New Year’s resolutions are often punishing, such as resolving to do sit-ups each morning when you get out of bed, eliminating all sweets or banning all swear words from your vocabulary (including when you hit your thumb with a hammer). Impossible!
No wonder we all abandon the plan after just a few weeks. Resolutions should be doable, but also impactful, like resolving to pursue wellness. It’s not as daunting as it sounds.
Wellness is an active, lifelong process of balancing and integrating all aspects of your life for optimal health.
The six elements of wellness are career, social, community, financial, emotional and physical. Together, they reflect the whole person. Each is connected, and one aspect of your life affects another.
An all-around healthier you is not only good for your own body, mind and soul, but you’ll also set a good example for your family and friends.
Here are some ideas to start you thinking about how you can enhance each element of your life in 2018 and beyond.
Career: Sign up for a class at a local college or through your school district’s continuing education program to increase your skills at your current position or as the first step to a different career. Or, read a book that will help you determine your strengths, prepare for the future or enhance your job prospects.
Social: Join a club for people with a common interest like a running club or hobby organization. Beginners are always welcome. Or, enroll in a class at your local parks and recreation department or join a book club.
Community: Offer to stay a few hours with a disabled person so that a caregiver can get some respite. Or, volunteer for a cause that’s near and dear to you, such as adult or child literacy, or a one-day event to raise funds to find a cure for a specific disease.
Financial: Schedule a session or two with a financial adviser or a money coach to set and work toward goals for retirement, travel or a rainy day. Or, make a plan to pay off your credit card debt.
Emotional: Subscribe to an app for music, books or pod casts that will lift your spirits. Or, get “lost” in a hobby that stirs your creative soul.
Physical: Visit the Botanical Gardens or just walk around a local greenhouse in the middle of winter to surround yourself with warmth and the beauty of plants and flowers. Or, go hit a bucket of golf balls, or play a round of miniature golf in one of the local golf domes. (You don’t have to be any good to have fun!)
Above all, give yourself the time to pursue the things that give you pleasure. Start small, but try to do something in each wellness element. As Stevie Wonder sang, “Time is long but life is short.” Make the most of it!
Richard Vienne, D.O., is vice president and chief medical officer at Univera Healthcare.