Amy Eksteen

A happy October to all of my readers!

In honour of mental health awareness month, I am really excited to announce and start our new Wellness series here on the blog.
Reflecting on how the act of self-care has recently impacted me, I wanted to start a series that would allow me to embark on a journey with my readers – a journey that will allow us to reflect on our current well-being and build a self-care plan for the up coming months. After all, the end of the year is considered to be the busiest time of year. (For more information on my latest self-care experience, please feel free to read the blog post titled “Self-care Hacks”).

Wellness has always been an area of Psychology that has captured my attention. I believe that wellness is something that we all should be striving for in our day-to-day lives, yet it is not a topic of conversation that we often hear or talk about. Prioritising our wellness is ultimately an act of self-care, essential for our mental health and therefore fundamental to our well-being. This is why I am so passionate about our journey to wellness that is about to begin. I want to share as much information and shed as much light as I can on the importance of and the benefits that can stem from prioritising our wellness and self-care (Ferris State University).

So for the next couple of weeks, we will be diving deeper into the concept of wellness in order to help us build and live a wellness based lifestyle. I will be breaking down eight wellness dimensions that encompass all the areas that make up who we are and contribute to how we feel about our lives. One wellness dimension will be focused on every week.

I hope that through this journey, together we can reflect upon our well-being and how we can incorporate an act of self-care for each area of our lives so that we can live a more balanced, sustainable and fulfilling lifestyle. By this, I also hope that we can build our own self-care plans so that we are able to check in with ourselves as well as look after ourselves, especially when we face challenging or stressful circumstances.

Firstly, I think that it is important to discuss the concept of wellness. Wellness is often described as an active process where an individual is able to gain awareness of and make choices towards a healthier, more balanced and therefore more fulfilling life. Wellness is also considered to be a way of living a healthy lifestyle, which is positive, proactive and sustainable and as a result, aims to enhance our overall well-being.Wellness is not only an indication of the absence of illness or disease, like many people think. Wellness is a conscious and self-directed process. It involves choice and self-awareness. It is a process that is always moving and always changing, much like life itself. Wellness is also multidimensional as there are many dimensions that contribute to who we are as individuals (Stoewen, 2015 and UCDavis).

Our well-being, on the other hand, indicates the presence of positive emotions and moods as well as our standard of living. Our well-being is an indication of how fulfilled and satisfied we feel about our lives. It also indicates if our current state of functioning is positive or not (Health-Related Quality of Life, 2018).

Currently, there are said to be eight dimensions of wellness. These eight dimensions are mutually interdependent, meaning they are connected and influence one another. If one dimension is neglected or overlooked, it can affect our overall health, well-being and quality of life as the other dimensions are also being affected. Sometimes we tend to only prioritise two or three dimensions. We might prioritise our exercise, our jobs and our hobbies, but neglect all the other dimensions that influence our way of life. Therefore, looking after ourselves and prioritising our wellness provides an opportunity for us to focus on each dimension and cater to our different needs through acts of self-care. This is how we are able to find balance (Stoewen, 2015).

The 8 dimensions of wellness are:

  1. Physical
  2. Emotional
  3. Social
  4. Environmental
  5. Financial
  6. Spiritual
  7. Occupational
  8. Intellectual

Over the next eight weeks, we will briefly discuss these eight dimensions, how we can look after each of them and cater to their needs in order to prioritise our self-care and enhance our well-being.

A wellness based lifestyle is about choosing to work towards a healthier standard of living – a way of living that is balanced and satisfying to the individual. In other words, it is a choice we make to prioritise and work towards our happiness and wholeness (Readett & Gallacher and GoodTherapy, 2015).

A wellness based lifestyle is important because it aims to prevent common issues we all experience such as depression, burnout and anxiety. In a world with ever-climbing mental health statistics, I believe that spreading awareness on the importance of wellness and the benefits that can stem from a wellness based lifestyle is essential to our society and world at large (Readett & Gallacher and GoodTherapy, 2015).

Wellness lifestyles are encouraged because they can lead to many benefits such as improved self-esteem and motivation. They support behaviour change, encourage movement, promote healthier choices as well as prioritise our mind-body health. This particular lifestyle highlights the combination of mind, body and spirit by acknowledging that our minds and our bodies do not work separately as they are constantly influencing and affecting each other (Readett & Gallacher, GoodTherapy, 2015 and Ferris State University).

Wellness lifestyles ultimately help us to prioritise self-care and self-love, while allowing us the space to change, grow and develop as individuals.

Self-care is important because it is a part of maintaining good health and a balanced life. Self-care encourages a way of living that allows us to make responsible choices and maintain behaviours that are holistic, healthy and positive. As a result, self-care and wellness go hand-in-hand (Ferris State University).

I hope that my readers find the first post for our wellness series to be informative. Next week we will be talking about the Physical Wellness dimension, why it is important, how we can look after our physical wellness and how we can incorporate it into our personal self-care plans.

In the mean time, here are 5 ways to make the most of your wellness journey:

  1. Prioritise ‘me time’ at least once a week
  2. Allow yourself the time to take care of yourself
  3. Be open and honest with yourself
  4. Surround yourself with supportive and encouraging people
  5. Share your journey, thoughts and experiences with others

Self-reflection questions:

  • What did I just read about?
  • Am I currently prioritising my wellness?
  • Would I benefit from living a wellness based lifestyle?
  • What did I learn about the most in this blog post?
  • What dimensions are most important to me?
  • What dimensions are least important to me?
  • How did this blog post make me feel?
  • Which dimensions do I feel need more attention?
  • Do I spend enough time prioritising self-care?
  • How would I choose to spend my self-care time?
  • What can I choose to keep in mind for the future from this blog post?

All my love xx

For a YouTube video further explaining Wellness and the 8 dimensions, click the link provided.

For more information, use the following links: