by Dr Cecilia Soong
One of my university courses is titled Mental Health and Wellness which looks at four dimensions of health (physical, mental and emotional, social, spiritual) which translate to five dimensions of wellness - personal, social, emotional, intellectual, environmental (McCormick, 2011). All these attest to a multidimensional approach to achieving balanced wellness.
Fail to plan; plan to fail. You may say this is a cliche, but there is some truth to it. I would work on what is called a personal strategy. This is typically done at a personal retreat in December when I would look at the year’s personal strategy listings to reflect on what has been achieved for the year, and give thanks for them. It is like a huge ‘Count Your Blessings’ exercise for what transpired in the entire year. They say that gratitude is a good attitude, and it is incredibly uplifting to end the year with thanksgiving and looking forward to the new one with zest and enthusiasm. Do remember to set SMART goals – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.
The Physical dimension would include elements like exercise, diet, weight control, sleep, medical check-up, etc. As exercise has always been prescribed to beat stress and mild depression, this should veritably take priority.
The Intellectual dimension to me translates to attending one overseas conference a year. It could also be about learning one new thing a year – in my case, I wanted to be trained in life-coaching and I completed my four modules of coaching training in the past two years. My Fridays in the office are devoted to reading academic journals and watching counselling videos to keep abreast with the latest developments in my field.
Social/emotional goals include time with family, like visiting Mom twice a week, having a monthly Super-Saturday with Soong Sisters and Mom. With friends, I have deep conversations with a dear and trusted friend who is also a fellow-foodie over lunch once a week. With other close friends I would chat over a meal after a walk or before a movie. Still other groups of casual friends meet over birthday celebrations quarterly.
Spiritual goals could take the form of plans for growing in spiritual disciplines. It could be about going for a missions or humanitarian trip once a year to share hope and joy to the people in the receiving countries. Voluntary work fits into this domain too, as helping others fulfils a purpose and gives meaning and significance to the giver.
So, are you set to live a balanced life next year - one filled with directions and commitment? Start planning for it, and activate the plan by just doing it!