Skating Through Winter with the Twelve Dimensions of Wellness
Did you hear the news? Yep that’s right Mr. Groundhog announced that we have six more weeks of wintertime enjoyment. Maybe you are tooting your horn about the news but I’m patiently awaiting the arrival of warmer weather created from an abundance of sunshine. Give me a garden hoe over a snow shovel any old day.
Don’t get me wrong, I am certainly not wishing my life away for a better day, warmer months, weekends, whatever it is that we are always searching for. What I am suggesting is to take this “sometimes” more relaxed time of the year and use it to benefit your body, mind, and spirit!
Now what shall we do to keep ourselves happy, healthy and avoid being dormant in our human version of winter hibernation? Do you have a plan? Well if not then HEY, let’s make one now!
No time like the present to work on our twelve dimensions of wellness. One of the classes I attended during my training to become a Life Coach was a detailed examination of these twelve dimensions of wellness. Check out their web site http://www.wellpeople.com/ or if the following information tickles your interest then purchase the Wellness Workbook by John Travis, MD and Regina Sara Ryan for an abundance of information in more detail. What I would like to do, is to take some of the information from this source, summarize, add my own thoughts and experiences, and share with you. My hope is that this information will give you some inspiration to make positive changes, if needed, and allow you to create a healthier lifestyle that will guide you through the winter months and help to usher in spring. Now let’s get this wellness wheel a turning.
Self-Responsibility & Love
There is no time better than the winter months to develop an awareness of your own processes and patterns, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Take time to understand your needs and address them. Remember no one knows you better than you do; you are unique and deserve to be nurtured so that you will flourish. Find something meaningful that makes you happy and replenishes your soul. The winter months can wreak havoc on the psyche for some so replenish, refresh, renew!
Did you take a deep breath when you read that word? We take our breathing for granted and it is so important to our physical body and mind. Edward Rosenfeld said, “Air is the first food of the newborn.” Therefore, it is important to use it properly, we can’t live without it. Have you ever caught yourself sitting and just taking shallow breaths? We do it all the time and don’t even realize. Take five minutes, sit, clear your mind, and nourish your body with oxygen. Breathe deeply! When you are anxious or angry, use breathing as a coping mechanism. It’s an important tool, so why not use it!
Sight, sound, heat, touch, odor, taste, and movement make up our senses. When you separate each one and think about how blessed, we are to have such powerful sensations in our lives it really is a wonderful thing. How often do you stop and distinguish each sense so that you truly appreciate being able to see the beauty of the world, hear the sounds, taste and smell the goodness of so many foods or fragrances. Have you ever tried to slow down when eating a meal and really appreciate the taste? Do you try to find beauty in what is perceived as ugliness by some? Taking time to appreciate your senses is a wonderful way to meander through the humdrum of winter and don’t forget to keep the gratitude flowing for all that you have.
This can be a beast of burden if we allow food to dominate our minds and bodies. Allowing your senses to work in tandem with your eating will help you to create healthy habits. Food is our nourishment; we need carbs, fats, proteins, phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals, and water to survive. However, eating too much makes us unhealthy. Mending or building a healthy relationship with food is one of the many ways to keep your body healthy, strong and able to weather any harsh conditions of winter or any season for that matter. Build healthy relationships with healthy foods; eat a rainbow of color and hydrate with water!
DO IT…what else can I say. Move that body and your body will thank you. When I took my mother to see her cardiologist this past summer he encouraged her to exercise, albeit suited to her age which at the time was 91. She still exercises, so if a 91-year-old woman can do it what’s stopping you. Moving your body, gets the heart pumping, blood and oxygen circulating, lungs expanding, burns calories, stimulates healthy endorphins and keeps your joints limber. Moving is eating’s best friend, they complement each other! If you eat you should move, no ifs, ands or buts about it. MOVE IT PEOPLE!!!
The primary emotions are anger, fear, sadness, and joy. Feelings are created from within the limbic system of the brain and serve to motivate both thought and action. We respond to events with our feelings and they may be instantaneous or we may suppress them. Emotions are not good nor bad they just are and they can be powerful. Knowing ourselves and having an awareness of how we respond to events is important in being able to live in harmony with our feelings and emotions as well as living in balanced emotionally healthy relationships.
