What does being well mean to you? In addition to physical aspects like being active and maintaining a healthy diet, we hope your definition of wellness includes emotional wellness! Experts now agree that emotional wellness is a very important part of overall health, and it’s something we can pursue at any age.
At Westminster Canterbury Richmond, we define emotional wellness as, “continual growth that assists in maintaining respectful and satisfying relationships, expressing and managing feelings and coping with stress.” Emotional wellness involves having resilience to deal with life’s obstacles and adapt to difficult changes and challenges. This doesn’t mean that emotionally well people are unaffected by adversity. Rather, they are able to get back on track more easily when life presents challenges.
Emotional wellness can all too frequently fall to the bottom of our priority list. We’ve all heard that we need to practice good self-care, but how can we find time for ourselves when so many of us provide support to others in our personal and professional lives? Here are some practical guidelines for fostering emotional wellness:
- Social connectedness is essential to having a healthy emotional state. Spending time with family, friends and others can lift the spirit and remind us that there are others “in our corner.”
- Focus on the positives, perhaps through gratitude journaling or surrounding oneself with positive people as much as possible. In addition to just feeling good, there’s increasing evidence that focusing on the positive can actually maintain physical health.
- Reduce stress. Break major tasks down into manageable ones. Practice mindfulness techniques such a yoga or meditation. Explore your sense of spirituality. There are so many ways to do this, and one does not need to be “religious” to do so.
- Maintain physical health by eating a healthy diet, engaging in physical activity on a regular basis and getting adequate, restful sleep. All of these support our immune system in times of stress, which in turn helps us become more resilient both physically and emotionally.
- When we do experience those bumps in the road and feel distressed or disconnected, reach out to others for support. Consider seeking the guidance of a professional counselor or a trusted friend or clergy person. This is a sign of strength, not of weakness!
- Keep past successes in prominent view. It’s sometimes too easy to focus on the uphill climb ahead of us, forgetting about the mountains we have successfully surmounted in the past. Remembering these victories is so helpful in leading us on to the next one!
At Westminster Canterbury, residents may participate in numerous opportunities that encourage whole person wellness, including emotional wellness. Whether it’s through a yoga class, volunteering, participating in a peer support group, attending one of our numerous lectures and worship opportunities, or spending time enjoying the outdoor gardens on our campus, we encourage all residents to embrace wellness at every age and level of life. We wish you much success along your personal wellness journey!