14 Tip to Increase Overall Wellness

Wellness is a word that is highly used in our society today. What comes to your mind when you hear the word wellness? Chances are that you think of health and fitness which is just one of the seven aspects of wellness.

“The word ‘wellness‘ is generally defined as the process and end state of a quest for maximum human functioning that involves mind, body, and spirit. There are seven dimensions of wellness: social, vocational, intellectual, environmental, emotional, spiritual, and physical.”

The Wellness Council of America

The University of California, Davis had a great addition to the definition. They describe wellness as not just preventing or avoiding illness but making choices that promote change and growth in these seven areas of life.

Here are 14 ways to improve your overall wellness

Social

Social wellness is the connection we have with others. It is our sense of belonging.

1- Communication. The better we are at communicating, the better our relationships will be. Communication isn’t just us telling others what we want or need, but also the way we listen and act when others are talking to us. It is not limited to the words we say but includes our body language, our tone of voice, etc.

Communication is key because it is the way that relationships are strengthened. It is the way to exchange our needs, our wants, our hopes, our dreams, our expectations, etc with one another. When we are better communicators there is less miscommunication and hurt feelings.

2- Find others who enjoy a mutual hobby. Are you an avid Catholic? Do you really like anime? Maybe you’re a triathlon fanatic? Finding others who you identify with and who share your passions is a great way to bond and forge amazing friendships. It can be a starting point for developing trust and feeling a deeper connection with those around you.

Vocational

Google dictionary defines vocation as,

  • ” a strong feeling of suitability for a particular career or occupation.
  • a person’s employment or main occupation, especially regarded as particularly worthy and requiring great dedication.”

Vocational wellness is not only feeling happy in the workplace but also feeling you belong in that particular field of work.

3- Do work you enjoy. You spend a significant amount of your life working so it is very important that you spend your time doing work that is personally rewarding to you.

If you are not currently in a job that you enjoy maybe think about going back to school and studying something you enjoy.

If you are doing work you enjoy but the company is stressful, maybe look at finding another company.

4- Create a vision for your future. We are programmed for growth as human beings and hate feeling stagnant. Part of vocational wellness is expansion and continual growth in our knowledge, skill sets, and involvement.

Create a vision for your future vocational goals and then make a plan of things you need to do to get there. A plan will help you know where you want to go and give you a rewarding feeling as you accomplish those goals.

Intellectual

Intellectual wellness refers to the exercise and nourishment of the mind. It is growth, learning, and enlightenment.

5- Read more often. Did you know that a study by Thomas Corley found that 85 percent of self-made millionaires read two or more books a month and spend 3o minutes or more a day reading?

Reading is a great way to unwind, to keep your mind sharp, improve your vocabulary, expose yourself to new ideas, expand your knowledge, increase your skillset, and always be growing.

6- Find ways to be creative. Creativity helps the brain be more innovative by improving thinking processes, problem-solving skills, and promoting self-expression.

Creativity allows your brain to make things up, to create what hasn’t ever been created, and to dream of a better future. Thinking outside of the box is something that cannot be taught in school, but can be learned through creativity.

Environmental

Environmental wellness addresses nature and our relationship with it. It is being conscientious of the earth and doing our part to protect it.

7- Go green. The popular slogan refers to doing our part in recycling or reducing our human fingerprint on earth.

If your community has a recycling program start participating in it. If it does not, find a local recycling facility where you can take your recyclables.

Recycling can have a great effect on the amount of waste that is dumped and can help clean our oceans.

8- Grow your own greens. Having a personal garden can be very beneficial. It can help decrease the extra materials used for buying store-bought goods, car transportation costs, and reduces water runoff.

Having your own garden and plants in and around your home are also beneficial in cleaning the air of carbon monoxide as well as other pollutants. Natural plants can help reduce chemicals and pesticide consumption.

Emotional

Emotional wellness is taking care of our mental and emotional states. It is making sure we are aware of and taking care of our inner worlds. This includes reducing stress, developing inner strength, and being aware of the positive and negative emotions that we experience on a day-to-day basis.

9- Embrace vulnerability. What?! Why in the world would this be a recommendation? No one likes being vulnerable.

Bear with me.

Dr. Brene Brown, the leading researcher on vulnerability and connection, describes vulnerability as, “uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure.” She says that “vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity.”

With her definition not only is vulnerability something we all experience, but it is imperative in order to have what most of us crave emotionally, as uncomfortable as it may be.

10- Find a way to destress. Stress is one of the leading causes of emotional and physical illness. Finding a way to destress that you enjoy can significantly improve your emotional state of being. Different ways to destress are meditation, art or a creative outlet, deep breathing practices, yoga, journal writing, gratitude practices, taking a walk, being in nature, and many many more. There are endless possibilities, the trick is finding one that works for you.

