Adding the eight dimensions of wellness to your life

Kendra Wicks

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As the school year is winding down, stress from finals, graduation and life in general is going up for many students. While health may be the last thing on your mind, taking care of yourself will improve your mood and give you the strength to survive the last few weeks of school.

Washburn University promotes eight dimensions of wellness: physical, social, intellectual, emotional, environmental, occupational, financial and spiritual.

“We chose those eight because they cover every spectrum that we think is important,” said Kellie Hundemer, assistant director of fitness and wellness at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center.

Here are some easy ways to keep your body and mind in check in these eight categories.

Physical fitness is often greatly associated with the terms “health” and “wellness.” Here on campus, you can visit the SRWC for a workout, group exercise class or fitness assessment. Going for a walk or run is a simple way to keep your body moving.

Interacting with others helps keep our mentality strong. Making time for your friends and family will improve your social wellness. The key is to plan things out early. Make it a priority to go out to eat, see a movie or have a game night with your family members or friends. Be sure to unplug from your phone and catch up with the people around you.

Intellectual health is very important for students. Try to take your learning outside the classroom. Watching Ted Talks, listen to podcasts and explore subjects that interest you. Make an effort to keep up in your classes by making study guides, reviewing with a partner or visiting the tutoring center in the library for some extra help.

Emotional health is one of the most challenging things to balance in college. Coloring, listening to music, watching Netflix and journaling are a few simple things you can do to help relieve stress. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, talk a friend or professor, or visit Washburn’s counseling services in room 200 of Kuehne Hall.

Most of us don’t often stop to consider our environment, but place can have a huge impact on your overall wellbeing. Decorate your living space with something colorful or open your curtains to let in natural light when possible. If you have roommates, be sure to talk to them if you have a problem with your living space. Keeping everything orderly will help you relax and focus.

“Making sure your workspace is clean and organized helps with stress,” Hundemer said.

Occupational wellness involves taking responsibility for creating the kind of job that you want. If you currently work, check to make sure that you aren’t overworking yourself. Be comfortable in your work environment and talk to a supervisor if you have any kind of issue. Meet with you advisor to make sure you’re on track to graduate and check for any internship opportunities.

Especially for college students, financial issues can impact your stress level as well. There are various financial workshops offered on Washburn’s campus throughout the year and some are hosted at the public library.

“They cover a variety of subjects, such as how to eliminate credit card debt or how to manage your money,” Hundemer said.

Spiritual wellness is a very personal journey. This could mean setting aside time to pray or be alone or joining a religious group here on campus. For many students, it simply means finding a direction and goal.

“Spiritual wellness can include making sure you have a purpose and trying to find that purpose,” Hundemer said. “Whether that be religious-wise or some other type of spiritual purpose you’re looking for.”

Wellness goes far beyond the physical. It’s important to keep these eight dimensions in mind. Everyone has room to improve, and small steps can go a long way.