The word wellness has become associated with many things. Whether it’s a day at the spa, expensive fitness equipment, or travel, some people ascribe it to particular diets or even a type of spiritual practice. I have also seen drugstores boldly emboss wellness on their banners. One thing evident is the word wellness is synonymous with spending money and sometimes lots of it. This thinking has caused many people to seek outward reinforcements or get into money troubles to accomplish this “magical” wellness experience.
In some cases, attaining wellness might require money, but many ways exist without spending a dime. Upon a closer look at this concept, I realised it was more straightforward than many suggested. Contrary to the opinions in mainstream media, wellness isn’t fancy pieces of equipment or an expensive membership club. It is more about mindsets, behaviours & habits.
Wellness is the state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal. Another definition I like is “Wellness is the act of practising healthy habits daily to attain better physical and mental health outcomes, so that instead of just surviving, you’re thriving”. Both definitions suggest that one can attain wellness through their behaviours. It purports that a person must be deliberate about making decisions that help them maintain a semblance of balance in their lives.
Let’s use a car to represent our bodies in a simple analogy. There are certain habits and behaviours you have to practice to prevent your car from breaking down, like checking & filling the radiator with water, checking oil levels, checking the gauge of your tyres etc. All these are proactive behaviours to maintain the working state of the car. A few years ago, my car suddenly stopped in the middle of traffic in Maryland Lagos. The roadside mechanic told me my radiator was empty, and it had caused the engine to overheat.
All I could think of was how my dad told me always to check my car before I drove it. It cost me over N70,000 that day to tow my vehicle to the location for fixing. Checking my car every morning, like my dad advised, costs nothing but a bit of time and neglecting it ended up costing me an appointment and some money.
Mainstream media has tried its best to put a hefty price tag on wellness, making people believe that wellness is an uphill task. In this article, I will shift your perception of wellness so you can begin your journey today.
Your life includes physical, Relational, Intellectual, Mental, Emotional, Spiritual & financial aspects. Wellness is practising the proper habits and behaviours to maintain balance in each part of your life.
It is spending some time alone with your thoughts. It is enjoying a long walk in your estate to clear your head after a highly stressful day. It is going home early from work to catch a few hours of playtime with your kids before they head to bed. It is budgeting, so you effectively manage your finances. Exercising for 30 mins every day to keep your heart healthy and maintain a healthy weight. It is drinking 2Litres of water every day. It is getting 7-8hours of quality sleep a night, and the list continues. All these behaviours come at no cost but will deliver increased wellness in one way or another.
A great way to determine the critical wellness habit or behaviour to adopt at any given time is to identify the area/s of your life where you feel the most out of sync. Since wellness is preventive then, getting ahead of a potential disruption/ interference/ breakdown is key to enjoying it. I have worked with a client who significantly improved their overall well-being after she raised her sleep hours from 4-5 hours to 7-8hours.
Here are some questions to assist you with a personal audit
Where do you feel the least productive?
Why are you experiencing stress?
Where do you feel like things are out of control?
Where do you feel the most overwhelm?
Is your body feeling heavy to carry?
Do you have low energy?
Are you lashing out at people?
Where do you feel you are auto-piloting and disconnected?
To enjoy the benefits of wellness, you need to STOP and THINK. You will need to take moments and intentionally review the quality of life you are creating and make the right decisions to ensure a constant state of wellness. Think of your habits and behaviours as anchors. The role of an anchor is to hold a ship in place; if a ship isn’t well anchored, it can lead to a collision which can result in additional damage to the ship. Remember to use your habits and behaviours as anchors next time you sense a possible collision.
If you need a massage at the end of a hectic work week, please feel free to indulge or take a trip to an exotic location. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with spending some money on a bit of self-care. But I want you to know there are times all you need is a change in routine or a healthier diet.