How many times have you heard (or used) the expression “Get Well Soon”? It’s perhaps the most common idiom used when acknowledging that someone is sick or injured. But there is another important part of this expression; the addition of “soon.” This simple “add-on” is there to demonstrate the understanding that to “get well” is a process that takes time.
Although many people will use the terms health and wellness interchangeably, there is a significant difference. While health is a state of being free of illness or injury, the Global Wellness Institute defines wellness as “the active pursuit of activities, choices, and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health.” In other words, health is passive or static while wellness is an active and individual pursuit, providing each one of us self-responsibility for our own choices, behaviors, and lifestyles toward an optimal state of health and wellbeing. But don’t misunderstand, while we can all pursue wellness, that pursuit is undoubtedly influenced by the physical, social, and cultural environments in which we live.
So how do you know if you are “well” or not? Start by taking an inventory of your health and happiness in the four major areas of wellness:
Physical Wellness: Do I have the energy and ability to do what I want?
Emotional Wellness: Am I able to name my feelings and manage them in appropriate ways?
Spiritual Wellness: Have I connected to something greater than myself that provides me with meaning and purpose?
Social Wellness: Am I aware of how I and my actions impact others?
As you construct your own “wellness checkup”, it’s important to note that this is not to suggest that we now have additional things to do to feel better, but that we have options; new, optimistic ways to navigate what it means to be intentionally and holistically well while feeling the impact of so much change and challenge that exists in the world around us.
When most people are asked about “how to get well” the answer is the same — it’s not about using your treasure to buy something for yourself, but using your time to truly care for yourself. It’s a journey of choices and small steps to care for yourself. Optimal wellness is unique for each of us, but the ability to fulfill our obligations as well as our dreams is the common goal we all share. By proactively making wellness a life priority, we are equipped to better manage whatever life throws at us — expected and unexpected.
It starts by making choices to “get well” and then taking small steps along the journey to care for yourself. Sustainable self-care can be as simple as drinking more water, moving more, finding time to meditate, going outside in nature, spending time with loved ones, volunteering to help others, or simply smiling more. In other words, choose to take care of YOU even in simple ways, and wellness will follow. When we internalize wellness, we are able to activate the benefits in everything we do, which in turn not only keeps us well but spreads to others as that reminder we all need “Get Well Soon!”