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What is Wellness?

  • Category: Blog
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  • Written By: Anna Crawford, MS, RDN, LDN, NSCA-CPT
What is Wellness?

What is Wellness? There are a lot of definitions of wellness; however, I’m most interested in your definition. What makes you feel well?

If we don’t create our own definition of wellness; we end up with about 1000 new “to do” list tasks every day.

Just a simple google search “how to practice wellness” and I found “get at least 7 hours of sleep, schedule your annual check-ups, floss your teeth, put healthy snacks in your car, meditate while you wait in the school pick up line, read 3 books each month, do five sun salutations each day, practice functional movements, be grateful and make a gratitude list, get hair cuts every 6 weeks, eat 5 colorful fruits and vegetables each day, carry a water bottle, get a standing desk, use natural cleaning products, make time for friendships, turn off you phone, practice healthy habits no smoking or moderate alcohol use, spend time outside, organize your home, simplify, try an essential oil, get regular massages, don’t forget to foam roll, have a green smoothie every day, have protein after your work out, choose those complex carbs, go for a walk after dinner, relax with music, take a bubble bath, keep your mind active with games and puzzles, practice positive self-talk, take 3 deep breaths, spend time with your pet, take a 10 minute break, take a nap, do something that makes you laugh….”. AND this was just the first page of results!

Having this many wellness recommendations and tips can increase the likelihood we will fall into these common traps navigating our own health and wellbeing

  1. All or nothing. I don’t know about you, but I simply can’t add 1000 more things to my to-do list today. Since I’m guessing I’m not alone in this, doing everything everyday that is recommended for our wellness, may not be realistic. What can then happen is we may not start anything! This is the all or nothing trap. When you find yourself believing that if you can’t do everything, it’s not worth starting anything. Instead pick 1 or 2 new habits to try and see if they positively impact your life. For one person a morning meditation may just make you day and for someone else it may be a giant bowl of peanut butter and jelly oatmeal or a few minutes with a cup of coffee on the back porch. Be willing to experiment with a middle ground making changes between all or nothing. Be willing to take small steps.
  2. Fixing yourself. Are you taking care of your health and wellbeing to “fix” yourself because you are not okay OR because you know you are infinitely valuable and deserving of care? Our mindset when making health and wellness changes matters. If we are making changes primarily to fix ourselves, it is much easier to become discouraged. Additionally, if we do not think we are okay, even when we make health changes, we will still not feel we are okay. Instead, if you treat yourself as exquisitely valuable and take care of your health for this reason, it will be much easier to sustain the changes you are making. Additionally, you will feel exquisitely valuable while you make health changes and also when you accomplish your health goals. Your worth will not be dependent on your wellness choices, but simply because you are alive. Wellness choices can then be about celebrating the beautiful life you have.
  3. Giving up at the first sign of failure. It is a guarantee that when you make health and wellness changes; sometimes it will go well and sometimes things will not go as well. Making sustainable health and wellness changes requires reframing “failures” as opportunities for self-care and curiosity. This will allow us to learn and grow from setbacks. So often when we feel we have failed at a health and wellness choice we jump very quickly to guilt, shame and giving up. It takes a herculean effort to instead show up and treat ourselves with kindness and compassion. Letting go of the feeling of failure and being kind to ourselves, allows us the opportunity to get curious about why a health or wellness change didn’t go well. This allows us an opportunity to learn and grow so that we can try again with more success next time.

So what is your definition of wellness? What simple habits can you build into each day to better take care of your body and overall wellbeing? And why does it matter to you to make these changes?

The more your wellness choices are specific to you and aligned with what matters to you, the more commitment you will have to include these each day not because you “should” but because they allow you to live life more fully!

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