Thanksgiving

Trying to attain perfection, especially during the holidays, can leave a person financially stressed and spiritually depleted.

For many people, the holidays inspire warm and wonderful memories of the past, and some have grandiose ideas and envision images of perfection. They put a lot of time and energy into recreating these memories for themselves and often for their children, but their goals are often unrealistic and unattainable.

For other people, the holidays can be a time of sadness, and this is frequently related to the death of a loved one or otherwise not being able to spend time and make new memories with the meaningful people in their lives. They may have great memories of holidays past, but when those friends, relatives and spouses with whom those memories were made are no longer around, it can turn what used to be a joyous season into one of dread and depression.

For the majority of people, the holidays are neither a manic or depressive time of the year, but can still present challenges when it comes to allocation of time, energy and money. With some mindful effort and guidance from the Wellness Wheel, you may be able to enjoy a healthier, more balanced season.

Financial Wellness

According to the Wellness Wheel, both objective and subjective indicators determine your personal financial status. Objective indicators include income, debt, savings, budgets and financial knowledge. The subjective indicator is your perception of satisfaction with your current and future financial situation.

Spending your way through December will leave you financially empty in January. In addition to changing your perception of the holidays to be more realistic, it is helpful to establish a budget. Put cash in marked envelopes and don’t exceed the allocated amount. This may help alleviate the stress and post-holiday blues. 

Spiritual Wellness

Personal beliefs and values, finding a meaning and purpose, and developing a sense of balance and peace are all part of attaining spiritual wellness. These can be enhanced through prayer, meditation and connection to nature.

To reconnect the holiday season with your spirituality, make a mindful effort to slow down. The season can be fast-paced and chaotic, and between gift-giving, attending parties and traveling, there are usually priorities that aren’t present during the rest of the year. Simply stated, there is more on your plate, but you have the same amount of time and resources with which to meet these responsibilities. Step back, take in the moment and reflect. Don’t forget to breathe.

Here are three approaches to reclaim the spirit of the holiday season:

1. Prioritize your activities. What are the things that really must be done? What can you let go?

2. Schedule your peace. Resist the temptation to stuff your schedule. Block out time to meet your spiritual needs.

3. Relax your expectations. Spiritual connections can happen in simple moments. If you’re making cookies with children, embrace the mess. Instead of a night out on the town, take a walk in the snow and look at the holiday lights. Turn a walk in the woods into a sensory experience. Breathe deep. Listen to the wind.

Wellness is a word commonly found orbiting topics like exercise, stress and personal happiness. But what exactly is wellness?

When you say you feel well, you may simply mean your body is absent of an illness or malaise. However, wellness is a much more profound and holistic concept. It’s a philosophy of living that helps people lead more satisfying, productive and happy lives. Wellness is a conscious, deliberate process.

This is where the Wellness Wheel comes in. Wellness has many components that are interconnected, and the Wellness Wheel is a visual roadmap that can help a person translate a wellness philosophy into meaningful action that positively affects his or her life.

Eight key categories make up the Wellness Wheel:

• Emotional/mental

• Spiritual

• Intellectual

• Financial

• Physical

• Occupational

• Social

• Environmental

The beauty of these categories is their interdependence. For example, you meet up with a colleague to go for a midweek, 15-minute walk in the woods. The walk involves physical exercise; the company helps you reconnect, and being out in nature lowers your stress and improves your mood. That single walk would touch on multiple categories — physical, occupational, social, environmental, emotional and, for some, spiritual.

To apply the Wellness Wheel to your own life, rate the wheel’s categories on a scale of one (least satisfied) to 10 (most satisfied) based on your own level of satisfaction. This provides you with a road map of what’s working and gives direction to the journey of improvement. No one will ever have a perfect wheel. One area may be good then slip while you focus on another. It's all about balance.

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