If you Google the word “wellness“, you’ll notice a lot of results include advertisements for numerous Spa & Wellness weekends in some magical-looking places... You could book a massage in the Spa Centre offering floral baths or rest for a couple of days at the hotel which has a lot of pools and breathtaking views. The purpose of those kinds of retreats is to get away from everyday life and rest your body and mind – work on your wellness. But once you’re back home, how long does the “effect of wellness’’ last? What does it depend on? Can wellness be bought?
What does “wellness” stand for?
Can wellness really be brought about through simply resting in beautiful surroundings, far away from responsibilities?
Although it no doubt brings relaxation, according to the various world organizations focused on the research of this topic, wellness is much more than that. For the National Wellness Institute (2020), wellness is “a conscious, self-directed, and evolving process of achieving one’s full potential.” Even large pharmaceutical companies focused on physical health advocate for a more holistic view of wellness. For example, Pfizer (2023) defines wellness as “the act of practicing healthy habits on a daily basis to attain better physical and mental health outcomes so that instead of just surviving, you’re thriving“. What we can learn from both definitions is that achieving wellness is more than just physical; it is a long-term process that requires one’s active participation in handling both our physical and mental health.
The question that follows is how can you take care of your physical and mental health? Is there any secret, innovative recipe that you can implement in your life?
Six ingredients for wellness
Luckily, it turns out there are some guidelines for improving your wellness that are completely free! The only currency you will be paying for this recipe is your own time, persistence, consistency and openness to experiences and learning.
Research on wellness has resulted in many different models, to define the components of one’s well-being. Most models revolve around six, seven or eight domains, but what they all have in common is a holistic approach. What does holistic mean? “Holistic’’ sees human wellness as a whole, made up of different parts - taking into account a bigger picture and not focusing on one domain alone.
LeafCo adopts a six domain model that has been developed for use with remote workers and teams. Taking the metaphor of a recipe, these six domains are ingredients that can be observed on their own, but in reality, they come together to make a delicious serving of holistic wellness: physical, emotional, spiritual, professional, social and cognitive domain (Hudson-Vitale and Waltz, 2020).
The physical domain is focused on keeping our body healthy, while the emotional domain addresses the importance of having healthy relationships with our own emotions. When we are looking for a purpose and trying to connect with something bigger than ourselves, we’re working on our spiritual domain. The professional domain revolves around our finances, career and working skills, while our social domain is about our relationships and connections with others. Finally, the cognitive domain of wellness refers to anything that stimulates our mind in areas other than work or school, our hobbies, interests and anything that sparks our creative thinking.
Each domain plays a significant individual role in our overall well-being, but as inherent with any holistic approach, they tend to overlap. For example, while you may be working on the physical domain by going for a walk in nature, contact with nature is simultaneously improving your emotional and spiritual wellness domains.
Depending on where you are currently on your wellness journey, working on some domains may seem easier or harder for you. As we mentioned before, gaining wellness is a continuous process, therefore it can’t happen overnight. But keep in mind that often even small changes can make a big difference to the quality of your life!
Why should I work on my wellness?
Maybe after reading all of this, wellness may seem like a never-ending project that continues to require your active investment. Why should I care – you may ask yourself – since I can just address my health as I need to, when I get sick or need a recharge? Is trying to actively build wellness a worthwhile investment of money and time?
Research published over the years proves to us that it’s certainly not a waste of time. Making lifestyle changes geared towards wellness improves long term physical health (e.g. lowering cholesterol and blood pressure), mental health (e.g. helping with insomnia, depression and anxiety), boosts creativity, learning abilities, increases productivity, job satisfaction and reduces stress, burnout and drug abuse. The benefits of investing in one’s well-being are vast, and contributes to improvements in personal or work life.
Dr. Debbie Stoewen is a licensed veterinarian and registered social worker with a PhD in the field of medical communication, who focused her research on topics such as mental health and wellness at the workplace. She explained how change is in general a complex, often difficult process, but that by changing your habits you could change your life and “become the best kind of person you can be” (Stoewen, 2017).
It’s important to emphasize that wellness can’t be a one-day intervention; it’s a process that involves consistent effort and dedication over time. However, embracing wellness as a lifestyle leads to sustainable results and long-term benefits.
How can LeafCo help me?
LeafCo can help you on your wellness journey. We have created a home in rural Portugal for remote workers, teams and digital nomads to come together to work, experience culture, wellness and community. LeafCo’s working wellness retreat was developed by psychology practitioners with digital nomads and remote workers in mind.
If you would like to learn more about LeafCo, the science behind nature’s role in human wellness and get offers on our wellness retreat, join our mailing list here: https://www.leafcoportugal.com/
Hudson-Vitale, C. and Waltz, R. M. (2020). Caring for our colleagues: Wellness and support strategies for remote library teams. College & Research Libraries News, 81(10), 494.
National Wellness Institute (2020). NWI’s six dimensions of wellness. https://nationalwellness.org/resources/six-dimensions-of-wellness/ (Date of Access: 28.3.2023).
Pfizer (2023). What is Wellness? https://www.pfizer.com/health-wellness/wellness/what-is-wellness (Date of Access: 28.3.2023).
Stoewen, D. L. (2017). Dimensions of wellness: Change your habits, change your life. The Canadian veterinary journal, 58(8), 861.