Thinking is dependent on the production of electrochemical energy in the brain and sensory data. Our brains must be nourished with many of the other dimensions of wellness in order to think effectively. Lack of oxygen, food, water, sleep, and numerous other things such as images affect our thinking. Mental nutrition is crucial to brain development. Think about the incredible work your brain does and how many thoughts are processed throughout your day. We form concepts, render judgments, process memories, analyze images, compare, evaluate, and finally allow rest to come to our brains. With all the work done by our brain, rest is nourishment we must ensure.
Playing and Working
We love and need them both, sometimes one more than the other, depending on who you are, it may be working, or it may be playing. What is play to one may be work to another. Have you examined the roles of work and play in your life? Are they balanced? Are they defined? If you are lacking in one, feeling deprived you may need to reevaluate and make the necessary changes that brings balance back into this dimension of wellness. Remember, “Nourishment of yourself is the best preventive medicine currently available.”
Human communication is an exchange of information, verbal and nonverbal, between a sender and a receiver. The majority of us like to talk more than we like to listen but when you think about it, you actually gain very little from talking but when we listen we expand our knowledge. Today there are many forms of nonverbal communication; with this modern method of chat comes misinterpretation. There are no physical cues to observe in an email or text message. Sadly, it seems we all enjoy these expedient forms of communication more so than the face-to-face contact of a conversation. I realize in this fast-paced world we need these conveniences but I firmly believe that striving to maintain physical conversations with family, friends, and strangers is beneficial to our mindset, social skills, is visually pleasing and sometimes even comforting. Don’t allow the old fashion conversation to deteriorate from your communication lifestyle, as it could be detrimental to your social skills and therefore your social life. Take a moment today and really listen to someone. If you always spend your time contemplating your response in conversations are you really listening.
Described as the energy of our aliveness and the preservation of life. There are some challenges and difficulties with this dimension in our modern day time but I am not going into that but instead focus on what my studies referred to as “well-sex”. Well-sex considers the body, mind, and spirit of yourself and your partner. The ideas and norms of sex are clearly influenced by customs, science, medicine, religion, and experience therefore, no single definition will satisfy the majority. All the other dimensions discussed previously affect well-sex and in the exchange, we experience the dynamic presence of another human being. Having an awareness of all the dynamics of a well-sex encounter is instrumental in the satisfaction of the experience.
Who am I? Why am I here? What can I offer this world? Where am I going? What do I want? What is real? What is true? Have you asked yourself these questions lately? Maybe you know the answers or possibly, you are still on a journey of self-discovery. I love this quote from Lincoln, “It’s not the years in your life. It’s the life in your years.” Finding meaning in our lives is just that, filling up our lives with meaningful things as defined by you. If you ever feel like you are on this journey and your life is pointless, that you are not giving anything to this world, I recommend a nice little book called “The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom as it brings perspective to this negative thinking. Look long and hard at yourself and think about how you have affected the lives of others, I bet you will be able to find some goodness, if you can’t request the help of a loved one; a little reminiscing is good for the soul. Sometimes when think our lives are pointless, years later we look back and realize they were actually very meaningful to us and to others. Of course, if you absolutely cannot find goodness in yourself, change.
The last dimension of the wellness wheel, when we come to know that we are one with all that is. Transcendence is an individual thing, it’s not the same for everyone, it is your experience and unique to you.
As we learn, grow and discover the who, what, when, where, why and the how of our lives, what better time than now to take moments in your day to get comfortable with who you are or who you want to be. We have one physical body and one life on this beautiful earth, one shot to get it right and live a fulfilling life. Why not use this time of winter hibernation to nourish our bodies with goodness, expand our minds with knowledge, mend our hearts with forgiveness and gratitude, find solitude in the quiet moments of the night and joy in the excitement of the day and as the winter turns to spring you too can blossom from the chrysalis to the graceful butterfly.