The significance of wellness in daily life

Article written by Mary Metten, Health and Well-being Extension Educator. 
Originally published in the Kenosha News.

Wellness around the holidays can be a tricky task to accomplish, and that’s not only referring to keeping yourself sickness free.

December is a stretch of lots of people, places, and scrambling to end the year on a high note. Roads, stores, and other public spaces are very busy and the pace of the season can feel dizzying at times.

The very full days, increased commitments, and annual obligations oftentimes result in less prioritization of healthy living habits like conscious eating, full nights of sleep, exercise, and those ever-present goals toward financial wellness.

When the time crunch is on, having a quick check-in or guiding principles is a helpful reminder to keep yourself a priority as we inch toward 2020.

Defining wellness

The World Health Organization defines wellness as an optimal state of health for individuals and groups. It further identifies two central concerns to this concept of wellness. The first concern is the realization of the fullest potential of a person physically, psychologically, socially, spiritually, and economically. The second concern is the fulfillment of role expectations in family, community, place of worship, workplace, and other settings.

Additionally, the University of California, Davis, describes wellness to be a crucial part of living a higher quality of life in a cyclical manner. Everything we do and every emotion we feel relates to our well-being, and our well-being directly affects our actions and emotions.

Your healthiest self

The National Institutes of Health Wellness Toolkits highlight evidence-based tips for living well and improving health. As the wellness kits’ introduction states, “Each person’s ‘healthiest self’ is different. We have different bodies, minds, living situations, and people influencing our lives. Each area can impact your overall health. This means we each have a unique set of health needs.”

Keeping our individual circumstances and needs in mind, the toolkits offer different tips and strategies to help enhance a variety of subject matters in our lives. The toolkits are broken up into five categories: Your Surroundings, Your Feelings, Your Body, Your Relationships, and Your Disease Defense. All the toolkits then offer different ways to improve personal well-being in the areas.

One portion of the Emotional Wellness toolkit addresses aspects of reducing stress. It is important to acknowledge stress being a universal part of life; acute stress can keep you safe or propel you with a burst of energy when it is needed. In contrast, long-lasting stress or chronic stress can be harmful to the body’s response and ongoing health.

The Environmental Wellness toolkit details having awareness of the variety of daily surroundings in your life. Places we live, work, and play can have positive and negative impacts on our wellness and health, regardless of them being environments we choose or settings we do not control. The variety of surroundings are considered within the strategies for improving environmental health.

To review, print, or order the toolkit publications visit nih.gov/health-information/your-healthiest-self-wellness-toolkits.
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