Certified Health Educator Jessica Somar talks about how to create well-being across physical, emotional, social, environmental and financial dimensions using evidence-based medicine and guidelines. She explores why wellness means many things to different population and how to influence human behavior when trying to improve the overall quality of living for individuals. As always, Executive Director, Mindy Griffith is your host for Bag It Cancer’s podcast–Your Guide Through Cancer.
In recognition of National Wellness Month, we wanted to look at how we can all take some simple, purposeful steps to be more active, manage stress, improve our mental and physical health and more. Not just for the month of August but all year long.
Whether you want to focus on physical, emotional, spiritual, or social wellness, it is important to pick one thing and get started with small steps that will help your new healthy habits stick around for the long term.
Build Wellness Into Your Life
Making a plan sounds daunting but wellness goals should be simple, easy to adopt and fit into your lifestyle.
Here are a few examples of what your wellness plan might look like:
- I want to focus on being active. I am going to start sitting less every day by setting an alarm to remind me to get up and walk for 1 minute every hour. Tip: Set that alarm in another room so you have to get up to turn it off.
- I want to focus on self-care. I am going to start by taking a 15-minute break, in a quiet location, with a book and my coffee/tea/favorite beverage on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Tip: Create a favorite space (inside or outside) that is only used for taking a moment out of your day to decompress.
- I want to focus on managing stress. I am going to incorporate a 4-4-4 breathing exercise at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. for 1 minute (breathe in for a count of 4, hold for a count of 4 and exhale for a count of 4). Tip: Practice this technique at any point in your day you might need to manage stress (driving, during a work meeting, while having a difficult conversation).
- I want to focus on physical and mental health. I am going to practice yoga for 20 minutes 3 times this week. Tip: purchase an online plan or sign up for a class (committing money helps us also commit the time).
- I want to focus on healthy eating. I will incorporate 1 fruit or vegetable into at least 2 meals every day this week. Tip: Focus on what is in season so it will be tastiest and also give you variety throughout the year.
Looking for a little inspiration to get started?
Here are some other ideas to put you on the road to a healthier, happier life:
- Increase your water intake. The Mayo Clinic tells us how much water is enough.
- Monitor your sleep and make adjustments for better sleep habits.
- Join a walking, or aerobics class.
- Learn to meditate. Mindful.org gives you some meditation tips. \Plan a day of fun activities you love.
- Visit with friends and family.
- Start a gratitude journal. PositivePsychology.com can get your started.
- Practice being your own cheerleader with positive self-talk.
Setting Goals That Stick
We’re talking about wellness goals that are easy to incorporate into your lifestyle. But if you want some help with setting a goal, here are a few steps you can take to create a wellness plan that will endure:
- Pick a topic you want to focus on.
- Set 1 goal using the S.M.A.R.T. method
- Specific: The goal should be very precise with no room for misinterpretation.
- Measurable: The goal should be quantifiable, and progress should be easy to track.
- Achievable: The goal should be attainable — not outlandish or unrealistic.
- Relevant: The goal should contribute to your broader, overarching goals.
- Time-bound: The goal should have a defined start and end date.
- Share your goal with a trusted friend or family member. Accountability can often help encourage our success. You also might find a goal buddy!
- Write it down and put it somewhere you can see it every day.
The Global Wellness Institute defines wellness as the active pursuit of activities, choices and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health. – Read more about the Global Wellness Institute’s perspectives.
Wellness at Work
Since we spend much of our waking hours at work, here is a WebMD Health Services’ article that shows how to promote employee wellbeing.
Stay tuned for our August podcast for more on the five dimensions of wellness.