Q: What the hell is wellness and how do I know if I am “well”?
A: First off, health and wellness are distinct, but linked. What started as a hippie movement in California is now known as the journey to good health, and can be achieved by everyone, not just the hippies in California. Journey is the key word here. Wellness is an on-going process, involving 6-8 components (depending on who you ask). We often see wellness conveyed through a Wellness Wheel, resembling a pie with a slice for each area of wellness. One who is “well” has achieved a balance in all areas of wellness, represented by even slices of their “pie” or Wellness Wheel.
With my students I use an eight component Wellness Wheel (modeled after SAMHSA), representing the different dimensions of wellness: intellectual, emotional, physical, occupational, financial, spiritual, environmental, and social. Need definitions of each of these wellness components? Check them out here.
At the start of the semester, to help them assess their personal wellness, I have them complete a Wellness Wheel Personal Assessment (see image to the left and download the worksheet PDF here). The intent of this assignment is to create a visual representation of the amount of time and energy they already dedicate to certain areas of wellness. With this, they can better understand which areas have room for improvement and where to focus their wellness efforts (and it’s a great conversation starter, too).
Did you try it out with your students? Let me know in the comments below.
Happy Wellness Wheel-ing!