Four Strategies to Individualize Your Wellness - Shannon Braasch
There is no denying that we are living in a culture that ‘thrives’ on the newest and the best. Fashion, technology, spirituality, dieting and exercise, particularly in our culture, never seem to be excluded. This is concerning because so many people are quick to jump on these “bigger and better” bandwagons, although they may not really know what they are diving into.
Over the past two years there has been a shift from traditional dieting, i.e., diets with low fat or less calories, to an emphasis on a seemingly kinder term: wellness.
The word wellness does sound so much better than the word dieting, right? But what is wellness? This term is loosely thrown around in places such as magazines, at work, and on social media, but its definition is actually pretty vague.
What is wellness?
Technically, wellness is defined as the state or condition of being in good physical and mental health
This definition is a start, but it’s vague.
Truly, there is no universal definition of wellness that fits for everyone. Every day I see articles, ads and blogs implying that the term wellness means sticking to rigid diets (going as far as cutting out entire food groups which can have health implications in itself) and exercise regimens. But there is a dark truth to this slippery slope:
35 percent of dieters progress to pathological dieting. Of those, 20 to 25 percent of dieters progress to partial or full-syndrome eating disorders.
Most of us value individualized care, akin to how the Eating Recovery Center individualizes each patient’s treatment plan. So why should it be any different when we are talking about our own wellness?
The key is to define wellness for yourself - mind, body and spirit.
Four ways to achieve wellness
To help you individualize and live your own personal wellness lifestyle, try these four strategies:
- Identify your values
Your values make up what wellness means for you. Your values can help you stay on track with what you really want and ensure that your actions are consistent with who you are at your core.
Eating Recovery Center even has a tool to help you identify your values — if you need assistance!
- Identify your goals
Set goals for yourself to continue to grow and strengthen your values. If you value friendship, family and community then your goals might include making time for your friends, calling your family members and getting involved with a community service project.
If you’re striving for something that does not fall in line with your values - you may not be fostering your own personal wellness.
- Seek support
It takes strength to move forward with a goal, and also to ask for help when necessary. Make sure you are leaning on your support system, be it your family, friends, etc., when you need support.
For example, if you identify changing your physical shape and/or overall health as one of your values, consult with your doctor and a dietitian for support. Outside support from your wellness team can help you set realistic goals for yourself.
- Be kind to yourself
Remember: when you value your health, that, by definition, includes balance not extremes. Wellness is about the journey and achieving goals in the short term and the long term.
There will be days when your goals seem out of reach and you feel you are not staying true to your wellness. But your wellness is not leading you to a destination; it’s a method for enriching, lifelong growth.
You are an individual, and you deserve to treat yourself that way.
What other steps can you take to individualize your wellness?
Shannon Braasch, MA is an Alumni Coordinator for Eating Recovery Center.