We all live busy lives. We attend to our families and homes, making sure needs and wants are met. We spend a fair amount of our time at work and at school. Added to that is the need to get out, play, and socialize. When the final analysis is in, we can see the limited number of hours in our week quickly vanish into the hustle we call life.
Too often our focus is on the daily chaos and we forget the importance of taking care of ourselves. We allow demands on our time and the pursuit of what each of us sees as success to come ahead of our own health and wellness.
Since 1946, The World Health Organization has viewed health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Said differently, health is not just about not being sick. It’s so much more involved than that. I wonder if we ever take the time to truly reflect on what that means to each one of us as individuals.
Part of “being well” is creating as sense of balance in our lives. This requires some intention on our part and requires that we take specific action. In other words, balance doesn’t happen by accident. We need to make time to address our physical, mental, and emotional needs. Because balance means something different to everyone, we need to figure out how this works for us personally.
Creating it is often an individual effort, though I often ask those who know me best for their opinion. When you do so, you may want to brace yourself for the response.
Another important part of wellness is having a sense of connection, with ourselves, others, and the world around us. Humans are social beings and need to get together to play and socialize. Spending time with family and friends or planning social gatherings among colleagues can help us keep life and work in balance.
Taking the time to get outside and be active can keep us in balance physically, especially if our work tends to be a little on the sedentary side. We also need to plan alone time to take care of our individual needs and to recharge so we can get ready to do it all again.
When we think about ways to begin taking better care of ourselves, some ideas for everyday wellness might include daily exercise, good nutrition and getting plenty of sleep. We might take a walk at lunch or add some vegetables to the menu.
Spending ample time with family and friends, reconnecting with a hobby or starting a new one, reading a book, or spending time in nature may help improve wellness. Just do a little something to address your wellness every day and see what happens.
Kevin Vance is an employee of the Northern Wyoming Mental Health Center.