One day, a facilitator in a workshop asked: Who wanted to listen to a great story? Many of us raised our hands. Then he later asked who wanted to share a great story? There were only two hands up.
I remember vividly reflecting on what a great twist there was in the last question. I spent the next few days reflecting on these kinds of questions.
And I did not want to ever ignore these kinds of questions.
So, what is wellness living? How does it manifest itself in life?
About 15 years ago, Gilbert asked himself these types of questions. In his early thirties, he watched his body, health, emotions and sense of “self” deteriorate. He did not know what it felt like to wake up with a purpose and the will to move forward. He wanted to gain control of his life: to find a better way of living; one that would ensure him a fulfilling comfortable life.
After researching, soul searching, examining and defining what mattered to him, he realised that incorporating wellness-habits in life on a daily basis was the key. He recognised that wellness is unique to each person: it encompasses every aspect of life; and requires serious work, determination and commitment to bring about change. This change is needed to bring balance and harmony to your life.
Wellness is a choice. “What an enlightening discovery”, he thought. Once he realised that it was a choice, he found a way to tap into his self-strength: and saw change as an opportunity to be a better person.
It requires that you do something every day to honour your body, mind and spirit. Achieving wellness means taking full control; and directing your life to where you want it to be. It means you are in control of all the aspects of your life: physical, career, relationships, finances; as well as your spiritual, environmental and emotional well-being.
As you know, this is easier said than done. Gilbert had been a wellness coach for several years and found that denial of self-improvement and the lack of effort to achieve wellness were the main challenges.
The dictionary definition of wellness is: “The state of optimal well-being, not simply the absence of illness, but an improved quality of life resulting from enhanced physical, mental, and spiritual health”.
Many people are not willing to do work to achieve wellness; and they hide the truth about how well they really are. After a while they find comfort in doing this: using it as a coping strategy to avoid bigger problems. They will continue avoiding small problems until a major crisis eventually develops; sometimes this does not trigger any action. The areas of life someone thinks about alone are the crucial ones: the mind, body and spirit. You can access “How to Enjoy Life More: 20 Ways to Enjoy Every Day” using this link: https://www.oberlo.com/blog/how-to-enjoy-life-more.
Adults do not incorporate wellness activities into their daily lives because they lack: time, effort, desire and commitment. When Gilbert noted this, he was talking to a client that a co-worker had challenged to run a race. The client had been a heavy smoker for years and had not been physically active. He asked him how he planned to run the entire distance. It was then that the client emphasised that he had been a great runner in high school more than twenty years ago. Gilbert explained to him that he had become very comfortable, resorting to self-denial about his health and wellness; and that he had to drop this habit. He then advised him on which steps to take to successfully run the race at a later time. And kicking the smoking was the first step.
It is therefore not only the physical being that affects wellness; stress too, is a growing contributor and excuse preventing people from being in control of their own destiny. Monitoring your time management, so as to adjust your priorities to save yourself valuable time for health and wellness activities, reduces stress. You must evaluate your daily priorities; and approach them in their order of importance to ensure success. Instead of working 12 hours per day, it is advisable to work only 10 and reserve the remaining two for your wellness activities.
According to time-use researchers and exercise experts, people often make excuses for their poor time management. “People certainly do have time. There are about 40 hours a week of free time in this country,” says John Robinson, a professor of Sociology at the University of Maryland, and co-author of Time for Life: The Surprising Ways Americans Use Their Time. People watch TV for an average of 15 to 20 hours a week, so they have room to spare some time for wellness activities.
Place yourself then at the top of your priority list. Wellness is important, especially after age 30: getting older brings with it new metabolic, physical, physiological, emotional and mental challenges. Although change can be unsettling, it can be viewed as an opportunity to get the most out of your life.
Later life can be used for: rest, fun, relaxation, and retirement; as well as enjoying yourself to the fullest. It should be a time to embark on new adventures: travel, a hobby or a fun job.
Here are the 8 recommendations to start create wellness living:
- Be honest about how well you really are. Realistically look at the following areas of your life: physical, career, relationships, finances as well as spiritual, environmental and emotional well-being. Identify those that need improvement. Set goals to achieve the desired results, one step at a time. Buy a journal to track your routine activities.
- Assess your readiness for change; and willingness to embrace it. Identify and write down the benefits of wellness in your life; and your willingness to make the necessary changes. Remember: every move, forward or backward, is part of your normal change process.
- Identify and eliminate the barriers or challenges that could impede your success; or hinder the achievement of your goals. Select one barrier to work on at time. For every negative message you encounter, turn it into a positive one. For example, “I do not have enough time” can be turned into “Everything that needs to be done will get done”. Learning to replace the negative messages with positive ones is a new habit. It takes time and practice to develop it.
- Set clearly defined and measurable wellness goals. Create fun and interesting ways to fulfil your goals. For example, to be more physically active at work, you may want to take a two-minute walk every hour around your work environment. Break your goals down into small, incremental steps.
- Create meaningful wellness living priorities. Take a closer look at how you spend your time on an average day. Record your daily activities. Find opportunities for those you might not have known to exist, and incorporate them into your daily routine life.
- Challenge your wellness changes and strive to achieve even more. Make simple changes first, and then harder ones that require closer scrutiny. Tackle them one at a time.
- Design and refine your goals so that you will attain daily results. If this is not the case, review the goals. Redesign and refine them to suit your purpose. You may even seek professional help.
- Make lasting changes to your lifestyle. Identify and celebrate your accomplishments. Reward yourself! Review your favourite activities. Try new activities to boost your motivation.
The pace of today’s world is so fast that we expect quick solutions to everything. If results are not immediate, we are quick to quit. However, the long-term results that extend our lives are well worth the time, work and effort that we put into taking care of ourselves.
Colleagues, do not let the fear of starting on your “wellness way of life” stop you. The truth is, you have to just to get started!