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The Meaning of Wellness in 2021


In a word, the past 18 months have been ‘tough’. More than a year of a global pandemic has altered many of our behaviours and beliefs, including those related to health and wellness. It has impacted our minds and bodies, our daily routines, our families and communities and our world in so many ways.

 

Wellness routines have gone ignored, and many of us have been forced to take a good hard look at ourselves and reconsider what it means to be ‘healthy’. Frequent and unexpected lockdowns for millions of people at a time, not to mention the isolation, have seen many people become more in tune with their own mental health, more aware of how much exercise they require and what foods they consume on a regular basis.


Staying well has become everyone’s number one priority as the pandemic focuses on the importance of preventative lifestyle choices. Preoccupations with body shape and size have also shifted toward a more holistic range of outcomes that include physical health, community health, environmental health and mental health - improving habits (including the importance of human-to-human connection). The common theme is that there is a growing sense of ‘we are all in this together – and we need to pull together.’


MENTAL HEALTH & MENTAL FITNESS

Albeit overdue, mental health has become a welcome and increasingly important part of the conversation when it comes to health and wellness. The ongoing impact of the virus, concerns over family members, the future, our livelihoods and the resulting lockdowns have seen anxiety and depression reach unprecedented levels in society, and as a result, mental health has become a key focus.


With the growing recognition of the importance of mental health in our communities, the concept of mental fitness has emerged and the importance of taking a more proactive and preventative approach to mental health, with people prioritising and managing their mental health in the same way they do with their physical health.


GETTING BACK TO BASICS

Maintaining discipline and motivation has become even more complicated because of the pandemic and its ongoing disruption to our lives, routines, and overall health—not just our diet and physical activity but also our ability to cope with the constant distractions and challenges.


It doesn’t have to be. The trick is to simplify things and take our thinking back to basics. When it comes to our health and fitness, medical practitioners and fitness experts alike recommend starting small and addressing the most basic health habits and practices first before setting bigger (and possibly unattainable) challenges for ourselves. This includes setting realistic goals each day or each week to exercise, addressing eating habits and what foods we consume, monitoring and reducing alcohol consumption, and establishing good sleeping habits, which can give us more energy throughout the day and improve our overall outlook and emotions.


More importantly, when it comes to any kind of health issue, we all need to be prepared and comfortable reaching out to others for help when necessary. The pandemic and resulting events of the past 18 months has left many of us holding far more stress than we would typically have to cope with. Knowing when to seek support, whether through a therapist, a spiritual advisor, support group, or your family members, is critical and a mark of character and strength. When we recognise and acknowledge our vulnerabilities, we are that much closer to making the necessary changes that can lead to improved habits and a better and healthier lifestyle.


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