This month in Gravitas is filled with incentives around establishing healthy habits so we can start the new year on a positive to carry through to the rest of the year. The underlying focus under these initiatives is on wellbeing.
In order to help nurture our wellbeing it’s important to try and understand the different dimensions of wellness created by Peggy Swarbrick; Occupational, Intellectual, Emotional, Spiritual, Physical, Social, Financial and Environmental.
Whilst these dimensions represent different areas of our life, they are interdependent, overlapping and interlinking, impacting each other. If one is out of balance, it affects the others. We are only able to effectively manage our wellness if we take a holistic view and give attention to each one.
Here we will take a closer look into each dimension to understand how they are defined, how they play a part in our day-to-day activities, and how we can look to improve the management of each of them.
We spend a lot of time at work therefore occupational wellness is a critical factor in day-to-day wellness. In the healthiest state of occupational wellness, we are doing what we want to do in our life and feel satisfied in the balance between our work and our personal life.
There are various ways to improve our occupational wellness. For instance, making sure we have short term and long-term goals to enable us to work towards something, whilst feeling challenged and inspired. Alongside this, we can look to improve our knowledge base and learn new skills to ultimately accomplish these set goals.
Asking for regular feedback enables us to further our performance and receive more guidance as we move forward through our careers. As well as this, we could look at improving our sense of belonging. By feeling connected with colleagues, we create connection and joyful moments also improving our performance. Make sure to put time aside to catch up with co-workers, especially if working remotely.
Intellectual wellness is defined by having‘ continuous critical thinking, a creative mindset and being open-minded to new ideas’. We should all aim to keep our minds stimulated regularly. This could be through things like; building knowledge, learning new skills or getting involved in thought-provoking activities. Allow your mind to be challenged! This can also be applied towards professional development in work life such as taking on new responsibilities as part of a recent promotion.
Alternatively, personal development can be achieved through different learning activities such as reading, watching documentaries, or trying out a new class. You can even develop your intellectual wellness through widening your social circle. We learn from other people through exposure to different topics that others may be interested in.
Emotional wellness is being able to manage and understand our emotional approach to day-to-day tasks, obstacles and decisions. This form of wellness looks at having healthy emotional relationships with ourselves and others.
If we were to achieve a healthy form of emotional wellness, we need to reflect on how we might feel regularly. It also requires having an ability to control our emotions, using resilience and strength to overcome stressful or challenging situations. When we make a mistake, we learn from where we've gone wrong and re-evaluate a new plan of action to prevent it from happening again, rather than berating ourselves for it. Alongside this, thinking back to how our emotions were during the time can help us learn how we might prevent feelings of distress and feel calmer if we come across a similar situation in the future.
We can't always avoid feelings of sadness or anxiety. However, we can consider looking at things we can control in the day to guide emotional reactions. For instance, writing a positive affirmation on a sticky note that can be looked at regularly for daily inspiration. Or, if we feel distracted or stressed, taking time to step away from our desks for a few minutes to give space to manage the emotion.
Whilst spiritual beliefs are often associated with religious beliefs, spiritual wellbeing can expand further than this. It considers our sense of purpose and greater meaning to life, which perhaps can be the existence of a greater power, but sometimes is just our sense of connection to the wider world.
Coming from this, we should aim to positively connect with everyone, whether that’s our family, friends or colleagues. As well as this, we could look to practice gratitude taking time to reflect on what we are thankful for. We might also use this time to reflect upon our values and purpose to ensure we are taking the right decisions for ourselves.
Reflection can be gained through meditation or breathwork techniques, journaling or more socially through volunteering. Those who have religious beliefs may feel that praying or going to their religious centre regularly is good time to think about their life’s purpose and feel further connected to a higher power. Volunteering is a good way of giving back and practicing gratitude through helping others, also connecting with new people along the way. By putting time into our spiritual wellness, we become more consistent in what we believe our values are and how to put them into practice.
As many come into the new year with the phrase ‘New Year, New Me’, physical wellness is often at the forefront of this statement. This is significant to our wellbeing, as having a healthy level of physical wellness can contribute towards a healthy mental state.
Delving further into physical wellness, it means more than just physical activity. It means regular movement or exercise into lifestyle routines, a regular sleep schedule and having a nutritious diet, all of which equates to some fantastic benefits. We can enhance our energy levels, boost our metabolism, affect our mood positively and create new hobbies just by investing time positively into ourselves. If your work means you’re sat at a desk for much of the day, make sure you spend time away from your desk or have a physical activity to look forward to in the mornings or evenings.
Aim for a minimum of seven hour sleep each day to ensure you are well rested to take on the next day. Finally, have a look at your diet and see if you are including regular fruit, vegetables or vitamins to boost your health levels! Your future body will be thanking you!
Whilst we’ve talked about physical wellness, physical activity doesn’t have to be achieved alone, it can also be a great way of also enhancing social wellness and is a great excuse to spend sometime with friends.
Social Wellness places importance towards the meaningful relationships we develop and maintain with others. This would include our family, our friends, our partners and colleagues. Through keeping up these connections with others, we enhance our sense of value and belonging. Similar to occupational wellness, at work ensure you are spending time with your colleagues to create joyful moments and feel more comfortable working aside your team.
On the other hand, consider if you are spending enough time outside of work to socialise with your friends or family. Alternatively, think about engaging in different activities to open up doors to new communities.
By having a network of strong relationships, we not only share meaningful moments with others, but provide ourselves with support during stressful or difficult times.
Financial wellness is the process of learning how to effectively manage our finances. This type of wellbeing aims for feelings of security and comfort with our finances, both for the present and the future. A lack of financial comfort can cause high levels of stress especially in instances if we overspend, get into debt or have no contingency for emergencies.
There are multiple ways of proactively managing financial wellbeing. Look at regularly budgeting or keeping account of spending through a spreadsheet which you can fill in every month. Consider using a savings account to keep minimum commitments on what to save each month. Look at planning for future financial expenses i.e. holidays which can be achievements to look forward to, or use as a goal. Our goals here might fall in hand with occupational wellness when goal-planning i.e. promotions or performance bonuses.
When we create a further understanding of our financial situation, we will be better prepared for our future.
Finally, there is Environmental wellness as the eighth dimension. In this circumstance, Environment is defined as our ‘surroundings’ and the comfort we experience within it. It may look at the way we interact with different environments such as our homes and workspaces. If we take care of our environment, we can aim to create a clean and calming space that will positively contribute to our health. This links to our physical and emotional wellbeing where we enhance how we feel through being in a certain environment.
Environmental wellness might also look at our relationship with the natural environment and see if we are spending time in it or taking care of it.
To improve our environmental wellness, you might look at the spaces you’re in regularly, as well as the time spent away from these environments. In home and work, you might keep up the cleanliness by regularly tidying and cleaning. Alternatively, if you work from home, you could have a dedicated work place office to separate work from the home environment. By spending time away from these spaces, such as going to spend time outdoors, it is a healthy way of experiencing new environments that could give your mind some time to relax.
In your relationship with the natural environment, you could consider volunteering such as picking up litter or using reusable/environmental-friendly products to do your bit for the global environment.
To conclude, wellness has various dimensions that can put our mind and attention to. Peggy Swarbrick created these eight dimensions to help others understand and address the significance of each dimension and ultimately create a guide we can all use to learn to improve our overall wellbeing.
What will your wellness journey look like for 2023?
If you are looking for a company that prioritises holistic employee wellbeing then why not consider Gravitas. We are currently recruiting for numerous positions around the globe and welcome applications from motivated and resilient individuals who are focused on being the best versions of themselves.