As some of you may be aware, this week has been designated National Wellness Week by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). To celebrate this week of encouraging “individuals, families, and communities across the country to improve their health behaviors, while also exploring their talents, skills, interests, social connections, and environment to incorporate other dimensions of wellness,” the DMH Northeast Suburban Area Recovery Action Team and Healthy Changes Task Force in conjunction with the DMH Office of Recovery & Empowerment put together a great event called “Celebrating the Whole You” that featured presentations on all aspects of wellness. The event was held yesterday at Tewksbury Hospital and included a wellness walk (which was a great opportunity for Step It Up! participants to add some extra steps to their day); a workshop on overall wellness by Beth Frates, MD; and presentations on the Eight Dimensions of Wellness, yoga, and creating a welcoming home and work environment. DMH Northeast Suburban Area Director Susan Wing and Bureau Director for Public Health Hospitals Sandra Akers kicked off the event by talking about their own wellness adventures, and DMH Commissioner Marcia Fowler provided opening remarks that tied in her incredible passion for running with the importance of staying well. I was also fortunate enough to be able to give a presentation on nutrition – and play a fun game with participants called “It’s Healthier Than You Think!,” and I’d like to thank Wellness Champion Eileen Weber and the planning committee for both giving me the opportunity to be a presenter and for putting on a great program from which I learned a lot of useful information.
While I could fill several blog posts with everything that I learned yesterday, I will save space and time by listing a few of the items that stood out the most:
- Did you know that there are eight “dimensions” to overall wellness? Being truly well involves achieving balance in the following areas: emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, physical, social and spiritual.
- Yoga is accessible to everyone! As long as you can take a few minutes each day to step away from what you’re doing and just breathe deeply and consciously, then you too can practice yoga.
- Positivity is an important component to being well, and there is a positivity ratio of 3:1 that instructs us to think three positive thoughts for every one negative thought. This is something I plan to start practicing in my every day life, and I never would have thought to think this way before yesterday’s conference.
I hope that you can take some time to reflect on your overall state of wellness during National Wellness Week – even a small change to one component of being well can make a huge difference in how you feel.