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Keeping in mind that wellness is the coming together of your mind, body and spirit in harmony, begin to set the stage for a prosperous life. There are eight dimensions of wellness, all interacting in a way that contributes to your unique quality of life. They are:
· Diet – This refers to the food you actually put in your mouth. As you fill out the diet section of the wheel, consider whether or not you eat a well-rounded diet consisting of these options.
· Weight management – How much you should weigh is subjective, and I’m not asking you if you think you are fat or thin, I’m asking if you truly are or not; whether your weight and body mass index are within the appropriate ranges for your gender, height and age.
· Water intake/hydration – Do you drink enough water throughout the day? How do you know if you’re properly hydrated? It’s simple. If the color of your urine is light or nearly clear, you are properly hydrated. If the color is dark yellow, you need to drink more water.
· Stress management – Do you carry the weight of the world on your shoulders, finding yourself tense, holding your breath, grinding your teeth or unable to focus easily; or are you able to relax even under pressure? The longer you hold on to stress, the more of a burden it becomes and the lower the number you should circle on the wheel.
· Unhealthy habits – Consider if you smoke, drink excessively, overeat more often than not, don’t get enough sleep and/or put everyone else first and forget about or put off self-care.
· Fun and recreation – Do you take time to enjoy life and do things that bring you joy? Do you even know what you like to do for fun or are you so busy pleasing others you’ve never taken notice of what brings you joy?
· Meditation (or some other spiritual practice) – Meditation is a conscious practice using your mind to promote relaxation, develop patience and reduce the destructive emotional effects of everyday life. Do you spend at least 10 minutes each day in some spiritual practice that promotes mindfulness, gratitude and/or intentional breathing?
· Exercise – Studies prove that exercise benefits muscles, bone health and brain health. Exercise can be in various forms: gardening, walking, hiking, jogging, playing sports, swimming, dancing, etc. Do you move for at least 20 or 30 minutes, four to six times a week to elevate your heart rate? Do you participate in weight-bearing exercise at least two times a week for 30 minutes each time to build strong bones and stabilize balance?
In each section of the wheel, circle the number that represents your current level of satisfaction in that area of your life. The higher the number, the more satisfied you are in that area. Be honest and consider where you are now, not where you once were or want to eventually be.
When you have circled a number in each section, connect the dots with a line. Notice what shape the line creates – is it a perfect circle or a distorted version of one?
Now that you’ve completed your wheel and connected the dots, what does the line look like? Chances are you created an imperfect circle. Where the wheel is not round represents disconnect in your life, causing you to experience an uneven, bumpy ride. Think of the wheel as a tire on your car. When it’s flat your ride is noisy, very unstable and difficult to control. When the tire is properly inflated your ride is quieter, controlled and effortless. No Wheel of Wellness is ever perfectly round, yet the goal is to strive for it to be as circular and balanced as possible. When I completed my wheel after receiving my diagnosis, it looked so out of whack that I never would have been able to control it if it had been an actual wheel or tire on my car. What was your immediate response when you first saw the shape of your wheel? Mine was, “Yikes! I better call for reinforcements by reaching out for help.”