Spiritual

11- Be a part of something greater than yourself. Most people think of spirituality as solely being religious. While this is a very common practice of spiritual wellness, it is not the only way.

To be connected to something greater than yourself could mean being a part of nature, meditating and being more connected with your inner self, or simply the act of looking for deeper meanings in the everyday events that surround you.

Don’t let the typical connotation of spirituality deter you from being curious and exploring your spirituality.

12- Have values that you live by. In Dr. Brene Browns book Dare to Lead she says,

“A value is a way of being or believing that you hold most important”.

– Brene Brown

In her book, she suggests identifying two values that you live by. These values are what help you decide how to act through conflict and hard decisions. They do not change based on the circumstances. These values are what keep you grounded.

You can find a list of values from her book Dare to Lead on page 188. In this list, she gives over a hundred different values to identify from. Identifying and sticking to these values helps create a connection to something greater.

Physical

13- Exercise. Exercise tends to have a negative connotation, but exercise doesn’t have to be grueling and strenuous. Exercise can be simple. The purpose is to get your body moving. Different types of movement include walking, bike riding, dancing, yoga, stretching, and so much more.

Finding a movement that is enjoyable and that resonates with your body has major health benefits. Exercise releases a happy hormone called endorphins, it can increase your energy and focus, aid in bone density, and decrease risks of chronic disease.

14- Diet. Diet affects everything in our bodies from hormones, energy levels, mental processing, emotional states, gut health, and illness.

The easiest way to better the quality of food consumed is to focus on small, manageable changes that move you closer to a healthier lifestyle. This could be changing one of your snacks to a healthier alternative, changing one or two processed carbohydrates that you routinely eat to more complex carbohydrates i.e. whole grains, oats, lentils, beans, fruits,  and vegetables, or substitute some of your caffeinated beverages/juices for water.

These are many simple ways to get a head start on your nutrition and taking care of your body from the inside out. You only have one body after all so take care of it.

Self-love Through Self-care

Self-care is a hot topic these days, but when actually done, a lot of people feel guilty or selfish for doing something for themselves.  If this resonates with you, take a moment and reflect on this quote:

“You can’t pour from an empty cup. You must fill your own cup first.”

– Author unknown.

What if you couldn’t afford NOT to take care of yourself? What if taking care of yourself first meant that you had more love, more energy, more joy, more quality time, and just plain more of yourself to give to others? Self-care and self-love aren’t a form of selfishness, but are a way to ensure that we are taken care of first so that we have more to give to those we love.

Below are a list of ways to have self-care in all 5 of the areas of wellness.

Physical self-care

Grooming

For grooming make sure to keep good personal hygiene, have presentable hair, dress in clean clothes,  men shave your face or trim your facial hair, and women put on make up or jewelry or whatever helps you feel nice. Good grooming can help increase self-confidence, self-esteem, and when you respect yourself, others will respect you more as well.

Exercise

Exercise tends to have a negative connotation, but exercise doesn’t have to be grueling and strenuous. Exercise can be simple and the purpose is to get your body moving. Types of movement include walking, bike riding, dancing, yoga, stretching, and so much more.

Finding a movement that is enjoyable and that resonates with your body has major health benefits. Exercise releases a happy hormone called endorphins, it can increase your energy and focus, aid in bone density, and decrease risks of chronic disease.

Diet

One of the most important aspects of physical self-care is nutrition. What we eat affects everything in our bodies from hormones, energy levels, mental state, gut health, and illness. Almost more important than how much you eat is what you eat.

The easiest way to better the quality of food consumed is to focus on small, manageable changes that move you closer to a healthier lifestyle. This could be changing one of your snacks to a healthier alternative, changing one or two processed carbohydrates that you routinely eat to more complex carbohydrates i.e.  whole grains, oats, lentils, beans, fruits,  and vegetables, or substitute some of your caffeinated beverages/juices for water.

These are a couple of simple ways to get a head start on your nutrition and taking care of your body from the inside out. You only have one body after all so take care of it.

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Mental/Emotional self-care

Mental wellness is very distinct from emotional wellness, but they are both so closely related that it is hard to differentiate between the two. Because they both influence one another we will be grouping them together here.

Mental wellness deals with the ability to process information while emotional wellness is the ability to express your emotions based on what your mind processed. If one’s mind is altered by anxiety they might be so fixated on one thing that they wouldn’t process their surrounding information like normal. If they are unable to process information accurately, then their reaction to the situation would also be altered.

Here is a list of ways that we can give ourselves some love mentally and emotionally.

