What Is Wellness Anyways?
Wellness has become one of the primary buzzwords of modern conversation. Often aligned with kale and hot yoga, somewhere along the way our culture started treating wellness as a checklist that exists outside of ourselves. How many times did you go to the gym this week? How many cookies or glasses of wine did you deprive yourself of? If you did eat the cookies, how many green juices did you drink to “negate” them? But real wellness that works- holistic wellness- is so much more than that. According to the World Health Organization, wellness is defined as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Similarly, the National Wellness Institute defines it as “a conscious, self-directed and evolving process of achieving full potential.” A process. As children of an on-demand age of two hour delivery and instant information, we don’t typically have much time for processes. We want answers and solutions as easy as a Google search or a trip to the grocery store. But the National Wellness Institute hits the nail on the head with their definition: true wellness is a commitment to your constant evolution, aka, continual improvement. But that doesn’t have to be scary! Using concepts like goal setting, time management, healthy habits, and self love, we’ve put together a super approachable outline for how to achieve real wellness in your life!
Wellness That Works template:
1. Goal Setting
When was the last time you took stock of your goals? When we’re talking about wellness, we are so often talking about physical health. But there are so many more layers to the concept! There is also emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, social, and spiritual wellness. Each of these pillars come together to create what we’ve been referring to as holistic wellness: wellness as it relates to one’s entire life. Now you might be thinking “How could I possibly be working toward so many different things at once, on top of everything else going on in my life?” There are two things we want you to zero in on as they relate to this concern. First, remember the suggestion that wellness is a process. The point of this journey is the journey, not an inflated idea of achieved perfection. You are exactly as you should be in this moment; wellness that works is about honoring both where you are and where you’d like to be.
Secondly, though goal setting under each of these umbrellas might initially feel like adding another mountain of work on top of your existing mountain- it’s not. Emotional wellness promotes ease and harmony in your relationships, financial wellness promotes feelings of security and stability, intellectual wellness creates feelings of fulfillment and purpose, social wellness improves the quality of your relationships. Do you see where we’re going here? Though it does require some effort, in the long run prioritizing real wellness throughout your life makes it easier, happier, more aligned, and less stressful.
“If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable.” – Seneca
Take some time to write goals for each of the categories of wellness that we noted above. Be mindful of setting goals that feel like yours, rather than goals that might be influenced by what you think people want from you, or by comparing yourself to others. Set specific and attainable goals, and remember to reward yourself when you achieve them! Spend some time in gratitude for what you’ve accomplished, then set the next goal toward your continued wellness. No goal is too small.
2. Time Management
Improving your life inherently requires a bit of change and re-organization of how you’ve previously been doing things. At the beginning, it can feel like having to pull extra time out of thin air. But it’s all about living smarter, not harder. Obviously, our primary suggestion for time management is meal prepping! If you’re not already on board with this practice, it can literally free up hours of time in your life every week. Think about how much more you could achieve with two extra hours every single day. Suddenly all those goals don’t feel so overwhelming, do they? Check out this Meal Prep 101 for Beginners post for some tips and inspo for how to get started!
3. Healthy Habits
Okay, so you’ve set your goals and freed up loads of time in your schedule- now what? This is where healthy habits come into play. You are literally all that stands between yourself achieving your goals, which is incredibly empowering! Commit to building healthy habits that align with your goals, so your normal day-to-day life starts to mirror that vision of your best self. If you’re focusing on physical wellness, map out a weekly fitness regimen and do your first meal prep grocery trip. If you want to prioritize financial wellness, open a savings account and commit to putting X amount into it every month. If social wellness is the most important facet for you at this time, make it a point to organize a gathering for you and your friends each week. If you want to improve wellness in each of these areas, start a running club. The group accountability will keep you committed to working out, it’s free, and you’ll get to socialize every time you meet! You get the drill. There are no wrong answers here, it’s just about creating healthy habits and sticking with them until they become your norm.
4. Self Love
Like wellness, self love is a term that gets thrown around a lot these days. Sometimes it looks like a bath full of rose petals, a quiet night in, a big night out, an expensive skin care treatment, or a day of golfing. Sometimes it looks like taking a day off work to eat Cheeseburger Pizza Chicken in bed. Everyone likes different flavors of self love, but the foundation of the concept that we think is often overlooked is a commitment to being kind to yourself. No matter what.
Most of us with an instinct to truly take care of ourselves are also probably wired toward pursuing perfection. It is human nature to want to be good at something right away, and to be hard on yourself if that’s not what happens. But at the beginning of any journey, from learning a new language to immersing yourself in holistic wellness, it is incredibly important to be kind to yourself. You’re going to have low days, you’re going to slip up, you’re going to forget to ask for almond milk in that latte. It’s okay. Thought it can feel like something that’s outside of ourselves, we alone get to decide what is labeled positive or negative. So instead of telling yourself “I messed up,” tell yourself “I’m learning.” The difference in your willingness to try again over time will be amazing.
Meal prep fam, real wellness that works is something to be celebrated, not feared. By setting goals, hacking time management, creating healthy habits, and committing to being kind to yourself no matter what- true wellness is available to you any day, any time. And we are so happy to be on this journey with you!