Chances are, you’ve heard the term “wellness” used in many contexts. But, what do you envision when you think of someone who is “well?” And, which factors do you think influence your wellness?

Wellness refers to “the quality or state of being in good health especially as an actively sought goal.” It refers to both one’s physical and mental health.  And, because the two are linked, a decline in one area can negatively impact the other. An absence of support, trauma, faulty thinking, chronic illness, disability, and substance use are several factors that can compromise wellness.

Wellness is a crucial area that is affected when a woman becomes a single mother. Studies over the last decade have found that single motherhood increases ones risk of health problems such as cardiovascular disease and poor mental health.  It’s important that we take the time to incorporate wellness into our everyday life so that we are able to not only effectively care for ourselves, but our children.

There are eight dimensions of wellness. Wellness strategies refer to ways you can begin to develop healthy habits that can positively impact your physical and mental health. By learning about these dimensions, you can learn to incorporate wellness in your everyday life.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has identified eight dimensions of wellness. Following, we will list them, discuss signs that signify you are strong in that area, and how you can improve your health in each area:

Emotional Wellness

Defined: The ability to effectively cope with your life and create enriching relationships with others.

Signs of strength: You will exhibit confidence, control over your feelings and behavior, and an ability to manage life’s challenges.

How to improve: Manage stress; seek balance; be positive; accept your mistakes; and seek support from others.

Spiritual Wellness:

Defined: A feeling of having meaning and purpose in our life as seen through our values and beliefs.

Signs of strength: Your values are clear. You are confident and feel inner peace.

How to improve: Explore your spiritual core through yoga or meditation. Travel to expose yourself to new ways of thinking.

Intellectual Wellness:

Defined: A feeling of being mentally stimulated through engaging in activities that expand our knowledge and skills.

Signs of strength: You love to engage in activities that are stimulating and promote mental growth.

How to improve: Learn a new skill – a new hobby.

Environmental Wellness:

Defined: A feeling of being connected to and invested in our surroundings. Affected by pollution, sanitary and water conditions.

Signs of strength: You live a lifestyle that is respectful to your surroundings.

How to improve: Recycle. Avoid littering. Conserve. Purchase products that are environmentally friendly.

Physical Wellness:

Defined: A feeling of having ideal health and functioning.

Signs of strength: You possess lean body composition, muscle strength and endurance.

How to improve: Eating a well-balanced diet; exercise; sleeping 6-8 hours nightly; avoiding drugs, alcohol, and tobacco.

Financial Wellness:

Defined: A feeling of satisfaction in relation to your financial situation.

Signs of strength: You successfully manage your finances; you have a budget and stay within it

How to improve: Establish a budget; open a saving’s account; eliminate unnecessary expenses and credit card debt

Occupational Wellness:

Defined: A feeling of satisfaction with the work you have chosen.

Signs of strength: You have a balance of work and leisure time; positive co-worker relations; minimal workplace stress.

How to improve: Find work that is meaningful to you and in line with your interests, skills, and values.

Social Wellness:

Defined: A feeling of being connected and belonging.

Signs of strength: You have a strong support system; healthy boundaries; utilize healthy communication skills; and are respectful of others.

How to improve: Join a club; set healthy boundaries; improve your communication skills by being assertive and respectful of others.

Each of us have dimensions we may feel strong in and others where we could improve.  Decide on one area you want to improve. Set goals for yourself on how to approach your goals. Being strong in all eight dimensions will help you to reach a higher level of fulfillment in your life and improve your overall health.