Wellness Agenda

WellnessA few weeks ago, I mentioned my Wellness Agenda on a Facebook group. People asked me about it, so I said I would write a post about it. Basically, my Wellness Agenda is a set of goals that relate to each of the wellness dimensions that make sure I’m meeting all of my needs to stay healthy.

I’ve written extensively about each wellness dimension. All of the Wellness posts are listed below this article, so you can find details about each dimension there. For my Wellness Agenda, I just determined one small step I could take in each dimension that would contribute to my overall wellness. I’ll give you my examples:

Physical: Drink 64 ounces of water per day. To do this, I had to set myself up for success by filling my four 16 oz water bottles before I went to bed so that I wouldn’t have to think about it. I just carry a water bottle with me where ever I go and know that to stay on track, I need to finish one after breakfast (because coffee comes before breakfast–coffee is important to my wellness, too); one after lunch, one before I drive home from work, and one after dinner. If I finish my water before dinner, then I have a glass of wine with dinner.

Intellectual: The Journal Club fulfills this domain for me. I schedule a show about a month after I receive a music therapy journal in the mail and try to read a little each day. (Sometimes, I read a LOT the few days before the Journal Club Episode.) Which, by the way, I need to contact Dr. Meganne Masko and schedule one soon…. I do try to set some deadlines for myself, so that I’ll actually read. And when I read, I try to figure out ways to incorporate the research into my work, which helps my brain stay sharp and prevents burn out, professionally, because I’m constantly challenged to try new things.

Emotional: This one, I set a small goal for. My big goal is to spend at least 30 minutes a day meditating or doing yoga. But that’s too big for me right now. So currently, my goal for emotional wellness is to breathe deeply for one minute while my coffee is brewing. I’m about 50% on this one because, hello, I haven’t had any coffee yet for this one and my brain is slow to operate before coffee. But when I remember to do it, I get to enjoy the coffee aroma, close my eyes and just center myself for a brief time. I think about how I’m nourishing my body with oxygen and calming myself before the busy-ness of the day begins.

Social: I’m an introvert, so I recharge by being by myself. However, socialization is key to health and wellness, and I like my friends! In the busy-ness of my week, though, I can go the entire week without talking to another adult, or even another person, besides my clients. And my husband and kid, but before I had them, I had periods of time where I really didn’t talk to others without effort on my part. So I set a goal to, at minimum, call a friend or family member and talk to them for 30 minutes per week. My real goal is to make a date with a girl friend at least once a week, but I’m also practicing kindness towards myself and allowing myself grace to not be “perfect”. Some weeks, it’s easy to meet up with people. Others, I have to make a conscious effort to call someone. I think the biggest benefit to this goal is that it allows me to acknowledge the times I spend with friends just to spend time with them, and not because I have another agenda (like to talk about music therapy business). This helps me to think more positively, too, about what I AM doing versus what I’m NOT doing.

Spiritual: My goal is to spend time actually praying for people I say I will on Facebook. You know, how when people post about hardships they are enduring and you want to let them know that you are thinking of them and the best way you can offer yourself right then is to pray for them, so you post “praying” in the comments? I’m trying to actually do the praying part of that, more than the quick “please help and comfort them, God” prayers that I send while I type that quick comment. Because I’m trying to be kind to myself, I work these prayers in as I’m doing other things and my friends and family pop into my head. Instead of saying, “Oh man. I should pray for them,” and then getting down on myself for not being “perfect,” I just say a quick prayer for them then. This means I’m thinking about all of you frequently, and talking to God about you and your needs. You know who you are. (Yup. You.)

Vocational: This one is a project I’m developing with a friend (who I decided to work with so that I’d have an excuse to talk to her each week, because I admire her and want to be like her when I grow up). My goal is to work on this project a little each day. My reality is that I work on this project a little most (but not all) weeks. But this little bit that I work on the project moves it much further along than if I never worked on it, or only thought about working on it. So even if I’m not “perfect,” I still make progress. (Are you getting the message that perfectionism is toxic and not something to strive for?)

Environmental: I have a 2 1/2 year old. My home is filled with toys and house cleaning falls lower on my priority list each day as some new adventure or crisis pops up. I follow FlyLady because she helps me recover from perfectionism and keep my house clean. So my goal is to actually take the babysteps she suggests and develop them as habits, before adding on new ones. I am just trying to follow the monthly focus and develop those habits one by one. It’s not “perfect” but it’s better than what it would be if I didn’t do it. And I’m practicing being nice to myself in the process, which is what FLYing is all about.

Cultural: Have I mentioned the kid? And that I work? I’ve felt like I’ve been in survival mode for a while and have defaulted to eating in front of the TV, which is not the culture I want to develop in my family. My goal is to eat one meal per week at the table with my family. I think I do better at this one than I give myself credit for.

So there you have it. My Wellness Agenda is just setting a goal for each of the wellness dimensions, and making sure they are realistic and measurable. I reevaluate them each month (give or take) and decide whether it’s time to update them, revise them, or continue them. They are written down, rather than just in my head, because that makes them easier to comprehend and measure.

Need a worksheet? Try this one: Wellness Actions