Wellness is a multifaceted and broad notion that can be reached in several ways. Wellness does
not have a specific formula, and certainly does not have one aspect. Dr. Peggy Swarbick was the
first to address the different dimensions of wellness, and she came up with eight aspects that can
help an individual create a balanced and healthy life.
Emotional wellbeing relates to an individual’s ability to cope with and process stressful times.
It’s the ability to move on from negative circumstances, and to look at the silver lining. A huge
factor that contributes to emotional wellness is how able an individual is to form meaningful and
healthy relationships. Being self-aware, honoring boundaries, and adapting to change are all
indicators of emotional wellness.
Types of self-care: focusing on stress management, developing emotional maturity, and forgiving
Social wellbeing relates to an individual’s sense of belonging. It revolves around a person
finding themselves and feeling included within a social circle, support system, or community.
How effectively a person communicates with others, how well they balance their social and
alone time, how much they contribute to their community, and how they deal with others outside
of their community are all indicators of social wellness. Types of self-care: having a support system, building boundaries, developing communication skills, and asking for help.
Physical wellbeing is the nurturing of one’s body. It’s the recognition of the importance of
looking after one’s health through exercising, eating food with the right nutritional values,
looking after one’s personal hygiene, and getting regular check-ups. Looking after your physical
wellbeing is an aspect of wellness because exercise is proven to be an effective method, along
with therapy and medication, to treat depression and anxiety due to the endorphins released after
exercise. Types of self-care: sleeping, walking, eating healthy food, and resting.
Occupational wellness is the contentment and satisfaction that comes from an individual’s work
or occupation. The main reason why many people struggle at the workplace is because they feel
burdened by the work that they have to do because they are not passionate about it. Occupational
wellness, which can be unpaid or paid, is finding enrichment in a job or an organization. Pouring
your values into your work and feeling like it aligns with your passion is the way to reach
occupational wellness. Types of self-care: having work boundaries, honoring off the clock hours,
and volunteering at an organization with a cause that you care about.
Intellectual wellness is the openness to learn new things and to develop new skills. It’s a desire to
expand your knowledge by reading books, taking on new hobbies, or learning a new language. It
also includes the ability to think critically and to dismiss any biases. Types of self-care: discovering your true self, engaging in new hobbies, and conversing with people with beliefs
different from your own.
Spiritual wellness is finding meaning in the search for a purpose of life. Spiritual wellness looks
different for people. For some it’s meditation and reflection, and for others it’s praying. To attain
spiritual awareness, you need to reflect, practice spending time alone, and take time to discover
your core beliefs and values. Types of self-care: journal, pray, and meditate.
Financial wellness is satisfaction with finances. It includes an ability to manage money, save up,
allocate resources to specific needs, and to plan for the future. Financial insecurity is a struggle
that many have, and they don’t recognize how it contributes to mental illnesses. To develop
financial wellness, it’s important that you set a plan, budget, and goals centered around how you
wish to spend your money. Types of self-care: use an app to track how you spend your money,
set aside emergency money, and plan for major purchases.
Environmental wellness is feeling safe and comfortable in the environment that you’re in. Ever
felt a huge sense of relief and accomplishment after you cleaned your space or decluttered your
wardrobe? This environment can be where you work, live, or meet with others. A sign of
depression is an unclean space out of a lack of energy, but a clean space is a sign of wellness. To
achieve environmental wellness, it’s important to make sure that you’re creating a pleasant
environment for yourself. Types of self-care: disposal of unnecessary products, organization of
space, and finding stability.
All of these areas are important to our holistic wellbeing and should be approached with
intentionality. Start with the first area that you might be neglecting, and think about ways you
can increase your wellness through focusing on it.
● Which dimension of wellness have I been neglecting the most?
● Which dimension of wellness have I spent the most time nurturing?
● How do I feel about spending time alone? Does it recharge me or scare me?
● Spiritual wellness is unique to everyone. How does it resonate with me? What does it
look like to me?