Up until just a few weeks ago, whenever I thought of wellness programs, I immediately thought of walking challenges, fitness goals, and less donuts in my life.
I recently saw a speaker who really inspired me to think about it in a much different way. Based on the book, Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements by Tom Rath and Jim Harter (of Gallup fame), Chuck Gillespie from the Indiana Wellness Council are motivating employers across the state to think of it in a much broader context.
I haven’t been able to get it off my mind since.
Based on scientifically-backed evidence and international, longitudinal survey data from Gallup’s trusted team, here are the 5 areas of our lives that need to integrate in order to truly be well:
- A love for what we do each day. Our careers are often a core piece of our identities. Our wellness depends on us looking forward to each day and enjoying who we are working with. This can be as a paid employee, volunteer, primary caregiver to children or parents, etc. I think of those who have gone into hospice work after realizing the deep joy and fulfillment they gained after supporting a friend who was dying of cancer. At first it wasn’t their job, but they realized the richness it added to their lives and wanted to do it everyday.
- A rich social life. We need friends and family (of our choosing) in our life for support, to love us for our quirkiness, and to keep us from becoming too weird. (Or that’s probably why I need my framily!). When we have intimacy and vulnerability with others, the capacity of our hearts expand. Having others love us, allows us to share love with others. It’s an awesome cycle.
- A vibrant physical health where we feel good about our bodies. Yes, physical health is about avoiding Type 2 Diabetes, decreasing your risk for cancer and heart attacks, and being able to climb a flight of stairs without losing your breath. It’s also about being flexible and feeling light on your feet. One client of my mine strives for those days when she feels light on her feet, which means she feels good about her body and, mentally, can handle whatever is thrown at her. When she works out and eats well, she feels better about herself and her ability to tackle anything. That’s powerful! While we know that working out improves our mood and confidence, physical wellness is about more than numbers. It’s about feeling good in the body you have, right now!
- A well-managed checking account. Financial wellness means that we feel safe and secure about our money. This type of health often means letting go of a lot hidden expectations: the house, the cars, the vacations, the clothes. You need to truly be in touch with your own personal priorities to break the bad habits that lead to overspending, or that lead to you not asking for the pay you need. One of the top stressors (that keeps people up at night and can lead to divorce) is money. By managing it well (no matter how much or little you have) will contribute to a sense of contentment and ease.
- A pride in community. Beyond our social circles, we need a community where we belong and want to be connected too. This is why we volunteer, try to solve huge social problems, donate to our alma mater: we want to be connected to a cause bigger than ourselves. Regardless if you’re building an app so individuals can give local or building wells in South America, you long to be connected to both the people and the issue behind it.
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There’s so much to each of these topics. Chances are, if you’re feeling tired and overwhelmed, it may not be just because you’re out of shape physically. Maybe your social life is out of shape, too.
If you’re like most of my readers (and me!), you probably have wellness in some areas, but poorer health in others. Over the course of the next few weeks, I’d like to share some key questions with you to understand where you have rich health and where you need to step your game up for true life wellness. You’ll walk away with a customized plan to feel more rich and healthy in the ways that truly matter.