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8 Dimensions of Wellness

self-care Jun 01, 2022
photo of a beach horizon with the words Dimensions of Wellness over the sky

With all the upheaval and uncertainty in the world, I’m watching people experience stress and anxiety and act those emotions out in both healthy and unhealthy ways. I’m watching people withdraw from society in fear and lash out in anger. I’m in awe of people who know how to channel those emotions into self-reflection and self-care.

Even in the middle of the tension we can choose wellness. The Global Wellness Institute defines wellness as “the active pursuit of activities, choices and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health”.

Notice that wellness isn’t something that just happens. It’s an “active pursuit”. We have to do something to achieve wellness. And it isn’t static. It changes from day to day, moment to moment. Holistic health is recognizing that all of you is important and all aspects of you are interdependent. Wellness is about a deep sense of feeling grounded that comes from taking care of all the different parts of yourself. It creates the capacity to handle life as it comes. Without it, we fizzle out quickly and it takes us longer to recover. It’s a huge concept that applies to every single one of us, and it can be intensely personal.

So how do you even rate your level of wellness? If you just go by your emotional state, you may not get the full picture. There are several wellness scales available with as few as 6 and as many as 12 dimensions. My friends and colleagues Christine Gautreaux, MSW and Shannon Mitchell talk about eight dimensions of wellness on their podcast Women Connected in Wisdom, and I learn so much from listening to them and their guests.

The eight dimensions of wellness are:

  1. Physical – This is what most of us think about when someone says wellness – working out and eating healthy. (Don’t forget hygiene and sleep.)
  2. Emotional – How do you handle things you can’t control? (*Whispers* – for me, it depends on the day and how much is coming at me at once. I’m not gonna lie and say I’m calm, cool, and collected every day. But I try!)
  3. Financial – Most of us don’t have the financial freedom to stop working and live in luxury. Life goals! But we can manage the stress most of us feel when we think about our financial situations. Even if you’re in debt (like me), you can take steps to get clear on your situation and change it.
  4. Intellectual – Y’all know I’m about lifelong learning. I have to be because I teach, right? And if you’re a part of Inspired by Indigo, if you read, expand your skills for work, learn a new hobby, then you are already handling that intellect.
  5. Occupational – This is for people out in the workforce or who volunteer. Is your job just a job or is it your passion? However you view it is fine as long as you identify it and it works for you.
  6. Social – A lot of us have been feeling the strain on this one with Covid keeping us apart and limiting our physical contact, and I hope you’ve found ways to stay connected during this time.
  7. Spiritual – This doesn’t mean religion. It’s more about knowing who you are, why you do the things you do, and connecting to a higher power if that’s your belief.
  8. Environmental – This is how you relate to your surroundings. Do you keep a lot of clutter and if so, does it hinder your ability to function? Is it important to you to conserve water, recycle, and reduce the use of plastic? Getting clear on what’s important to you and creating habits that support your beliefs can bring you into alignment.

Over the next weeks, I’ll be writing a little more about each of these dimensions and inviting you to think about how you approach each one - with joy and gratitude, avoidance and guilt, or something in between? We’ll talk about ways to give each dimension attention and care so that you can be grounded in your body and feel well in your soul.

When you join Inspired by Indigo, one of the first opportunities is to complete a wellness/self-care assessment to determine what you already do well and what you might want to do better. It’s a great introduction to self-care and taking incremental steps to make change.

I highly recommend the Women Connected in Wisdom podcast, which airs live on Wednesdays at 5:00PM ET on Apple Podcasts, Facebook, YouTube, and other social media outlets. Women Connected in Wisdom is currently in the top 10% of podcasts in the world on Listen Notes, which is like Google for podcasts!

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