Wellness that goes beyond
There has never been a time where the importance of wellness has been given so much emphasis, as much as in the recent years. We have been long aware of the importance of being fit and healthy physically, but it is only lately that the spotlight has been put on mental wellbeing as well. With the busy lifestyle we lead, the increased work & life stress we go through and the sea of uncertainties that the pandemic brought upon us, approaching our wellbeing holistically has become critically important.
Holistic wellness – a comprehensive approach of wellbeing
Holistic wellness is an approach where we view our lives from a 360-degree view encompassing five key dimensions – mental & emotional, physical, social, occupational and financial wellness. Each of these elements have the potential to impact our wellbeing in varying degrees. A slight imbalance in one, can have a snowballing effect on other dimensions thus causing an overload of worries and stress. Adopting a holistic approach to wellness can not only help boost productivity, mental clarity, physical health but also resilience to face challenges of daily life headstrong.
Elements of Holistic wellness
a) Mental and emotional wellness
As per Mind HK, 61% of Hong Kong adults suffer from poor mental well-being and it is increasingly becoming one of the most pressing concerns affecting the workforce today. Mental wellbeing is one the most critical and important elements of wellbeing and defines how well we are able to take care of our overall wellness. A well-rested and calm mind helps tackle work challenges, improve productivity, collaborate better with colleagues and a strengthened sense of purpose.
Checking in with one’s emotions and adaptive self-awareness helps cope with stress and adversity. Whilst it is generally good to be in touch with our emotions and to not suppress them, there are situations where we should manage our emotions especially well. That’s notably the case at work.
It is never too early to take conscious efforts and steps to take care of our mental health:
- Connect with people to share positive experiences, build a sense of belonging and share emotional support
- Learn new skills to boost self-confidence and help build a sense of purpose
- Be in the present and practice mindfulness to check in with yourself on your feelings and your body
b) Physical wellness
Yet another important angle of wellness is being physically fit. A number of studies have shown that exercising helps block negative thoughts, distract one from daily worries, help lift mod, improve sleep patterns and bring about a rush of happy hormones such as endorphins and Human Growth Hormone (HGH).
Here are a few things that we can do to keep ourselves physically active throughout the day:
- Take regular screen breaks, stand up to do stretches, take calls while standing or get up to talk to people
- Hold stand-up or even hold walking meetings to get you and your team out of your seats
- Go outside (or just be more active) at lunchtime, even for a short walk around the block
c) Social wellness
Social wellness refers to building healthy, nurturing and supportive relationships with the people around us. Fostering healthy relationships are key to maintaining our overall well-being as it plays a huge role in how we perceive experiences around us and respond to stress. Emotional and informational support from a strong network of friends and family can be instrumental in tackling challenges as well.
To cultivate habits of social wellness, you can consider the below:
- Practice selfcare such as getting good sleep, exercising regularly and avoiding negative coping mechanisms
- Surround yourself with good people who can have positive influence
- Engage in hobbies and extra curriculars for mind stimulation and opportunities to network
d) Occupational wellness
This is one area of wellness which is not given as much importance as it should get. Given the fact that we spend a major chunk of our day working, ensuring that we get job satisfaction from our work is critical to our health. Work satisfaction can be attributed to the meaningfulness associated with work, alignment with career purpose, utilization of their unique skills and assessment of rewards & recognition.
You can adopt the below steps to make occupational wellness an important aspect in adopting holistic wellness strategy
- Align your career goals & purpose with the work you are doing currently
- Avoid over-working yourself. Burnout often leads to lower productivity and impacts work life balance
- Establish connections with co-workers to have social bonds and make work more enjoyable
e) Financial wellness
Lastly, one more angle of wellness that is often overlooked is the level of security and control one feels over their savings, earning potential, financial goals, ability to find employment and job security. Maintaining financial health can provide a security blanket which can enable us to achieve our goals, take advantage of opportunities and flexibility to pursue dreams.
While finances are not the be all and end all of happiness and success, any imbalance in financial health can lead to increased stress and adversity.
Simple steps that we can take towards ensuring financial wellbeing:
- Gain financial literacy to be better able to learn strategies, skills and tools to handle finances
- Plan ahead for emergencies and other irregular expenses
- Planning current funds wisely to invest in future or retirement plans
For more such insights and advice, check out our career advice tips on managing your career and effectively.