Is wellness simply the absence of illness? Or rather, is it something to be actively and intentionally pursued?
I’ll argue for the latter. In my mind of the ways, we can promote wellness. The first of these areas is sleep. Unfortunately, sleep is a common struggle for many people. When questioned about sleep, most people will respond with information about sleep duration. But I will contend that sleep quality is critical. If you are not waking up feeling rested, then your sleep goals are not being met. A few tips for a better night’s sleep include keeping your bedroom cool (68F), avoiding all screens for the last 1-2 hours before bedtime, and creating a relaxing bedtime routine.
Diet is another big area that can be used to promote wellness. In general, good habits are to eat at home. Start with whole foods. Limit and avoid packaged/processed food as these can often have hidden sugars and are generally less nutritious.
Exercise is also important for well being. Physical activity goals are 150-3– minutes of exercise per week. Physical activity helps prevent 8 types of cancer (bladder, breast, colon, endometrial, esophageal, kidney, stomach, and lung). Exercise also reduces the risk of dementia and depression.
The final topic I would like to discuss is stress management. I do not think it is reasonable to try to live a stress-free life. We are all faced with day to day stress. How we cope and handle these can affect our health. I encourage you to think about the tools you have in place to help with your day to day stress. When I question people, I am often told that mindless TV is a way of coping. But I will challenge that to say that I consider that to be a buffer. It is merely a distraction. Instead, try to incorporate yoga/meditation/prayer/reading/painting.
As a final thought, Consider that well being is a skill. I hope that you will choose to cultivate it.