In our busy and multi-faceted lives, it can be tricky to strike what feels like a perfect balance. The good news is that perfection is not the goal, nor is it realistic.
We are always changing and growing in different aspects of ourselves. However, both our energy and time have limits. We must pick and choose where we would like to spend that time and energy at varying points in life. The Wellness Wheel is one very useful way to create a visual picture of the balance that presently exists in our lives and gain perspective on what aspects of life we would like to alter or grow in and maybe which areas we are spending too much of our energy and time on. There are several different versions of the wheel. The one presented here is made up of 7 slices: environmental, intellectual, social/cultural, spiritual, physical, emotional, and financial.
Environmental Wellness means being aware of the impact of your decisions on the environment and on others, taking personal responsibility for your action, working individually and/or with the community to make improvements.
Intellectual Wellness means seeking out resources to help make decisions, challenging yourself to new life experiences, having a well-developed sense of self and goals to work towards, gaining a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment from the work/academics you peruse, and meeting academic and career goals in a healthy way.
Social and Cultural Wellness means developing and maintaining healthy relationships with family, friends and romantic partners, respecting and understanding others, managing unhealthy relationships in an effective way, budgeting time to spend with loved ones, feeling confident and content whether in a romantic relationship or not and feeling confident and content spending time alone as well as with others.
Spiritual Wellness means having an overall sense of peace, developing strategies to manage stress, worry and anxiety, understanding your own values, ethics and beliefs and respecting the values, ethics and beliefs of other people, and understanding that spirituality is a personal experience.
Physical Wellness means being safely and regularly active, eating nutritious foods that help your body stay active and balanced, seeing a doctor for regular check-ups, performing self-breast exams and self-testicular exams, using birth control and staying protected against STI’s, staying hydrated, sleeping 7-8 hours a night, managing stress effectively, and avoiding drugs, alcohol and tobacco.
Emotional Wellness means accepting yourself for who you are, valuing self-exploration and improvement, having a generally positive outlook, having personal boundaries and not over-extending yourself, being willing to ask for help, and recognizing and manage different stressors.
Financial Wellness means developing long term and short term financial goals, living within your current means, and budgeting effectively to reduce stress associated with debt.
So, grab some paper, a pencil (and most likely an eraser), and something to colour with if you are interested in the pretty factor.
Step 1: Create your own wellness wheel using these categories (feel free to add or subtract categories according to your life). A wellness wheel resembles a pie chart using the categories described above. The idea is to draw the slices of the pie to represent how much of your current time and energy you dedicate to that aspect of your life. Within the slices you may want to note some of the choices you make in your life that are representative of that category. For example, under physical wellness, you may want to include fitness goals, healthy and balanced diet goals, annual physical check-up with your doctor and dentist, and regular reading on physical health.
Step 2: Observe your personal wellness wheel. Are you happy with how your life is balanced? Are there some areas that you feel you are spending too much of your energy? Are there some areas of your life you would like to spend more energy? The idea is that not all slices of the pie are equal, but that you are satisfied with how big each slice is at this point in your life.
Step 3: Pick a maximum of three specific things you would like to do to alter your wheel. It is important that the thing you choose are realistic, achievable and not too overwhelming in number or intensity. For example, “I would like to spend more face to face time with my friends, so once a week I will initiate a get together with a friend.” Ensure the goal is specific and achievable.
Here’s wishing you wellbeing!