I love uplifting music with inspirational messages. Recently, I was listening to one of my favorite musical artists, Ledisi. She has a song called “Be Good To Yourself”, and the following lyrics from that song really resonated with me:
“Oh, when you’re traveling
Through the highs and the lows
Make sure you listen to your spirit
You gotta take care of your soul
Hold on, never give up
You can get through whatever
Always make time
For yourself, whoo”
These lyrics resonated with me because they reminded me of a concept called the dimensions of wellness. Before we go any further, I’d like to define the term dimensions of wellness, in case you’re unfamiliar.
Wellness integrates your mind, body and spirit. The dimensions of wellness is a concept used to express that integration. The model used by UNC Student Wellness integrates the following nine dimensions of wellness:
- Physical Wellness which includes the ability to maintain a healthy quality of life that allows you to get through your daily activities without undue fatigue or physical stress.
- Emotional Wellness which includes the ability to understand yourself and adequately cope with the challenges life brings.
- Social Wellness which includes the ability to successfully interact with people in our world, participating in and feeling connected to your community.
- Spiritual Wellness which includes your search for meaning and purpose in human existence.
- Academic Wellness which includes the ability to open your mind to new ideas and experiences that can be applied to personal decisions, group interaction and community betterment.
- Occupational Wellness which includes the ability to get personal fulfillment from your job or your chosen career field while still maintaining balance in your life.
- Financial Wellness which includes awareness of your current financial state.
- Environmental Wellness which includes the ability to recognize (1) your own responsibility for the quality of the air, the water and the land that surrounds you and (2) that your social, natural, and built environment affect your health.
- Cultural Wellness which includes the awareness of your own cultural background, as well as the diversity and richness present in other cultural backgrounds.
(To learn more about any of these dimensions please click on the hyperlinks above)
As I reflect on my own journey as a UNC undergraduate and now graduate student, I realize that the dimensions of wellness are often neglected during this time of year. It’s finals time: so there are exams, presentations, and papers galore! Lots of attention is focused on the ‘academic dimension’ of wellness. However, even in the midst of finals it’s still important to, as Ledisi said, “listen to your spirit”, “take care of your soul”, and “make time for yourself”.
In light of the connection between your mind, body and spirit, I encourage you to “Be Good To Yourself” during finals and think about the other dimensions of your wellness in addition to the ‘academic dimension’. Taking a short break to pay attention to your physical, emotional, social, spiritual, occupational, financial, environmental or cultural wellness can help you feel more balanced. At first glance, this list of dimensions may seem overwhelming so here are some simple ideas to get you started.
Engage in Activity: Research shows that becoming more active can make you feel better. Here’s some simple ways you be more active.
- Take a walk.
- Take the steps instead of the elevator.
- Turn on some music and dance around.
- Take a stretch break.
Connect with Others: Research shows a powerful connection between social connection and well-being. Here’s some simple ways you can build your social relationships.
- Have lunch with a friend. For a list of on-campus dining options click here
- Call someone from your hometown.
- Watch a movie with your roommate. Tip: You can reserve movies for free at the Undergraduate Library- click here to learn more.
- Need to talk to someone else? Consider talking with a UNC CAPS counselor. They’re open for walk-in first time counseling appointments on Monday – Friday from 9am-12 and 1pm-4. Check the events calendar on the home page for any closures for holidays and breaks.
Chill Out: There are many wellness-related benefits of relaxation. Here’s some simple ways you can relax.
- Take a nap.
- Watch a funny YouTube video.
- Download and listen to the Anxiety and Stress Management Training session which includes the iTunes Relaxation Audio Files.
- Celebrate your accomplishments; you’re almost done with fall semester and that’s something to be proud of. Reward yourself for a job well done and treat yourself to your favorite thing to do for fun.
Brock, R. (n.d.). Kids in Action: Stretches and Warm-Ups Clip Art 18 PNGs. Retrieved from http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Kids-in-Action-Stretches-and-Warm-Ups-Clip-Art-18-PNGs-869484
Fox, K. R. (1999). The influence of physical activity on mental well-being. Public health nutrition, 2(3a), 411-418.
Hicks, M. (n.d.). two friends. Retrieved from http://school.discoveryeducation.com/clipart/clip/friends5-color.html
Klein, S. (2012, April 16). Stress Awareness Day: 10 Health Benefits Of Relaxation. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/13/stress-awareness-day-relaxation-benefits_n_1424820.html
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Seppala, E (2012, August 26). Connect To Thrive. Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/feeling-it/201208/connect-thrive
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