Stop me if you think that you've heard this one before...
Yes, I'm a Smith's fan from long ago and still like to dig out my old CD's like The Queen is Dead and Hatful of Hollow and listen to Morrissey swoon on about lost love, life and other sad themes. Sometimes if I'm a bit gloomy it actually cheers me up. Not sure how that works, but it does. I think it has something to do with balance and perspective. When Jessica and I started out on our pilgrimage to find out what "wellness" really means we found lots of information. The first thing is that wellness is never really a state of being that you can achieve, but rather something you strive and work towards continually and constantly. When people say they are well, or doing well, they are usually thinking about one particular area of their life. To sum up those areas we wanted to created our own chart.
(Sidebar : What in the heck does this post have to do with starting a farm or homestead? Well, good question. This search for wellness is what eventually led us to want to grow some of our own food and take a more hands on approach to our health. The chart below can be applied to every person out there from a Business CEO to a small time farmer. So this is just part of our journey to where we are today.)
After reading all kinds of books and talking to professionals in many areas, and of course hours of Google research, we came up with a mixture of several "wellness charts" that we thought would work for us. Some were only 7 categories, but didn't include Fun...BORING! Some were 8 categories, but didn't include Family? So being the "go getters" that we are, we made our own chart. We believe that all these areas need some attention and balance if you are to strive towards wellness.
Wellness is not just about healthy diet and exercise. We believe that true wellness encompasses 10 areas of life. These areas are (in no particular order…remember…seek balance)
Faith – this is the core of your being. This foundation is what everything else emanates from. Relaxation and meditation fall into this area. We are Christians, but maybe you aren’t sure and are still asking questions. That’s ok. But don’t neglect this area just because you are afraid or aren’t sure. Seek.
Fun – fun takes many shapes. Enjoying life, traveling, movies, going to Universal Studies, fishing, going to a convention, and the list goes on and on. Fun can be spontaneous or planned. It is something that keeps us going when we need a break from everything else.
Finance – one of the top reasons for divorce. Why did I mention that first? Because it is that important. When your finances are in trouble it will affect all the other areas of wellness! The absolute best advice we received was to get on a budget and use it! It works. Are you trying to keep up with the Jones’? Guess what, they don’t care. Live within your means and don’t let debt get you down.
Occupation – we spend a lot of time at work. Do you like your job? Do you love it? Does it give you meaning and purpose? Sometimes you have to pay the bills, and that is honorable and right. But when you are in your career path, is it satisfying? Do you like the people you work with and work for? Is your occupation building up your character or slowly whittling it away?
Friends – flesh and blood. Not the digital media variety. Do you have people to interact with, go on trips with, share secrets with, complain to and cry to? Do you keep in touch with any friends from college or former jobs? Maintaining or making new friends is important to your overall wellness.
Environmental – some people will say that you have to reduce, recycle and reuse to keep the planet from dying. That’s great if that makes you happy, and we encourage that. But this is deeper than that when it comes to wellness. Do you ever take your shoes off and walk barefoot in the grass? Do you stop and smell the flowers? Spending time outdoors and grounding is important. Nature hikes, going to the park, gardening and even playing in the snow will all affect your environmental wellness.
Family – we can’t pick our family, but we can pick our community. This area deals with those that we spend the most time with. One definition of family is a group of parents and children living in a household. Another definition says family is who you love. In the context of wellness, we will go with the second definition. Your family can be a great support unit and work with you to gain wellness in many areas.
Fitness – this is our biggest obstacle. It is hard to fit in exercise and eat right most of the time. Traveling, long hours at work, children, and life’s everyday demands make it even harder. But this is perhaps one of the most crucial areas of wellness that can also impact the other areas. Fitness encompasses lots of information and can be very confusing. Do your homework and find what works best for you.
Emotional – this is the dump bucket. When things go south in any area like finance, fitness, family or faith, our emotional wellness is the area that also suffers. We talk a lot about balance, and this area is key to that. How do we deal with stress? How do we deal with all the issues that drag us down? We refer to this area in context of what we can control, and what we can’t, and how to deal with both.
Intellectual – discovery, wonderment, pondering, and expanding your knowledge. I’m sure you have heard of exercising your brain? Well, it is true and important for your overall balance and wellness. Just coming here and reading this is an exercise in intellectual wellness!
We are not experts, so as you'll hear me write and say over and over, check it out for yourself and make your own decisions. But do know that being well doesn't just mean you go to the gym a few times a week or that you take your vitamins. It means looking at all the areas of your life and seeking balance and engaging those areas. We are working on several areas at one time by starting a small farm. We are learning new stuff everyday, having fun, keeping and working a separate budget, making friends and involving our families. We are even getting some fitness and exercise in! We think that this is a great way for us to engage and seek wellness at this time in our lives. Hope you've enjoyed this and it has given you something to ponder.
This is us having some fun in California last year in Muir Woods, enjoying nature and checking out the Redwoods.