Dec 28, 2021

How to Use a Wellness Wheel for a Balanced Life

By Joyce Venezia Suss

The concept of “wellness” is not only about your records in a doctor’s office. A more personal approach is using a “wellness wheel” that highlights personal dimensions in your life: physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, environmental, financial, occupational and social.

Wellness starts with taking good care of your body. That includes eating healthy foods and limiting sweets; getting enough sleep; and exercising based on your strengths, limits and interests. If weak knees prevent you from running or riding a bicycle, try low-impact activities like yoga, walking or gardening. If you have no interest in cold weather sports, try dance lessons. And above all: Smoking decreases your life span and causes many illnesses.

Your sense of well-being is strongly influenced by how well you cope with life and relate to other people. In a world now filled with social media and “fear of missing out,” it can be difficult to focus on your own feelings and handle personal setbacks. Become enthusiastic about life and participate in regular activities that let you appreciate the little things: a beautiful sunset, a delicious meal, the joy of children and pets, relaxing to music. If life’s challenges become overwhelming, seek help from a professional.

Spiritual wellness is important to find meaning and purpose in your life, whether or not you participate in organized religion. You can develop your values and beliefs with meditation, prayer, nature walks, volunteering – anything that helps you find inner peace.

Intellectual wellness is not necessarily associated with formal education. Lifelong learning helps you discover your talents, the areas where you are particularly skilled,and finding favorite activities to cultivate your mind. Try new hobbies; read different genres of books; do challenging puzzles; learn new skills, and then share those skills with others. Building your intellectual health will help with concentration, memory and critical thinking.

Environment plays a large role in your personal happiness. You may feel stress if you live in a cluttered home or a high-crime neighborhood. We hear news reports about global warming, pollution, tainted drinking water and more. To help conquer these anxieties, contribute to the solutions. Switch to green, refillable cleaning products, and recycle items to help protect the planet. Conserve energy, and plant a garden. Join a neighborhood community watch, and become involved in local government.

Most people face financial stress at some point in their lives, and it can be a common stressor on a regular basis. To help reduce financial worries, keep a record of your spending for a month or two to review where the money goes. Then create a realistic household budget and reduce or cut unnecessary expenses. Live within your means, and maintain a savings account for emergencies, adding to it on a regular basis, even if it’s just a small amount. Work to reduce your credit debt, and find ways to save money. Cook more meals at home, shop at discount stores, find free entertainment at community events, and borrow books and DVDs from the library.

Along with achieving financial wellness, it’s also important to feel satisfied with your job and your work/life balance. Finding the proper balance between the demands of your job and the demands of your home life is important. Equally important is finding employment that works well with your skills, interests and values, and gives you a sense of personal satisfaction. If your job is stressful, focus on fun activities that can help relieve the pressures.

Even people who are perfectly happy living alone need some personal interaction to achieve social wellness. It’s also important to have a support network for when you need help. Join a club with people who share a common interest. Make plans with friends and acquaintances to dine out or see a show. For even greater personal rewards, help a friend in need or join a volunteer effort. Plan ahead and mark your calendar because it’s good to have something to look forward to.

In reviewing these eight wellness links, determine which ones are the weakest, and work on improving those areas. Identify your bad habits and work to break them. Set goals, and every step toward improvement will leave you feeling more fulfilled – and feeling well.