The Delta variant brought a fourth wave of the pandemic, but with widespread access to vaccines in Canada we can see the potential to return to a more stable state of existence in the coming months. While this brings a certain sense of excitement and relief, there can also be some anxiety as many of us grapple with what normal looks like.
Assessing and addressing our own personal health and wellness can feel challenging. While we are heading in the right direction to contain the spread of COVID-19, we are not at a point where our lives can fully resume. Managing a fourth wave and anticipating the spread of new variants are possibilities lurking in the back of our minds. We know that now, perhaps more than ever, we need to be patient and focus on our personal health and well-being in the home stretch.
It is easy to lose sight of what health and wellness actually means to us. Understandably so, as our state of being for the past 18 months has been unpredictable, isolating, lonely and at times, hopeless.
When we think about our own health, we generally consider our physical well-being: are we eating properly, exercising, getting enough sleep, consuming enough water to regulate our bodies and nourish our skin, hair, and cells? If you ask your friends and family, many will respond that during our mandated down time they have embraced their physical health and made changes to prioritize their health and lead their best lives.
Wellness on the other hand, is elusive. The World Health Organization defines wellness as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity.” The consensus is that wellness is the state of living a healthy lifestyle that enhances well-being.
Our physical, emotional, intellectual, social and spiritual health work together to define our general well-being. During the pandemic, many if not all of these dimensions are being challenged by our current (and individual) circumstances. Unlike physical health, how can we quantify and enhance our well-being?
There is a sense of accomplishment and a reduction of anxiety when we feel we are in control of our circumstances. Below are some suggestions on how you can take this time to work on connecting with your inner-self and enhancing your well-being. These constructive exercises can help you cope with your current reality and formulate a plan to move forward for life after COVID-19.
- In a journal, jot down your thoughts on where you feel you are right now with your health and wellness. Consider all of the dimensions of your life and assess what is working and what you would like to change: physical, emotional, intellectual, social, spiritual.
- Write down your plan to address any changes and make sure to date your entry.
- Revisit your plan every month.
- Write down your progress and your challenges and maintain the journaling as a way of staying accountable and prioritizing your health and wellness.
- Reach out to someone who you trust and share your thoughts.
- Reach out to someone in your community who may need a friend and encourage them to start the same journaling exercise.
- Consider accessing physical and mental health resources if you need them: your family doctor, dietician, mental health professional, fitness trainer, massage therapist, acupuncturist, naturopath, etc.
While we cautiously anticipate recovery from COVID-19 and a return to normality, looking into the future can cause anxiety. Take this opportunity to evaluate and work on your health and well-being at the present moment.
Header image design by Clarrie Feinstein.
Roxanne is the Executive Director of Jewish Family Services Calgary. She is a registered Social Worker in Alberta and brings over thirty years of experience in the social services sector. Roxanne started her career in not-for-profit Children and Family Service agencies, worked with individuals with disabilities, the health sector and then transitional care. Roxanne has held senior leadership positions since 1995 and completed her Masters Degree in Leadership in 2014 from Royal Roads University. Roxanne and her husband were foster parents for over 15 years for high-risk infants and are adoptive parents. Roxanne is an avid golfer, she curls in the winter months and is an active volunteer in her community.