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8 Dimensions of Wellness

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Kristin: Good Morning, this is your Wellness Wake Up Call with Kristin Bogdonas, nutrition and wellness educator for University of Illinois Extension, serving Rock Island, Henry, Mercer, and Stark Counties. Joining us today is Flora Denton, dietetic intern for the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.

Flora: Good morning, Kristin, and Happy New Year! Thanks for having me on.

Kristin: Happy New Year to you, too! With the New Year, brings new opportunities and the chance to start fresh with a clean slate. Do you have any goals or resolutions in mind for 2022?

Flora: Well, funny you should ask. While I’m usually not one to adopt the tradition, this year has me feeling a bit different. I suppose you could say I’ve decided to work on my overall wellness—you know, not just germs and gyms. I haven’t made much progress, yet, but it is only week three of the New Year.

Kristin: That’s a great idea, Flora! I think a lot of people will be focusing more on other aspects of health besides just eating well and exercising more. Oftentimes, we focus on one or two areas like diet and exercise, but miss out on opportunities to understand and work on the other dimensions like our mental and emotional health. Neglect of any one will adversely affect the others and ultimately our well-being and quality of life. Have you identified which areas you’d like to work on first?

Flora: I have a general idea, but do you mind giving me a quick refresher on the eight dimensions?

Kristin: Of course. What you mentioned earlier, “germs and gyms”, falls under Physical Wellness. The other dimensions include Emotional, Intellectual, Social, Spiritual, Occupational, Environmental, and Financial Wellness. While it’s important to give attention to all of these areas, they do not have to be equally balanced. Instead, we are striving for personal harmony and something that feels authentic to you.

Flora: Okay, but immune health and exercise aren’t the only pieces of the Physical Dimension, right? Nutrition has to be in there, it’s crucial for building a healthy body. And sleep, I definitely don’t perform well when I’m tired.

Kristin: You’re right! So are things like dental hygiene and being mindful of what you put into your body.

Flora: Excellent. Now what about Social Wellness? This is one Dimension I think I really want to focus on this month. It involves reconnecting and spending time with loved ones, finding belonging and a sense of community in like-minded people, and maybe even meeting new people.

Kristin: When working on your Social Wellness this month, I would suggest reaching out to loved ones in real time. Instead of sending a text give them a call. Or better yet, set up a time to video chat! This can also help to improve your Emotional Wellness, which encompasses how you process your feelings as well as your ability to express them to others.

Flora: That sounds doable! You know, my friends and I used to love to do escape rooms together, and they’ve been talking recently about trying one online. I think this would be a good opportunity to reconnect, and it could also help sharpen my problem-solving skills.

Kristin: That could be a lot of fun, and could also serve to improve your Intellectual Wellness. Challenging your mind and engaging your creative side can be great “brain” exercises.

Flora: I’m glad I have a few Dimensions of Wellness checked off the list already, and we’ve narrowed down a couple for me to work on.

Kristin: I wish your well as your work on your personal wellness goals this year and thank you for being here!

Kristin: If you’re listening and want to take a deeper dive into your wellness journey, please sign up for the 8 Dimensions of Wellness series which is a self-guided exploration beginning February 7. During this 8-week series, you’ll receive an email with a new dimension of wellness to explore each week, a menu of activities to engage with, and a link to submit your completed activities. By the end of the series, you will have learned about all 8 dimensions and will have hopefully found more balance in your life. Don’t worry about getting it perfect; just focus on becoming the best version of you in 2022. For more information and to register for this free series, visit go.illinois.edu/8DimensionsofWellness. For a copy of this episode and additional resources, visit WVIK.org/wellness. This has been Kristin Bogdonas, nutrition & wellness educator for University of Illinois Extension, serving Rock Island, Henry, Mercer, and Stark Counties. Wellness Wake Up Call is produced by WVIK in partnership with University of Illinois Extension, and sponsored by The Planning Center in Moline, assisting men and women with financial wellness and preparation for life's transitions, including retirement planning, college savings, marital changes, and estate planning.

Additional resources:

Learn about the 8 Dimensions of Wellness from SAMHSA

Kristin Bogdonas believes that everyone deserves access to fresh, affordable food and is committed to helping people improve their health literacy. In this digital age it can be difficult to decipher what nutrition information is accurate and what is hype. Connecting people with factual information and evidenced-based programs will help people build the skills and attain the knowledge necessary for positive behavior change. Although nutrition is important for a long and healthy life, one should not overlook the other dimensions of health required for overall wellbeing; physical, mental, emotional, vocational, spiritual, environmental and social. Each dimension impacting the next.