Let's do a quick word association exercise. What comes to mind when you hear the word "wellness"? We're guessing images of spas, yoga, acai bowls and other fitness-related things. There's no doubt that today, the meaning of wellness has been synonymous with being fit and staying healthy. After all, there are constant reminders — especially on social media — about maintaining a proper diet and exercise regimen. But while these two are major components of wellness, it's just a fraction of a whole.
Aside from the physical aspect, the pursuit of wellness also includes mental, emotional, spiritual and social health. Even things that we don't usually associate with wellness, such as vocational and environmental aspects, are also equally significant factors. And so what is the meaning of wellness? In a nutshell, it's all about a holistic approach in achieving a life well-lived. To know more about some of the under-discussed aspects of wellness, we interviewed members of the Clozette Community about what it means for them.
The connection between physical and mental health
Physical and mental health are like twins, they're closely intertwined. Studies have shown that poor mental health could be detrimental to physical health and vice versa. This is something that Clozette Ambassador Shayne is familiar with as she personally experienced the powerful connection between physical and mental health. "I used to be overweight, clinically depressed and suffered from several medical conditions," she shared.
In her blog entry, she detailed how her active pursuit of becoming physically healthy eventually lead to better mental health. "Exercising and eating healthy changed my life in more ways than one. The endorphins I get from it help me with depression and anxiety. Losing weight and strengthening my muscles help aid my back pains. I can walk, stand, sit longer than I could when I first got sick. I still have bad and painful days but I’ve learned to deal with it," she wrote. To her, wellness is simply doing her best to live a healthy and meaningful life while working towards becoming a better version of herself every day.
The joys of vocational wellness
One dimension of wellness that's not always touched upon is vocational wellness. Harvard University defines it as having "the occupation that aligns with our skills and values, challenges us, and gives us a sense of fulfilment". It's certainly something that Clozetter Angel Quilang has achieved.
As a nurse working in the frontlines during the coronavirus pandemic, Angel takes joy and pride in her profession. "Whenever I see patients who have recovered from COVID-19, it gives me hope to do more in serving and providing the best healthcare they need," she said. "In this uncertain time, it allows me more to use my knowledge, skills and attitude to achieve my life's purpose as a nurse that gives a deep sense of fulfilment."
However, just because she loves her job doesn't mean that she's immune to the stress that comes with it — just like in any profession. To recharge, she nurtures her social wellness by catching up with close friends and family even with the current social distancing measures. "I talk and bond with my friends via video calls to find out how their day went and to share anything they want to talk about," Angel said.
She also finds solace in harnessing her creativity through makeup. "I always have makeup on even when I'm on duty," she shared. "During this pandemic, my eye makeup skills got much better than before. I usually watch eye makeup videos by my vlogger friends and I'm happy that I learned some techniques from them. It's also my way to support them. I feel great whenever people tell me that they love my makeup while wearing a mask." Having this sweet work-life balance is a key to Angel's wellness. "For me, it's about practising healthy habits to attain holistic well-being in my daily life," she said.
Exploring environmental wellness
Most of us would be surprised to know that one of the recognised dimensions of wellness is not about personal pursuits. With climate change causing drastic effects like uncontrollable wildfires, water shortage and prolonged droughts, environmental wellness has become more relevant than ever. It's a concept of subscribing to a lifestyle that nurtures our environment and all the living things in it.
If you're not sure how to incorporate environmental wellness in your life, you can take a cue from Clozetter Saffia. After becoming aware of the actions she can take to help the planet — or at the very least not contribute to its detriment — she has taken an interest in adapting environmentally-conscious habits.
By doing so, Saffia experienced personal fulfilment as well even in little victories. "Adopting a simple sustainable lifestyle like owning fewer clothes, being a conscious consumer, repurposing various items in our household and using reusable items makes me happy," she shared. "The joy of doing something small for a bigger cause and sharing them with other people means a lot to me. Knowing that little things I do contribute to a better environment makes me feel good which affects my personal wellness positively."
Since adopting this minimalistic lifestyle, Saffia has become more appreciative towards the little things that we often take for granted: having a warm cup of coffee in the morning, being able to eat a proper meal, singing in the shower and having the time for spiritual devotion. "By acknowledging the fact that I do not need to do a lot or do something all the time. Instead, I valued rest, being still and being at peace amidst the chaos. I appreciate the simple things I have and how blessed I am every day," she said.
Indeed, some aspects of wellness have been overshadowed, but it's time to shed a spotlight on them. With this in mind, we've dedicated the month of October to promote holistic wellness — from sharing mindfulness exercises to showcasing the daily lives of wellness professionals. We invite you to join us on this journey of minding yourself.
Here are five wellness practices from around the world you can start adopting.