Updated: Nov 17, 2020
"Wellness" has become one of the most important buzzwords of the decade. But what does it mean? And what does it require?
Wellness is a dynamic concept that encompasses many areas of life, including the physical, emotional, occupational, spiritual, environmental, financial, social and intellectual aspects of your life.
The idea behind wellness is that each of these areas are connected to the others and optimum wellness can happen when all these areas of your life are in harmony. Wellness is an approach to healing and growing the whole person in a multi-dimensional way — body, mind, spirit, emotions — as the individual designs and pursues their best life.
The idea here is that if there is an imbalance in any area of your life, it has the potential to negatively affect your overall health. That’s why things like your physical health and your mental health are connected and both have a relationship with your work and social environment.
So what's the missing secret ingredient to take your wellness to the next level?
Infuse creativity into each area of your life.
Creativity For Wellness
Taking care of your physical body is usually the first association people have when they hear “wellness”. This is all about your diet, exercise, physical movement, sleep as well as any supplements or medications you take.
IDEA: Dancing around your apartment, going for an urban hike or having a playdate with your lover can be a creative alternative to traditional forms of exercise.
Also known as mental wellness, this is about your emotions and feelings and how you handle stress. This area of wellness focuses on how you feel, how you process your emotions, and what impact that has on your level of happiness, presence and ability to deal with change.
It’s key to focus on techniques for self-care, stress-reduction and relaxation so that you can use your experiences as opportunities to learn, grow and evolve.
You can eat all the kale and broccoli in the world, but if you hate your job, you can’t fully embrace wellness. We spend so much of our lives at work or thinking about our careers that when this area is off track, it dramatically impacts all the others of our lives.
Being in a state of occupational wellness allows you to own and enjoy your contributions and endeavors. It gives you a sense of purpose, mastery and autonomy as you feel personally satisfied and enriched through your work.
Whether you are committed to a 9–5 or if you want to design your own nomadic lifestyle, the creative possibilities are endless.
IDEA: Take a continuing education class and explore how you might be able to improve on your skills by learning something new. (get 2-weeks of Skillshare Premium free)
While spirituality can certainly have a relationship to formal religion, they are distinctly separate things. Spiritual wellness is all about connecting to something that makes you feel a sense of wonder, expansiveness and awe.
It is as Brene Brown says, “recognizing and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to each other by a power greater than all of us, and that our connection to that power and to one another is grounded in love and compassion.”
Your spiritual wellness is reflected in your ability to see the larger picture, cope with existential crisis, and to feel connected to something larger than yourself and your own ambitions or fears. Spirituality gives you the ability to define your values in a way that relates to your larger feeling of perspective, meaning, purpose and connection.
IDEA: Take a long walk. Set up a morning or evening ritual.
This area is often overlooked until the environment is either so off putting you simply cannot stand it or the space is so soothing and calming you take notice of it immediately. Your environment can be as small as your home office or as large as your whole community.
Environmental wellness is about designing a lifestyle that is in harmony with our surroundings.
IDEA: It’s always useful to weave in nature and fill your environment with living, green, colorful elements that connect you the larger world you’re living in. Or you could use essential oils and natural balms as part of your daily routine.
Financial resources are only as valuable and important as what we choose to do with those resources. Money is nothing more and nothing less than a tool to bring your dreams, desires and ideas to life. Having a healthy relationship to your finances means you are managing your resources in a way that does not create stress, anxiety or a scarcity mentality.
IDEA: It’s helpful here to follow some type of system that allows you to have a clear sense of your resources so that you can prioritize and limit the number of financial surprises that can often trigger much bigger issues. The most direct way to do this is to make and stick to a budget.
Your social wellness focuses on the health of your relationships with others. It’s about how you relate to and interact with social roles and your support network. Your relationships include your friends, family, colleagues and romantic and intimate partnerships.
Cultivating empathy and emotional intelligence are key parts of being able to understand, communicate and connect with other people.
IDEA: Some people find community through shared interest groups, women’s circles or through activities like improv or dance classes.
Our ability to learn, understand and develop new ideas stems from our intellectual abilities. This area of our wellness is about having an open mind that has space for new people, experiences, ideas and knowledge. Going much further than academic knowledge, this area also encompassess our culture and communal activities.
IDEA: Many people enhance their intellectual wellness by learning a new language (even practicing on a language app like Duo Lingo), reading new books, listening to podcasts and traveling.
Infusing Creativity Into Every Aspect of Life
And as we explored, the creative process is much bigger than creating art. It can be applied to art just as much as it can be applied to all the areas of wellness we explored above.
Creativity opens so many other areas of your life and I fully believe that it is the missing piece for a true wellness experience.