Let’s talk about important questions that you might have. First is, where do I start? I understand that self care is important, but what is my baseline and what can I work towards? In today’s busy world, people tend to drown in their daily tasks and responsibilities, putting aside their own personal well-being. I’m going to highlight 8 areas of mental wellness for you to assess, work on and focus your energy on improving.
Mental Health Care
The United States government has a branch called the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) which develops programs and initiatives to increase wellness awareness for the general public. If you’re wondering, or if you are feeling stigma about the word substance abuse in their name, it is because many people with substance abuse issues have untreated mental health issues that cause the chemical abuse.
8 Areas to Mind
In my opinion, one of SAMHSA’s most useful resources is their brief development of the The Wellness Initiative Program which focuses on 8 areas of mental health to tend to. I will elaborate and expand upon them using my own examples and applications.
As you go through the list of 8 areas, I want you to ask yourself how you are doing in each individual area. You can even print out this PDF to help you track your satisfaction rate on a scale of 0 to 100%. The optimal is about 80-90% satisfaction, keeping in mind that no one has a perfect life. I encourage you to actually write your rating down so you can compare and track your responses.
8 Areas Explained:
- Emotional — Coping effectively with life and creating satisfying relationships
- Environmental — Good health by occupying pleasant, stimulating environments that support well-being
- Financial — Satisfaction with current and future financial situations
- Intellectual— Recognizing creative abilities and finding ways to expand knowledge and skills
- Occupational — Personal satisfaction and enrichment from one’s work
- Physical — Recognizing the need for physical activity, healthy foods, and sleep
- Social — Developing a sense of connection, belonging, and a well-developed support system
- Spiritual — Expanding a sense of purpose and meaning in life
Self Care While Practicing Well-being
Each aspect of well-being contains many parts and you have to focus on what is practical for you to work on versus what is impractical. But at the same time, put in the work and don’t give up achieving satisfaction in as many of the areas that you can. Expand on your knowledge and abilities. For example, the “occupational” aspect of wellbeing is divided into 2 categories: compensation and fulfillment. My experience tells me that if people feel fulfilled in their work, this can make up for lack of compensation, but not if you are not making ends meet. On the other hand, if one is compensated very well, but is not satisfied with their work or impact, this can grow into a problem. Self-care means addressing this and bettering your situation with conscious thought and action.
Sleep is important, as we will discuss in a future episode. Lacking sleep can greatly impair one’s mind and general functionality. As humans, people all need to be part of a group. Having a support team is also essential in our social dimension. We all need a sense of purpose and meaning in life. This has nothing to do with religion, it is simply a question of what is your passion?
How do we make this practical? Start with the social and physical dimensions. Make yourself a small social network and hang out at least one hour each week. Take care of your body, because this will impact your sound mind. Eat healthy, exercise 30 minutes 4 times per week and get enough sleep each night, 7 to 9 hours for adults.
Now that you have rated yourself on all 8 levels, try the challenge: Ask yourself – how can I raise my satisfaction level in a particular dimension by 10%? Choose an action and get to work!
Check out this awesome PDF to review, rate and get started now!
● The Wellness Initiative Program by SAMHSA – basis of the 8 Dimensions of Wellness