Mental
  • Practice positive self-talk
  • Get enough sleep
  • Exercise
  • Drink enough water
  • Practice gratitude
  • Serve others
  • Get a mental workout
  • Manage stress
  • Have a hobby that brings you happiness
emotional
  • The above list will apply to emotional health as well
  • Be more mindful- be present in the moment, be aware of your thoughts, feelings, and environment
  • Foster healthy relationships and cut out negative relationships
  • Accept your emotions
  • Speak up for yourself
  • Be inspired
  • Laugh

social self-care

Social wellness is our perception of belonging in relationships and how we interact with others. The best way to increase your social wellness is first to identify your specific needs. Do you like having a lot of friends or do you prefer a smaller circle with closer relationships? Identifying your needs will help you know how to proceed to fulfill those needs.

Ways to improve social wellness include:

  • Be more approachable. Smile and let people know you are open to talking
  • Pursue your interests and find like-minded people
  • Join a club or a group
  • Listen more intently and be more engaged when talking with others
  • Reach out and keep in contact with supportive family and friends

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Spiritual self-care

Spirituality is the quality and consciousness of the human spirit or soul. It is a connection with something greater than ourselves. This could be worshipping a God or deity, connecting with Mother Earth or the Universe. The best way to develop spiritual self-care is to start. Find something that feels right to you and don’t be afraid to explore it.  Finding our spirituality can help fill a hole we never realized we had.

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Self-Care Ideas

With international Self-Care Week and International Self-Care Day (July 24) just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about self-care ideas that will allow you to truly take care of yourself. And just for fun, let’s start from head to toe.

Self-Care Ideas for Your Brain

There’s one part of us that’s working around the clock: our brain. Even when we go to sleep, our brain is working on processing everything that happened during the day, and sometimes we’ll get a taste of that when we sleep. Have you ever had a dream you were in a house with no doors? Then when you woke up you realized it was a representation of you feeling stressed and feeling as if there was no way out? That’s your brain processing your stress.

Self-care ideas: So how do you take care of your brain? There are many self-care ideas around this topic, but one way is through neurofeedback, a type of therapy that trains your brainwaves to reach their optimal frequencies. Because when are brainwaves are too slow or too fast, it can lead us to feeling more anxious or more depressed and even affect our ability to sleep and focus. So make sure your self-care routine includes a little time for your brain.

And for self-care week, Aspen Valley Counseling is even offering a discount on neurofeedback! Call to schedule your appointment after July 20 and before July 28, and you’ll only pay $37.50 per session (compared to the regular $50 per session or $100 per session of competitors).

Self-Care Ideas for Your Neck and Shoulders

We hold a lot of tension in our neck and shoulders because we’re constantly looking down at our phones or a computer screen. Have you ever had someone rub your shoulders and say, “Wow, you seem stressed?” Well, that’s because they can feel the tension in your muscles near your neck. When we are stressed, we naturally tense up, and that shows in our muscles.

Self-care ideas: You might consider making an appointment to get a massage or make a deal with a friend to trade a massage for a massage.

Self-Care Ideas for Your Stomach

Research shows that your gut bacteria is extremely important to your overall health. And we all know that a tummy ache is never comfortable. So, taking some time for self-care for your stomach can work miracles. Nowadays, you’ll find all sorts of suggestions for how to care for your stomach and digestive system. You might try a juice cleanse or probiotics or cut down on processed foods. If you’re going to try something drastic, make sure you consult with a doctor before you do.

Self-care ideas: Try to care for your stomach by eating balanced meals and cutting down on foods that don’t make your body feel good. Practice mindful eating, and pay attention to how the food you eat makes your body feel.

Self-Care Ideas for Your Knees

In the past 20 years, there’s been an increase in reported knee pain, so perhaps our knees need a little loving. When your knees hurt, it can affect the amount of physical activity you can do, including just walking or standing. So, taking care of your knees could save you from a future of painful walking.

Self-care ideas: You might try to take up swimming or water aerobics. The great thing about water sports is that water makes your body light and takes the weight off your knees. While you’re strengthening your body and muscles, you are being kind to your knees. A little exercise can go a long way.

Self-Care Ideas for Your Feet

If you’ve ever worn stiletto heels, you have been extremely aware of foot discomfort. Or maybe you’ve had an ingrown toenail. Ouch. But either way, all day long we are on our feet in some way or another, so what do we do for self-care when it comes to our feet?

Self-care ideas: Self-Care Week is a great excuse for a foot massage, pedicure, or maybe even acupuncture for foot pain. And if you’re up for it, maybe you can wear flats instead of heels for a week.

Self-Care Ideas for Your Soul

Then of course, we all need self-care for the soul. While all the other previous suggestions will definitely take part in caring for the soul, there are other self-care ideas that will are for the soul specifically.

Self-care ideas: You might try a therapy session, yoga, meditation, or drinking a warm tea while reading an uplifting book.