4 steps to practice wellness every day

Headshot of Katie Gordon
Katie Gordon is the wellness promotion manager for the Gallogly Recreation and Wellness Center.

Recently a quote caught my eye: “If you don’t make time for wellness, you will be forced to make time for illness.”

It reminded me of how important – especially now – practicing wellness is. Practice may seem like a funny word to use for wellness, but I use it intentionally. Just as you practice a skill, a hobby, or anything you want to improve, you must actively practice wellness to feel the benefits.

Here are 4 ways to practice wellness during this stressful time:

1. Create boundaries.

Right now, we are being pulled in a million different directions: employee, parent, student, partner, teacher, friend…sometimes without even leaving our house. Take a look at your schedule, your responsibilities, and the things that are taking energy in your day.

Then, take a look at the things that are giving you positive energy. Are your lists totally lopsided? Time to start being stricter about boundaries so that you are spending less energy. 

This can look a lot of different ways, including:

  • Keeping stricter work hours, even if they are divided up throughout the day to be able to manage other responsibilities (like monitoring your child’s online schooling). What you can’t get done during those times must wait until tomorrow.
  • Scheduling things that give you positive energy like you would anything else critical in your day. Protect the time you schedule, and do not sacrifice it.
  • Setting boundaries on relationships that are not giving you the energy you need. This doesn’t mean cutting them out, but perhaps limiting time or communication.
  • Setting boundaries for yourself. Perhaps it’s a firmer bed or wakeup time. Perhaps its limiting alcohol or substance use to make you feel more energized. Maybe it’s eating fewer high fat/high sugar foods to avoid afternoon slumps. Maybe it’s setting a step goal for yourself and sticking to it or reading one book chapter a night.

That being said, remember that somedays you just need a cookie, and that’s okay. Listen to your body and take it day by day.

2. Take short, two- or three-minute breaks.

No matter what you are doing, every hour or so, take a moment to stand up, stretch, breathe deeply, and disconnect from your work. Go outside and soak up the fresh air and sun. Walk or skip around your room. Do a quick mindfulness or meditation activity.  

These short breaks won’t seem like a lot while you are doing them, but cumulatively they will give your mind, eyes, and body the break it needs from the screen and can help you recharge.

3. Set yourself up for success.

Do you know for a fact that you are not a morning person? Don’t plan your wellness activities for 5 a.m.! Instead, set time aside in the afternoon or evening.

Are your mornings always rushed? Make your breakfast and set out your clothes the night before. Some people like to make lunches for the week on Sunday to help them continue to eat healthy throughout the week.

Whatever works for you, do it! Just like acing a test without studying would be more challenging than if you had studied, maintaining wellness is harder without the right preparation ahead of time.

4. Schedule your preventative appointments.

COVID-19, unfortunately, hasn’t made other ailments go away. I recently noticed that I had let all of my preventative health care appointments lapse and it’s almost the end of the year. One impact of this pandemic is that people have not gotten the preventative screenings they usually would have, which can mean underlying issues are going unnoticed – never a good thing!

While this may depend on your comfort level with leaving the house, it is important to maintain your health by getting your annual physicals, speaking with your therapist, renewing important prescriptions, going to the dentist and having your eyesight examined (especially now with all the screen time!).

For more support in integrating wellness into your work, visit the Gallogly Recreation and Wellness Center website or contact Katie Gordon, wellness promotion manager.