Do you ever get overwhelmed when it comes to trying to take care of yourself? It feels like there is a never-ending list of things to do for self care, and it still is never good enough.
I feel you. You’re not wrong.
Taking care of yourself can be tricky and time consuming. There is so much information out there and when you’re already overwhelmed, it can seem like too much to go through.
I want to help by breaking down the 6 dimensions of holistic wellness. These are each of the areas that demand your attention. The good news is that you are probably already taking pretty good care of yourself in at least a few of these areas. When you realize that, it will hopefully feel less daunting to tackle the rest. Many of you are already taking better care of yourself than you realize.
Hi, I’m Kaylin and I am a licensed therapist and Holistic Wellness Coach for overwhelmed and burnt out millennials. I’m excited to share my perspective about holistic wellness with you.
So, what are the 6 dimensions of holistic wellness?
Let’s go over each, one by one.
Social Wellness: Your Relationships
What is social wellness? This constitutes your relationships. Familial, platonic, romantic, professional, etc.. Do you have a sense of belonging, are you safe to be honest and authentic in your relationships?
Are you spending time with people you love, and who love you back? Your social relationships influence your health and wellness more than we realize. In fact, some people say that one of the major causes of death in elderly people is loneliness.
Humans are social creatures, even introverts like to see people once in a while.
Evolutionarily, it used to be a matter of survival to fit in and be a part of the tribe. Individuals on their own usually died because it wasn’t sustainable to take care of all of our needs alone- and I would argue that it still isn’t sustainable, even though in modern western culture we are taught that it is.
You may have experienced some trauma in your past that has made it difficult to open up and trust people, and that is affecting your ability to build deep relationships. In order to take care of your social wellness, you must learn how to trust again, and that really begins with trusting yourself.
Trusting yourself to make better decisions than last time, trusting yourself to walk away when something isn’t right, trusting yourself to put yourself first. Easier said than done, I know. But that’s why you’re here, right: To learn how to take better care of yourself.
Emotional Wellness: Your Inner World
What is emotional wellness? Emotional wellness is all about… drum 🥁 roll… your emotions! Are you able to experience a wide range of emotions: not just positive, not just negative, but a little bit of everything. Are you able to identify your emotions, and process them in a healthy way?
Emotions are information for you to interpret. Some people say that emotions are “energy in motion” and we need to move them through. Others say that emotions are the drivers of our action… which is a similar concept but a little bit different.
Both parties will agree though, that emotions live in the body. When you avoid feeling certain emotions, their energy or drive gets stuck in your body. This is a very simplified way of explaining how chronic pain and illnesses can occur.
Imagine that you have a big bottle of soda and some mentos (you might know where I’m going with this if you were a curious kid). The mento represents an emotion, let's say its anger. Your body is the bottle of soda. When you put the mento into the bottle, it will start to fizz up and gain a lot of energy, eventually exploding out of the bottle in a super fun and sticky eruption.
Now, if you put the mento in the bottle and then put the lid on, what happens? All that energy still gets built up, the action potential is still there… but it’s not going anywhere. It might even damage the bottle.
So when you have anger - or any other emotion - in your body that you don’t express, or you keep the lid on, all the action potential and energy just gets stuck inside of you.
Emotional wellness is all about allowing yourself the time and space to feel all of your feelings, to not deny them, and to learn how to cope and not worry about them taking over completely.
Mental Wellness: Your Brain Function
Are you able to focus on things that matter to you, problem solve, plan ahead, learn and remember things?
Your brain is part of your body, and a lot of people lose sight of that fact sometimes. All 6 dimensions of holistic wellness are interrelated, but I believe that mental wellness might be the most important one. This is how you function in your daily life- if your mental game is off, your physical health might suffer, your emotional health, your social health… all of it. This is probably why I became a therapist in the first place, I believe that mental health is so important to the rest of our lives.
Taking care of your mental wellness means to find the ways that you focus best, and it might not be what everyone else needs. For example, many people focus better in a quiet room. I actually prefer to focus in a place with a lot of background noise, in college I always used to say that my brain likes having something to ignore. If it’s too quiet, my mind goes racing.
Physical Wellness: Your Body
Are you able to move around and function, without pain most days? Do you recover from injury, do you feel energized and notice hunger cues? Are you able to sleep enough to let your body recover?
Physical health is what many people think of when they think of health. Taking care of your body, including internal organs and immune system functionality. This is your movement routine, the food you eat, the amount of sleep you get each night.
Environmental Wellness: Your surroundings
Do your surroundings support you and your wellness? Are you able to find healthy food, to move around safely, to rest and relax when you’re at home?
Environmental wellness is keeping your home environment clean and organized, free of toxins and clutter. Much of this is outside of your control. Our world is losing nutrients by the second, and it's getting more and more toxic just to exist. I won’t go totally down this rabbit hole, but what I want to emphasize is that sometimes the best you can do is just the best that you can do, and it will never be perfect. By focusing on what you can control, you can influence your environmental health.
Decorate your home in a way that feels peaceful to you, use non toxic cleaning supplies. Bring plants and greenery inside to your space. Make sure everything has a place in your home, so that you can keep clutter to a minimum.
Existential Wellness: Your Purpose
Existential wellness is related to knowing your purpose and your big WHY. Does your life have meaning?
This may be my favorite dimension of holistic wellness to explore. I love philosophy and considering the deeper meaning of life and existence. But it doesn’t have to be that deep, I promise. It can be as simple as believing in something bigger than yourself. It can be knowing that you wake up every morning and your life has value, and you give to others. It can be finding and knowing your deeper WHY of life, your specific purpose for being on this earth. This is an ongoing journey.
And actually, all 6 dimensions of holistic wellness are ongoing. Each will evolve with you as you grow and age and change throughout your life. You must pay attention to all 6 dimensions of holistic wellness, but you probably won’t be able to pay attention to all of them at the same level at the same time. And that’s ok. Trying to do so is when the overwhelm comes.
In addition to your overall wellness, you still have to live your life. That’s why it is important to only focus on a few dimensions of holistic wellness at a time.
For example, my mental and physical wellness routines are automatic at this point and I am satisfied with both. The aspects I am focusing more on are social and emotional. I probably need to give some love to my environmental wellness but adding that tends to get overwhelming, so it gets ignored… if I’m being perfectly honest
So what do you do with all of this information? First, I think you should take the Deep Health Assessment provided by Precision Nutrition to see where you stand. This will give you the baseline of your overall wellness, so that you can get a clear picture of where you’re doing great, and where you might need some improvement.
The second thing to do is to NOT panic. No matter what your score looks like, everyone will always have room for growth. Like I said above, wellness evolves, grows, and changes along with you in your life. It isn’t and never will be stagnant.
Try not to let this be overwhelming. You’re functioning right now, as you read this blog. You don’t have to change anything if you don’t want to. But if there is an aspect of your life that you might want to change, or that is causing you a lot of distress, focus on that first.
Working with a holistic wellness coach might be just what you need. And oh, how convenient, that’s exactly what I do! We can work together to build better habits and routines around any - or all - of the 6 dimensions of wellness. We will work together to find the deeper cause of any habits that are not serving you, and find accessible and approachable habits to replace them with.
Kaylin is a licensed mental health therapist in California, and Holistic Wellness Coach for burnt out millennials.
If you are interested in working with Kaylin, schedule a free consultation to see if a Holistic Wellness Coach is right for you here.