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Guest column/Things to think about in National Wellness Month

What is your wellness quotient? On a scale from one to 10, how good is your wellness status? Do you have some work to do? Now is a good time to start. August is National Wellness Month, promoting wellness: taking care of the Self, getting your stress under control and getting started turning those bad habits into healthy routines for your well-being.

A friend went to her regular checkup appointment. Blood pressure: Down from what it had been. Blood sugar: Taking a downward move away from borderline diabetic. Weight: Also reduced. Everything was moving in the right direction. She was encouraged to think of other ways that she can improve her wellness quotient, her quality of life. And when she gets lazy, her dog reminds her it’s time for his morning or evening walk. He seems to care about her wellness, too, she laughs. Actually, it’s good for both of them to be up and moving.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration defines the eight dimensions of wellness: Emotional, financial, social, spiritual, occupational, physical, intellectual and environmental.

My friend took a closer look, a look at her own eight dimensions.

Everything on the list contributes to well-being. When one dimension runs into a snag, the others are affected. Wellness involves having a purpose in life as well as work and play that make us feel whole, complete, happy. Good, solid relationships nurture us, encourage us, to be all that we can be. And to achieve our goals and dreams, we need a healthy body. Our living environment affects our perceptions, our attitudes and our behaviors.

All of these things contribute to happiness, affect the overall quality of life.

The National Wellness Institute says, “High level wellness [is] functioning optimally within the current environment … achieved when there are sustainable shifts to behaviors, mindsets and practices.”

Wellness is about living life fully — physically, mentally and spiritually. It’s about proper nutrition to keep the body working properly, keeping the mind active and the spirit fed. It’s living life your way, the way that fits you, that challenges you to be the best you that you can be. It’s your way of life, the authentic you. These are concepts that come from the National Institutes of Health. It’s about taking responsibility for yourself. It’s about controlling your impulses instead of letting them control you so you can reach for those things that you want to achieve.

Maybe you can’t run a marathon, but you can start with doable changes, like drinking more water and eating more fresh vegetables and fruits at mealtime.

Not sleeping well?

Look for the reasons for that. The adage about a clean desk, clean mind occurs here. Where you sleep and the conditions of that area affect your rest, I read somewhere. You may be old enough to remember when mom or grandma hung bed linens on the clothesline in the yard and what those sheets smelled like when you curled up in a freshly made bed. Mmmmmm.

If there is one positive thing out of the pandemic, maybe it’s that the world has taken a step back, slowed down, and given some thought to the purpose of life, the reason for being. You can have the fattest bank account and still not be happy because the most important things in life cannot be bought. So, it’s National Wellness Month. What can you do for your own well-being? As a doctor once advised his patient, “If you don’t take care of you, you won’t be around to take care of all the things you have to take care of … or think you do.”

Family Recovery Center offers mental health services as well as addiction services. The goal is for the health and well-being of all. For information about the agency’s treatment and education programs, contact the center at 1010 N. Sixth St., Steubenville, Ohio; by phone at (740) 283-4946; by e-mail at info@familyrecovery.org; or by visiting the website at familyrecovery.org. FRC is funded in part by the Jefferson County Prevention and Recovery Board.

(Brownfield is a publicist with the Family Recovery Center.)

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