At Herren, we believe it is important to not only talk about how wellness can positively impact our lives both mentally and physically, but to actively practice elements of wellness in our daily life. Practicing wellness and taking steps to ensure our mind and body are being properly taken care of is vital for a fulfilling life, especially for those living in recovery.
When we use the word “wellness”, it’s so much more than being in good physical health. Mental and physical health are often intertwined. Problems with one facet of our well-being can have profound impacts on our overall wellness. There are eight “Pillars of Wellness” that address each dimension in our lives that greatly influences our mental and physical states of wellness. If you are participating in Wellness Week With Herren or are just curious about making some wellness goals, here are a few practices that you can apply to your physical and mental lifestyle according to these eight pillars.
Coping effectively with life and creating satisfying relationships
Especially for those with substance use disorder, poor emotional wellness is one of the major conflicts that disrupts our mental and physical well-being. Taking care of our emotional wellness can be a struggle, especially if other aspects of our lives are in disarray. It’s important to consider how you are feeling emotionally and think about changes that need to occur to improve this crucial pillar of wellness.
- Find a book of daily affirmations or make your own list
- Recite daily positive affirmations
The way we talk to ourselves matters and either empowers us or brings us down. Write notes for yourself and leave them around your house. Use our “I AM” poster and activity.
- Set New Lifestyle Goals
These could be fitness, emotional, financial, career or social goals. Set attainable and healthy goals to help yourself succeed. Having a goal and something to work towards can boost confidence and have a positive impact on emotional wellness.
- Make or update a recovery plan
If you are in recovery, make or update your recovery plan. It’s important to periodically look at your plan to reassess what’s not working and celebrate what is.
Good health by occupying pleasant, stimulating environments that support well-being
Where and how we spend our day plays a huge role in our personal wellness. You may have heard the phrase “familiarity breeds contempt” – while it was not exactly intended to describe one’s environment, it makes sense that if we stay in our house or room all day in the comforts of familiarity, contempt may then take the form of imbalance in our mental and physical health. Getting outside of our comfort zone and surrounding ourselves with a positive environment that actively engages our mind and body can have an incredible impact on overall wellness.
- Turn Off Your Phone
Turn off your phone for a set amount of time each day. Even 30 minutes a day can make a difference.
- Try Something New
Get outside your comfort zone. Start a new class or hobby. Organize a book club. Personal growth helps to improve our wellbeing and personal satisfaction.
- Spend Time in Nature
Go for a walk or just sit outside. Sunlight is beneficial for your health and boosts your happiness.
Financial & Occupational
Financial – Satisfaction with current and future financial situations
Occupational – Personal satisfaction and enrichment from one’s work
Financial and occupational wellness, while each important on their own, are often intertwined. However, if you are financially stable but are unsatisfied in your work – or – you love the work you do but are unable to make ends meet, these dilemmas can inversely affect your overall well-being. Finding the financial and occupational sweet spot of satisfaction is key, though can prove to be tricky if you’re unsure how to take the necessary steps to achieve wellness in these regards. We suggest getting in contact with a life coach or someone similar who can point you in the right direction and offer advice based on your personal needs and preferences. Check out Herren Wellness’s Ask a Life Coach blog post.
Recognizing creative abilities and finding ways to expand knowledge and skills
Expressing our creative abilities and expanding our knowledge has a huge impact on physical and mental wellness. Whether you are a seasoned writer, a talented musician, a skilled athlete, an honorary scholar, or anything in between, focusing time and energy on building those strengths and letting the creative juices flow allows the mind to make use of the magnificent power that too often rests complacently within. If we treat the brain like any other muscle, we can consider expressing creativity and expanding knowledge as strength and conditioning exercises.
- Read an Uplifting Book
Read an uplifting book or watch an uplifting movie. The content we consume has a direct correlation to our mood, our perspective and how we see the world. Read our “Read Across America Day” blog and find some good books!
- Be Creative
Self-expression through different art forms has a healing power that promotes relaxation and reduces stress. Write a song, draw, sing, dance, however you like to express yourself. Put your writing to the test and enter our “Celebrate Wellness & Recovery” Writing Contest.
- Write in a Journal
Record your thoughts, experiences and emotions in a notebook on a consistent basis. Acknowledging our feelings is a key part of wellness and self-care.
Recognizing the need for physical activity, healthy foods, and sleep
As we have covered before, physical activity, nutrition and sleep have arguably the most profound effect on both physical and mental wellness. Taking time each day to commit to physical activity, creating a healthy diet plan, and setting a sleep schedule will undoubtedly make all the other pillars of wellness easier to address. When we feel good physically, we tend to feel good mentally, which is why physical wellness is regarded as one of the most important aspects of overall wellness.
