The concept of wellness has been around for eons, from ancient civilisations through the foundational philosophy and codes of contemporary counselling, allied mental health and medical faculties.
Our society is starting to wake up to the value of looking after ourselves in a way that we haven’t in a long time. As a culture within the clients I see, the people I associate with, follow and observe there is an even bigger push to get real and change.
As practitioners we are being driven by consumer demand, resulting in embracing a holistic, wellness-oriented approach. This is in contrast with traditional medical/illness models, and many of our theoretical approaches have adopted health-enhancing, prevention-oriented protocols.
People in a position of influence including Medical, Allied Health, Coaches, Mentors and employers will with time need to incorporate elements of wellness promotion in their model of engagement as appropriate to the relationship they have with whom they are caring for.
Thankfully, many professionals and workplaces are already integrating wellness-based practices environments they influence.
Wellness is a perception of how one feels at any given moment, encapsulating the various facets or segments of life creating a synergistic effect. Medicine, well-meaning allied health professionals and friends’ seem to support popular media’s prescriptive model, which also focuses on the objective, KPI changes.
The idea of “I must,” suggests people must do specific things and achieve certain outcome markers to be considered healthy.
For example, we ‘must’:
- Get eight hours of sleep per night
- Drink eight glasses of water per day.
- Complete weight training, cardiovascular exercise,
- Achieve a specific body mass index and
- Frequent, real social interactions to attain health and wellness.
Yes, these are important facets of wellbeing, but to focusing on the physical aspects of health, with limited or an avoidance of the social, emotional and the mental aspects of wellbeing, to do everything ‘right’ as prescribed is unreasonable, quite impossible for many individuals, and potentially detrimental to some people’s mental health.
In my opinion mental and emotional health, healthy self-perception is as, if not more important. It is after all, our body chemistry that changes our health and so our emotions, beliefs and actions change our body health quicker than the common cold, or disease. A balanced approach is needed in the concept of wellness, one that creates a healthier, more holistic approach based on our evidence-based understanding of wellness.
Wellness is a personal, subjective view, an evaluation of where people one see themselves to be at any given moment, and if there is a gap between what they perceive or see themselves to be at and where they aspired their wellbeing then there is a gap. To see where you fit, complete the Wheel of Life activity.
There is now a potential starting place to work with to support change towards their aspired wellbeing. These are the core aspiration of the wellness movement to facilitate a smaller gap between one’s perceived and aspired wellness, increase one’s potential is for optimal holistic wellness by aspiring to be the best one can be at any given moment, considering the circumstances.
The converse also holds true; greater the discrepancy between perceived and aspired wellness, there is reduced likelihood for achieving advanced well-being.
Wellness at work.
Aligning our lifestyles with a holistic wellness approach can also have considerable occupational benefits, these behaviours include:
- Maintaining a sense of humour
- Spending time with your partner/family
- Maintaining a balance between your professional and personal life
- Maintaining self-awareness
- Maintaining a sense of control over work responsibilities
- Reflecting on positive experiences
- Trying to maintain objectivity
- Engaging in quiet leisure activities
- Maintaining professional identity
- Participating in continuing education
Wellness in our personal life
- Engage in meaningful conversations
- Exercise at least 3 times a week
- Eat well for your body needs and type
- Relax and rest to ‘smell the roses’, plan the next steps of life
- Practice the art of Mindfulness
- Engage in meaningful pursuits that add value to your life and inline with your values
It is important to remember
- Individuals’ perception of their wellness levels in the various facets of their life, whereas aspirational wellness refers to the level of wellness people wish to achieve.
- Wellness is a personal experience, there is no right or wrong, only their actual and ideal states.
- Our sense of wellbeing can change almost in an instant, responding to what is going on in our personal, work, or family environments; our body chemistry, and how we interpret (our beliefs) our world.
By using this model, we take people where they are at, and where people would like to be in relation to their personal well-being. To consider another’s personal perception of wellness enables people in influence to create more intentional, individualised wellness plans, activities, environments, supports of engagement and change. The end result is increase health, sense of moral, staff engagement, calmer and happier people and improved relationships. A big win in my books.
Although individual needs, support and expectations will vary, failing to attend to, or look after ourselves and create a personal wellness plan is a recipe for poorer health and wellness. It pervades all aspects of our life, at home and work. The flip side, self-care, and group activities provided to raise awareness of wellness and as individually or collectively people require to work towards their aspired wellbeing.
Wellness is a personal experience influenced by many facets of one’s life. The wheel of life can be a basic starting point to help people identify their perceived and aspired wellness, and the segment/s of their life where there is a perceived gap, and then what they may like to create instead.
As with many aspects of health, inherent in the complexity of it, wellness operates within family, community, work spaces as much as it does within the individual’s being. It is imperative then, to communicate one’s own needs to other in which they have contact with.
Friend, family and employer/employee engagement using wellness strategies benefits all engaged in the program. People who feel valued are more likely to be more productive, content, and above all, healthier.
For more support in your wellness from a nutritionist perspective who is passionate about supporting people to heal emotionally as much as nutritionally, check out our info at stepstochange.com.au.