Insightsthe blog of Porter Hills
Personal Well-Being Through Wellness
Wellness Coordinator, Avenues by Porter Hills
Most of us regularly utilize some type of vehicle; whether you use a bike, car, tractor, wheelchair, or scooter the common element for each is a tire. Tires are symmetrical, move easily and help us attain smooth travel. When the tire is flat, travel is impacted until the tire is changed. Alternatively, it creates a bumpy ride! Using that same analogy, to have a sense of well-being in our lives, there is a balance that must be achieved to keep our bodies and spirits strong enough for our journey called “life.”
The term ‘wellness’ may be a new term for some. While health and wellness seem similar – and are often used interchangeably – they are distinctly different.
Health is defined as ‘the absence of infirmity, disease, or discomfort.’
Our health is guided by a physician or care provider using testing, medications, and scientific data to determine the presence or absence of disease. A person seeking to be healthy will respond to physical symptoms and strive to keep their body free of symptoms or disease. They may use medication or other holistic approaches, but the goal is to remain free of disease.
Wellness is defined as ‘the proactive approach to creating an optimum balance throughout all dimensions of living: Financial, Spiritual, Emotional, Physical, Environmental, Occupational, Intellectual, and Social.’
Each person identifies their own strengths, challenges, and priorities based on eight key areas. They can then adjust their life with the goal of becoming balanced in all key areas.
How do we achieve Wellness and have a balanced life?
The first step is to define areas of strength and need. Using the wheel diagram below, evaluate your life in each of the eight areas. With 1-10 point scale (1 = struggling; 10= succeeding), ask yourself how balanced you feel in each area. A “1” is placed closest to the spoke of the wheel, while the “10” is on the outer rim. After you evaluate each area, connect the dots. Using this simple illustration, it helps visualize where your “wheel is flat” and causing a bumpy period in your life.
For example, if you recently fell and broke your leg, you may not feel too physically healthy. Rate this area as a “5” and put a mark about halfway down the middle of the Physical section. You also have unplanned medical bills and must take some time off work. Place a “4” in the Financial section and a “5” in the Occupational section. If you have a strong ability to cope with this change (Emotional), can get around (Environmental), your friends are visiting (Social), you can read and participate in stimulating conversation (Intellectual), and can attend a place of worship (Spiritual), place a “9” or “10” in each section. Now connect the dots. You will clearly see where your life is off balance. Once your cast comes off and you can return to work, the results will change.
This example is a simple one, with a short-term hurdle. However, someone with a chronic illness, bankruptcy, job loss, death of a loved one, or spiritual crisis will have very different responses. A true state of Wellness has balance in all areas. Intentional actions to improve the balance can be taken and is a proactive approach to living a life of Wellness.
While the diagram is designed to help with quick self-reflection, Wellness Coaches and other specially trained individuals can assist with defining your strengths, challenges, and priorities in all areas of your life. They do not tell you what to do and are not counselors; they help define your values, beliefs and priorities to make changes in your life. While they don’t have to be licensed and the industry is not regulated, many undergo special training to become Wellness Coaches.
Greg Anderson is a Wellness expert and states:
“Think impossible and dreams get discarded, projects get abandoned and the hope for wellness is torpedoed. But let someone yell the words ‘It is possible’ and resources we hadn’t been aware of come rushing in to assist us in our quest.”
Wellness is described as: “an optimum balance throughout all dimensions of living.”
The eight dimensions of living are:
Physical– ability to maintain your body and mind and seek care when needed.
Social– how you relate to, and feel supported by others- a sense of belonging.
Occupational– utilization of your talents and skills to obtain a sense of fulfillment, enrichment, and personal satisfaction.
Spiritual– ability to integrate values into purposeful actions through a connection to a higher power, belief, or purpose.
Emotional– ability to identify and accept personal feelings, including the ability to cope with changes and events throughout life.
Financial– ability to understand money to manage personal finances effectively, and to plan for future financial changes.
Environmental– ability to identify how both personal and global environments impact your daily life.
Intellectual– your ability and desire to learn new skills, tasks, and facts through active participation in scholastic, cultural, and community activities.
Click here to access a table that will help you discern the areas of your life which may be out of balance.