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What is Wellness? The Four Pillars of Health.

What is wellness?

 

According to Pfizer, “Wellness is the act of practicing healthy habits on a daily basis to attain better physical and mental health outcomes, so that instead of just surviving, you’re thriving.”

 

 

Body + Mind + Soul + Community = Wellness

 

 

 

Two women sit on a bed, showing off their different but beautiful body types.

Body

Nutrition

If you’ve ever eaten pure junk food on a weekend, you probably didn’t feel great on Monday. Our bodies require a variety of nutritional foods to function properly and ensure good health. Focus on healthy options that fuel your body, but remember that eating can be enjoyable, too!

 

There is an eating technique called Intuitive Eating that will help cater to your body’s needs. The basic premise is that you relearn your body’s signals and you eat accordingly. By listening carefully, you can come to understand when you need to do to feel your best.

 

This can be as simple as savouring a piece of chocolate or desiring to eat a well-cooked steak and salad. The principles of intuitive eating reject the diet mentality, and are a paradigm shift to make peace with food.

 

Fuel your body appropriately and it will take care of you.

 

Physical activity and wellness

Exercise doesn’t have to be hours of painfully working out. It can be as simple as taking the stairs instead of the elevator or doing a quick stretch in the morning. Incorporating regular exercise in your day is one of the best ways to age gracefully.

 

Flexibility work helps you to prevent falls and motion injuries.

Strength training keeps your muscles and bones strong, which helps to do everyday activities safely.

Cardio work keeps your heart and lungs strong and functioning well to carry you as you age.

 

Physical health is also taking care of yourself, both when you’re sick and healthy. It is also visiting your doctor regularly, maintaining your oral health, and listening to your body. If something feels off, seek to correct it, not just to manage until it goes away. Unfortunately, there are too many instances of curable illnesses that go ignored until they become an irreversible problem.

 

Sleep

In western culture, it has unfortunately become the norm to be proud of sleep deprivation. Many studies have shown the impact of poor sleep on our lives, from shortening our lifespans, leaving us more at risk to illness, and impaired thinking.

 

Emphasize sleeping well, and you will quickly begin feeling the benefits of being well-rested.

 

A woman is sitting on a pile of books while reading.

Mind

Intellectual stimulation

For many of us, getting stuck in the exact same routine day in and day out is mentally exhausting. Even if what you’re doing is easy, the lack of stimulation can begin to weigh down on us.

 

Take the time to do something that stimulates you. That could be walking somewhere new, trying new food, or even learning an instrument or language. It doesn’t need to be something drastic- even trying out a new phone game will work!

 

Giving your brain new stimulation to play with also keeps your mind stronger as you age.

 

Financial wellness

Many people struggle with their finances and these worries can weigh a lot on your mental health. Whether it’s covering the rent, paying off debt, or struggling to get food on the table, these are legitimate concerns that need to be addressed.

 

While you can get started on your own with budgeting or paying down your debt, it’s always a good idea to get some help. Money problems aren’t something you need to tackle on your own. Many banks offer financial advice for free and they can often give you some ideas of how to get started. Talk to a therapist, counselor, or someone you trust- they can help you feel supported and give you encouragement to keep going.

 

Emotional strength

Similarily to how you don’t have to be alone when it comes to financial struggles, you are allowed to have help when it comes to your emotions. Reach out to someone when you need help.

It’s okay to cry- but it’s also okay to smile, too! 😊

 

 

An overhead shot of a person meditating next to a plant.

Soul

Meaning in life

The “answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything,” is 42. There: soul-searching over!

 

Okay, while we might not all be fans of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, it does prove that we don’t necessarily want a specific answer to the meaning of life. Part of what makes us human is looking for something that adds meaning to our lives. The great this is that this meaning can come from anything.

 

You can devote your life to finding cures for debilitating illnesses. If you want to be the best parent that you can be for your children, that is wonderful! Even if you find purpose in just watching the sunrise every day- that bit of meaning can make your soul feel whole and at peace.

 

Mindfulness

While mindfulness is often associated with yoga or meditation, you can find mindfulness in everyday activities. Mindful practices are simply the act of being aware of what you are sensing and feeling in a moment without judgement.

 

Instead of making your to-do list while you’re stretching or worrying about what to make for dinner while watching a movie, allow yourself to focus on deep breathing and experience the world around you in the present moment. Feel any parts of your body touching the chair or the floor. Observe anything you see around you, without judging, just noticing.

 

Next time you do a stretching routine, be mindful of your breath and focus on how each muscle feels as it stretches. You will get more out of each routine and boost your overall sense of wellness.

 

 

A group of seven friends watching the sunset between trees.

Community

Staying social

Reach out to your old friend with a Facebook message. Phone your grandma for a quick chat. Find a virtual chat room about one of your favourite things. Humans are social creatures, and we need regular contact with people to truly thrive.

 

If you are looking for an online community to join, check out WeStretch Insiders on Facebook. We offer tips, tricks, and an entire group of people who love stretching!

 

Learning and connecting with others

While just socializing and hanging out with people is great, learning from them is even better. Find a mentor in whatever field you enjoy and embrace their knowledge. Try learning a new language so that you can experience a different culture directly. This boosts your strength in the community and also keeps your mind sharp.

 

Additionally, be sure to share your experiences and knowledge with others. You never know when you can become a role model for someone. Teaching others often comes with its own benefits!

 

 

 

Wellness is about taking care of yourself. By taking the time to discover what wellness looks for you in your life, you allow yourself to lead the best life possible for yourself.

 

WeStretch is here to help you get started on your wellness journey. Stretching allows you to move your body safely, which releases tension and can help you sleep better. Stretching is a great opportunity for mindful movement, and you can stay connected with your loved ones through stretching challenges.

Download WeStretch for free from the App Store or Google Play.

 

 

Any links included are for reference, additional information, or entertainment value only, without monetary compensation. Contact us on social media or at team@westretch.ca. Photos courtesy of Unsplash.

This article is not intended to act as or replace medical advice. Please talk to your health care practitioner if you have any concerns.

 

Written by Kayla Willsey

 

Updated October 8, 2021