusing on just one element of wellness.
The Seven Dimensions of Wellness have emerged in recent years, evolved from work by Dr Bill Hettler in 1976. The original model incorporated 6 dimensions – physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, occupational, and social health– but recently, environmental health has become the 7th dimension.
So, how can you use these dimensions to achieve balance in your life?
Physical wellness is often what many of us think of when we’re considering health. Essentially, physical wellness is all about moving your body and nourishing it with all the good stuff – veggies, fruits, lean proteins, that sort of thing. Get your heart rate up a few times a week at the gym, get those micronutrients in and shoot for 7-8 hours sleep every night, depending on your age.
This slice of the wellness pie is all about your mental state. Mental health is a concern in Australia. The problem is, when we’re stressed and on-the-go, we put pressure on our adrenal glands. Our cortisol levels shoot up, and our focus goes down. It’s a cycle that’s hard to escape. Check-in with your routine – try and create calm in areas of your life that are causing you worry. If your emotional wellness is of greater concern, consulting a mental health professional may help you manage things. Don’t be afraid, there’s support out there.
“You can never be overdressed or overeducated.” Oscar Wilde wasn’t wrong. We’re all living longer, so nurturing our minds is more important than ever. Try something new every month; soak up new cultures, take on new challenges – your health will thank you for it.
Don’t worry, we’re not going to suggest you join a new faith or start reading tarot cards – though if that’s your thing, great! Spiritual wellness doesn’t need to be attached to religion or belief. It’s all about gratitude, presence, and connectedness – those yoga buffs are onto something, you know. Try to spend some time each day or each week with your thoughts and your breath. Think about what you’re grateful for, and connect to moments that matter – these free resources from the Meditation Society of Australia may help.
Positivity in our career is incredibly important to our overall wellness. Remaining present, engaged and involved with our professional and social roles – be that as a mother, father, partner, etc. – can foster a heightened sense of satisfaction. There will be times when work grinds your gears – we get that. But focus on the things you love about your responsibilities at home and at work.
Meaningful relationships help us lead meaningful lives. But, long desk hours, distance and the ease of chatting on the phone actually means we’re less connected than ever. Challenge yourself to ditch your phone convos and meet up in person. Try scheduling in a regular family dinner, a date night with your partner or time with good friends. Social connections have been linked to greater levels of happiness, as well as healthy knock-on effects on other areas of our lives.
Get outdoors! Australia is filled with beautiful outdoor spaces just waiting to be discovered. The introduction of technology means we’re spending less and less time outside, but studies have shown getting out in the fresh air can help you collect your thoughts and stimulate vitality. Whether you can squeeze in a 5-minute walk on your lunch break while gossiping to a colleague, or you’re trying your hand at weekend hiking, do what you can to soak up a bit of nature.
Interested to learn how getting active at Virgin Active can have a major impact on your wellness? Book a tour today to discover our extraordinary experiences!