- Practice Healthy Eating Habits
Good nutrition is an important part of living a healthy lifestyle. Fruits, vegetables, beans and nuts are all key. Create a food diary, look at your habits and work toward making healthier changes.
- Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is vital to overall health and well-being. Strive for 8 hours each night. Plan out a nighttime routine to help your body and mind get ready for bed and prepare you for a restful night’s sleep.
- Try Yoga
Yoga or stretching are great tools for reducing stress and anxiety. Even 20 minutes a day will improve your mood and add to your overall health.
A regular exercise routine promotes better sleep, boosts energy, improves your mood and improves your health. Plus, you can have fun and meet new people.
- Drink Water
Staying hydrated helps our bodies in so many ways. It boosts brain function, energy levels and heart health & can even help with anxiety.
Last week we kicked off the first Herren Fitness Challenge during Wellness Week With Herren to motivate people to take their physical well-being to the next level. We encourage you to set your own personal goals by tracking your steps, water intake and daily exercise daily. Use the Wellness Week With Herren personal fitness log to begin.
Developing a sense of connection, belonging, and a well-developed support system
Our social well-being is interesting as it is almost entirely based on an external factor; the people we surround ourselves with. For those in early recovery, an important and sometimes difficult necessity for long-term success is re-evaluating the friends or family members we associate with and how they influence our overall wellness. This often means cutting ties with the people we drank or used with and distancing ourselves from the people that are a negative influence on our mental and/or physical well-being. Creating and maintaining a support system that challenges and inspires us to be the best version of ourselves will help us achieve the goals that we set in the pursuit of wellness. Additionally, surrounding ourselves with a person or group that mirrors what we aspire to be physically and/or mentally (even if we are not there yet) will positively influence our mindset as we work towards our goals.
- Spend Time With People Who Lift You Up
Make time for yourself and enjoy the people that matter most to you. Spend time with friends and family who lift you up and encourage you to become the best version of yourself. Try out our Dinner Discussion or come together for a Recovery Rocks Wellness Meet Up in your area.
- Go to a Support Group Meeting
Go to a support group meeting. Support from others is critical to our personal well-being and keeps us accountable.
Volunteering helps to improve our mood, reduce stress and increase our sense of purpose. It helps us connect to the community around us and make a difference. Find ways in your community to give back through activities like our recent Wellness Week with Herren charity drive, Be You. Do Good.
Expanding a sense of purpose and meaning in life
Despite popular belief, spiritually is not bound to going to church and praying. While religion is a form of spiritually, spiritual wellness comes in the form of a harmonious connection between our mind, body and spirit. Having a sense of meaning and purpose in life does not have to be a far-reaching, mythical sense of self-actualization that we achieve on a divine, spiritual journey. In fact, you can practice spiritual wellness right in your own home through meditation, yoga, or keeping a gratitude journal. These practices allow us to calm our thoughts so that we can focus on the present and form a connection between our mind and body – what we are grateful for, how we are feeling… Spiritual wellness is a practice, not an end-all, be-all destination, and takes daily effort to maintain a meaningful connection with our inner-selves. In time, our perception of purpose and meaning in life can evolve and take the form of something greater than ourselves.
- Perform an Act of Kindness
Send a gift or note to someone. It improves the quality of life for others and for yourself as well. Acts of kindness have a positive impact on your health by decreasing stress and increasing inner peace and happiness.
- Practice Meditation and Mindfulness
Practice meditation and mindfulness. Allow your mind to go quiet and just be. Focusing attention on our breath helps reach this state and deep breathing has been proven to reduce stress, anxiety and negative emotions.
- Keep a Gratitude Journal
Keep a gratitude journal with lists of things you’re grateful for. Studies have shown that having a gratitude-focused mindset creates a positive mood, greater sense of connectedness and helps us to sleep better.
Our first Wellness Week With Herren was held March 2- March 7th. It was an incredible week of practicing wellness and celebrating recovery with the end goal of preventing substance use disorder. We encourage everyone to continue looking at where you are on your wellness journey. Are there areas that could use some attention and improvement? If so, dedicate some time this week to formulate a plan on how to improve these crucial pillars of wellness as they relate to your life. Start small and build on the foundations you set for yourself and remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Then mark your calendar for March 1 – March 6, 2021 for our next Wellness Week with Herren Learn more at www.wellnessweekwithherren.com.