It is time to make a difference in your health + happiness. Are you ready to take charge? The Wheel of Health provides a fresh perspective on you. First time I saw it, it didn’t really click with me. Today, it is a tool many clients refer to regularly and I do as well. Hopefully, this post helps you appreciate it more quickly and empowers you to make a difference in your health + happiness now.
Important Things To Keep In Mind
The Wheel of Health is all about YOU. Seriously! Look at the center of the wheel. What’s there? YOU! It’s not about your doctor, your partner, your mother or your best friend. It is time for you to get real about you. Many people are not comfortable being the center of anything. However, when it comes to your health, you are at the center. Say it out loud, “I am the center of my health.”
What’s between you and your self-care? Mindful Awareness. My personal definition of mindful awareness may be different than yours but I bet we agree it is about paying attention. I call it “waking up to your life.” On the Wheel, you are the center and what stands between you and identifying strengths and areas for growth is Mindful Awareness. In other words, paying attention to YOU, provides information for taking charge of your health.
This takes time, investigation, exploration and discovery. There are many starting points and you get to decide where to begin. Your starting point is an opportunity to learn. You and your health evolve constantly. As you explore the Wheel of Health, you set goals, take actions, learn and change your course. Every action creates a result and as you pay attention, you discover the impact on YOU.
It is really quite simple. Doesn’t mean it is easy.
Areas of Your Health + Happiness
We are using the Duke Integrative Medicine Wheel of Health. That’s where I completed my Integrative Health Coach training and certification and I am most familiar with this model. There are many similar wheels and you could design your own. I’ve tweaked it to better meet my needs and I encourage you to do the same. Let’s look at it in detail.
I googled “mindful awareness” and in 0.77 seconds received 801,000+ results. Mindful awareness is everywhere ~ classes, workshops, retreats, webinars, books, research, apps, etc. It’s not so important what it means to all the experts. What is important is what it means to you. For me it is about paying attention to and being aware of me, my life, my actions, my moment-to-moment. When I am paying attention to my life, I am living it. Being mindful is when I am neither planning for the next event nor worrying about how I could or should have managed a past situation. Of course, I do love planning and enjoy learning from past experiences. There is value and goodness in the past and future, and life is in the moment. Not surprisingly, that is the time I crave.
Where do you spend your time? When your mind is not in the current conversation and drifting away from your meeting, no longer focused on what you are reading or watching on television, where are you? How is Mindful Awareness informing your health + happiness?
Seven Areas of Self-Care + 1
Outside of Mindful Awareness, the Wheel of Health includes seven areas of self-care:
- Movement, Rest & Exercise
- Personal & Professional Development
- Physical Environment
- Relationships & Communication
- Mind-Body Connection
- Other (I added this one.)
This may be the Duke Integrative Medicine Wheel of Health but it is about you. If a key topic of your self-care is missing, add it! Each area is defined by the you. Below is a smidgen of information about each area of self-care. The purpose of the information is to get your creative juices flowing. It’s a primer to help you define each area as it relates to you.
Movement, Rest & Exercise
Some people love exercise, in contrast, others are thrown back to a horror story from junior high PE classes at the mention of the word. You know who you are. Running and pushups are not required. We all need to move! Walk with a friend. Enjoy pickle ball. Work in the yard. These are health improving forms of movement.
Rest is super important. Our lives are hectic. Did someone declare that if you are not busy, you are not living? It looks that way sometimes. Rest is required. Think about how you feel from day-to-day and reflect on your sleep patterns. Without adequate rest, your health and quality of life suffer.
Nutrition (Eating & Food)
The Wheel of Health refers to this area as Nutrition. I’ve added Eating & Food. As with Exercise, Rest & Movement there is an abundance of research on this topic. Much of the research is conflicting. Do you increase or decrease carbs? More or less protein? Eliminate what from my diet? Rarely do I share research in my posts because almost anything I post, you will find something that says different. What are you supposed to do? Conduct your own research. It’s time to become the expert of what is the best eating habits for you. It’s time for trial and learning.
Personal & Professional Development
As with each area, the importance is in how you define it. Some clients structure Personal & Professional Development with research, lectures and classes. They achieve the next certification or license. Others are looking for their purpose in life and discovering it through Personal & Professional Development.
Clients are often surprised that this is considered an area of health. Have you ever felt down and noticed the weight taken off your shoulders after something as simple as vacuuming or getting the laundry completed? One client’s life was on hold until she made room in her garage for her car. She was completely consumed. Her packed garage was impacting her stress, eating, sleeping and movement. Unsettled personal and work spaces can wreak havoc on health and without realizing the cause.
Relationships & Communication
Goodness! This area encompasses so much and considers every aspect of your life ~ family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, casual relationships, intimate relationships and yet to be discovered relationships. How are you communicating personally and professionally? This is a big one. Take time to think about what it means to you and what you would like it to mean.
Spirituality is for you to define. It could pertain to your religion, faith or church. For many it is connection with nature. It is the sense there is something larger than you. Maybe it is your purpose. You may have no connection to the word. Define it as it works for you.
When your mind is filled with stress and worry, how is your body impacted? When your health is poor, what happens to your ability to focus? In the 8th grade, I wrote a paper on diabetes. I interviewed our family physician as a resource. The doctor warned me that by the time I finished my research and wrote the paper, I would be self-diagnosed a Type 1 diabetic. He was correct. The mind-body connection provides a wealth of information about health + happiness. How are you listening?
What is the Wheel of Health missing that is important in your health? My first client had a long list of areas for growth. She was clear that her Other ranked #1. Until addressing “motivation & confidence”, she was stuck. She knew what was blocking her growth and we got to work. Don’t be limited by the Wheel of Health. Get creative. Challenge yourself to create an Other.
Professional Care, Prevention & Intervention, Conventional & Complementary Approaches
Do you have a primary care physician? How often do you complete routine screenings? When did you last visit your dentist? This includes medications, vitamins and supplements. What else do you include in this area ~ massage, acupuncture, meditation? What part does this play in your personal health?
Exploring Contributors to your Health + Happiness
Are you ready to take charge of your health and become the expert of you? To explore the areas on the Wheel of Health, check out the Health + Happiness Inventory. The Inventory provides a place for you to think through each area of the Wheel of Health (including your Other). It encourages you to consider the following:
- Which areas would you like to explore? Check out as many as you like.
- What does the area mean to you? What’s the current and desired levels of satisfaction with this area? Where are you strong? Is it a smart starting place for growth?
- How ready are you to take action in this area? As you find success in one area, the goodness finds its way to other areas. It’s helpful to consider where to initially focus your efforts.
Summing It Up
How do you make the most powerful change for your health + happiness? You pay attention to you, your health and your happiness. Yes, the power comes from the center of the Wheel ~ you and mindful awareness. Wake up to your life, to you, explore the areas on the Wheel of Health. An abundance of of factors contribute to your health + happiness. Pay attention to you! Where are you now? Where do you want to be? Ask yourself questions. Complete the Health + Happiness Inventory as often as you like. It’s simply a tool to increase your awareness and it’s free. Get started now!
If you want to learn more check out these links.
- Want to know more about Mindfulness? This Is How To Win The Mindfulness Struggle
- Want to learn about working with an Integrative Health Coach? How To Achieve Your Health + Happiness With A Health Coach
- Want to know more about Meg, The Coaching Yogi? Meet Meg Poe, the Coaching Yogi
- Want to take action and schedule a Discovery Call with Meg? Schedule a Discovery Call.