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Posts Tagged ‘Emotional health’

Last month I returned to work after the birth of my son. Since then, many people have commented – often with a hint of jealousy in their tone – on how quickly I “bounced back” after having a baby. The message they mean to convey with these words is that I was successful in returning to my pre-pregnancy weight. I do count this achievement as a success, as I was very intentional about staying active throughout my pregnancy to help with my labor, delivery and postpartum recovery. Physically, one might look at me and think that I am well, and in some respects that is true. I eat fairly healthfully and am maintaining a healthy weight. But, as my colleague Amanda explained in her recent blog What Does Wellness Mean to You?, there is much more to wellness than what meets the eye.

In her blog, Amanda introduced the nine dimensions of wellness and the wellness wheel (shown below) promoted by The Ohio State University Office of Student Life. She encouraged readers to reflect on where they stand within each dimension of wellness, perhaps by using the self-assessment questions suggested by the University of Lincoln-Nebraska.

wellness wheel

When I reflect on my own wellness at this point in my life, eating healthfully is a high point. However, within the physical dimension of wellness, I actually fall short in other regards. My activity levels now are much lower than they were prior to and even during my pregnancy. Additionally, I am not sleeping well; not because I lack opportunities to sleep, but because I struggle to quiet my mind enough to achieve a true state of rest. These struggles both contribute to and stem from a lack of emotional wellbeing. I recognize that at this point in my life, I have yet to establish effective ways to cope with stress, and that needs to be my priority right now. I used to exercise daily as a means to cope with stress and decompress after my work day. Now, there are new demands on my time that make this difficult to do. Consequently, I have trouble quieting my mind at the end of the day. This can easily turn into a vicious cycle, as sleep deprivation can contribute to further stress as well as reduced wellbeing in the social, intellectual, creative and career dimensions.

If you haven’t done so recently, take a few moments this week to evaluate where you stand within each dimension of wellness. What are your strengths, and where do you have room to improve? Perhaps a clear priority will emerge, as was the case for me. You can use your priority area to find small and simple things you might do to become more well in that area.

Wherever you stand, remember that we all have strengths and weakness. Be kind to yourself and others, and don’t be too quick to judge a book by its cover.

 

Written by: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Amanda Bohlen, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Washington County, bohlen.19@osu.edu

 

Sources:

Bohlen, A. (2019). What Does Wellness Mean to You?  Live Healthy, Live Well. https://livehealthyosu.com/2019/04/04/what-does-wellness-me-to-you/

Harmon, M. (2017). How Well are You? Live Healthy, Live Well. https://livehealthyosu.com/2017/08/18/how-well-are-you/

The Ohio State University, Student Wellness Center (2019). Nine Dimensions of Wellness. https://swc.osu.edu/about-us/nine-dimensions-of-wellness/

University of Lincoln Nebraska, Student Affairs (2019). 9 Dimensions of Wellbeing. https://resilience.unl.edu/9-dimensions-well-being

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One of the biggest joys of being an Extension Educator is hearing the stories of others and sharing the highs and lows of daily life. I love living in the community, and have come to realize that if I want it to be a better place, it begins with conversations with others.

Every day, each one of us lives in joy, in sorrow, in anger, in sadness, in the known and in the unknown. And yet, we don’t always share with another the truth of how we are feeling. When asked, “How are you?” A standard response is “Good”. When in reality, we are happy, excited, frustrated, sad, exhausted, silly, or many other emotions. It is so important that we begin to share our emotions with one another, that we share one another’s joys and sorrows.

When talking with a group of young adults about finding balance and setting boundaries in relationships, one of them asked me, “How do you do that without hurting someone else?”

While helping dairy farmers learn more about sharing one another’s joys and burdens with family and friends, one of them asked me, “How do you start that when it’s not what I was taught?”

During a class for parents going through a divorce, one of them asked me, “How do you help your child when they are isolating themselves?”

Each of these questions, asked with honesty and openness, led to a shared discussion for everyone present. The beauty in those moments was the community that was built for each person present.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) shares that “emotional wellness is the ability to successfully handle life’s stresses and adapt to change and difficult times.” For optimal emotional well-being they suggest 6 strategies for improving your emotional health:

  • Find the positive
  • Reduce Stress
  • Get a good night’s sleep
  • Allow yourself to grieveteam-386673_1920
  • Spend more time with others
  • Practice mindfulness

The NIH also reminds us that “positive social habits can help you build support systems and stay healthier mentally and physically.” Through our relationships with others, we learn how the world around us works. Being in relationship with others is an important part of our well-being. What are the ways that you are involved with others each day? Some places you might be involved within your community are: service groups, exercise, social groups, family, athletics, work, school events, the grocery, driving from here to there, and many more.

Building a community is the responsibility of each of us. Be vulnerable. Try something new. Reach out to someone you have not talked to recently. Through our sharing of our life experiences, each of us will learn that we are not alone and we are loved. Take time today to reach out to the community you currently have created and don’t be afraid to look for community wherever you are.

Written by:  Jami Dellifield, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Hardin County

Reviewed by: Lisa Barlage, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County

Sources:

US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, Emotional Wellness Toolkit, https://www.nih.gov/health-information/emotional-wellness-toolkit

US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, Social Wellness Toolkit, https://www.nih.gov/health-information/social-wellness-toolkit

Queensland Government,Social and Emotional Wellness,  https://workplaces.healthier.qld.gov.au/public-resources/health-topics-ideas-for-action/social-and-emotional-wellness/

Photo: https://pixabay.com/photos/team-motivation-teamwork-together-386673/

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For most people, this time of year is filled with happiness and good cheer.  However, many individuals dread the coming of the holiday season and the sadness that it brings.   What causes the holiday blues and what can we do to help alleviate the sadness that overcomes us?

  • High Expectations  Don’t worry about having a perfect party or family get-together.  Instead try to maintain realistic expectations and have a good time.
  • Overdoing it  Trying to attend every party and get-together will only make you tired and feeling worn-out.  Try to stick to your usual routine, including meals, exercise and sleeping habits.  Try to avoid drinking too much alcohol, which can depress moods.
  • Spending too Much We all want to please others and buy that perfect gift, but paying the bill in January can be stressful.  Make a budget for gifts and stick to it!
  • Unpleasant Holiday Memories  Try not to think of holidays that were sad and lonely.  Create pleasant memories by starting a new tradition.
  • Being Single, Alone or Divorced  Call a friend and make plans to get together over the holidays.  Invite them to lunch, an uplifting holiday movie, or a walk around town to view the holiday decorations.
  • Emphasis on Shopping and Commercialization  Consider giving a donation to a charity in lieu of a gift that the recipient won’t use.

If you find yourself feeling down any time of year, make a list of the good things you have in your life.  Another way to feel better about yourself is to volunteer your time to help someone less fortunate than you.

Finally, we all feel down sometimes but  if the “blues” last longer than a few weeks, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor or seek professional help.

Submitted by:  Jennifer Even, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Hamilton County.  Source:  Judith S. Beck, PhD, Huffington Post, Avoid the Holiday Blues.

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