The Wellness Wheel – A Model of Self Care
The Wellness Wheel is a way to look at the whole self: our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual sides. In thinking about self care it is important to nurture and maintain good balance in each of these areas.
Keeping the body active makes us feel good. It makes us stronger and gives us greater resilience in the face of illness or accident. It even helps us to think more clearly. When we activate our physical side, it aids the whole self. Although it is not as common to hear about emotional, mental or spiritual fitness, the very same principles apply. When we activate any of these areas in healthy ways, we help to strengthen and balance all of ourselves.
Emotional fitness is about feeling deeply and finding some expression for those feelings. Having a heart to heart talk with a friend, being artistically creative, having a good laugh or cry–this is all great exercise for the “heart”.
Mental fitness is about toning up our thinking, flexing the muscles of the mind by learning, teaching, exploring new ideas, practicing “mindfulness.”
Spiritual fitness is about deep connection, to our self, to God, to nature, to our life force. Meditation, prayer, being in nature, finding time to rest in the midst of things–these are all good “cardio” for the spirit.
Often when we find ourselves practicing self care it is in response to a crisis in our lives. Another way to approach our wellness and balance is to pay attention to it on a daily basis. Then, not only are we stronger and more prepared if a crisis does come our way, but the overall quality of our life is enhanced.
Use the Wellness Wheel as a guide to think about what you already do for your self care in each of the four areas. See if there are places that could use nurturing. Pay special attention to those things that fall into more than one of the areas. You may find, for example, that art, gardening or walking your dog touch all four categories for you. Activities like this promote very healthy and holistic balance.