How to Be Well
What is Well Being?
According to The World Health Organization health is “not merely the absence of disease or infirmity but a state of complete physical, mental and social well being”. This connects to their definition of well being which is “a positive outcome that is meaningful for people and for many sectors of society, because it tells us that people perceive that their lives are going well.”
Why Well Being Matters?
Your well being is fundamental to your overall health! The thing about well being, is that there are so many aspects that can affect it - call these the Social Determinants of Health. Whether you can’t sleep at night or you’re working two jobs to pay for the house bills; this all adds up and your health takes the hit. And this can get heavy for ANYONE, regardless of age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, race, etc.
Stress can connect to many aspects of your life. Take for example, a couple, Tom and Gary who have a two-year-old baby and are struggling to find a babysitter. They’ve been taking turns throughout the night when the baby cries, but on average they’re not getting more then 4 hours of sleep.
Tom was working a full-time job until he was laid off. Diapers, toys, and food all add up at the end of the month and rent was not getting any cheaper. Gary decided to step in and started applying for jobs and finding a babysitter. He spent a whole night researching and applying and by the next day he was exhausted.
In the morning, Tom and Gary get into a fight about money and their baby. Now I know this is a tough situation and a lot to take in, but can you see how this situation can impact many aspects of Gary and Tom’s wellbeing.
They are both lacking sleep, which we all know can have major effects such as fatigue, irritability, and lack of focus. They are also struggling financially, which can bring significant anxiety to the couple. Tension between partners can also negatively impact relational wellness.
It is important to prioritize your wellbeing because it is easy for one stressor to bleed into all the other parts of your life. Gaining stability and finding balance in your own wellness is crucial to successfully managing your health.
What does Well Being Look Like?
There are many factors to consider when measuring your overall wellbeing, and they all intersect with each other (e.g., Tom and Gary’s situation). There are eight dimensions of health; physical, emotional, intellectual, relational, vocational, cultural, spiritual, financial, and environmental wellness!
Now let’s break down the different dimensions:
1. Physical Wellness: Exercise, drinking plenty of water, practicing safer sex, and making sure to get 8 hours of sleep everyday are all examples of what physical wellness can look like.
2. Emotional Wellness: Recognize, accept, process, and take responsibility for all of your feelings. Building your self-esteem, establishing emotional boundaries, and having the ability to understand, and manage your own feelings are examples of emotional wellness.
3. Intellectual Wellness: Having a growth mindset, thinking critically, and trying to master different skills are examples of intellectual wellness.
4. Relational Wellness: Establish and maintain meaningful connections, networks, relationships, and interactions with others. Practicing your communication skills, managing interpersonal disputes, and having the ability to build satisfying relationships are examples of relational wellness.
5. Vocational Wellness: Enjoying your career, building relationships with peers/colleagues, and exploring opportunities to learn and be challenged are examples of vocational wellness.
6. Cultural Wellness: Create and maintain a positive, inclusive environment. This consists of having a strong connection with your own sense of belonging and community. Some examples include understanding and appreciating cultures, traditions, establishing relationships with those of different backgrounds, and standing-up for/supporting others in times of injustice.
7. Spiritual Wellness: Establishing peace and harmony in your life through a guiding set of beliefs that provide meaning, direction, and purpose. Some examples of this include being in alignment with your own values/moral principles and belonging to something greater than yourself.
8. Financial Wellness: Budgeting, having a good understanding of finances/taxes, avoiding unnecessary debts and pre-planning for emergencies are all examples of financial wellness.
9. Environmental Wellness: Access to settings where you can live, work, and/or study in comfort and safety.
Overall, prioritizing your well being will support all parts of your life. At Relationships Matters Therapy Centre, we support clients in addressing their difficulties and help them build habits to ensure wellbeing. If you feel that you or your relationship(s) could use support, please reach out!