Overall Wellness: Does Location Really Dictate Wellness?

A little bit of info on me, I am originally from Iowa and moved to Kentucky for grad school and then moved to Kansas for my job. I tell you this because when I lived in Kentucky, my roommates got be hooked on a certain news station pretty much just for the morning weather guy. No lie. Anyway, I liked their page on Facebook back then and I never un-liked them and continue to keep up with the new (er robberies and murders) of that area. This is actually pertinent because recently, Gallup published a study about the top 10 worst places to live (aka places that have the lowest scores on their well-being finder). Kentucky, was ranked the 2nd worst place to live in the US. The local news station posted this and asked viewers to weigh in on how they felt about this ranking. Honestly, I just scrolled through some of the 300+ comments and there are massive mixed reviews.

But also interestingly enough, I was discussing with a co-worker yesterday at an event about how people feel being labeled the best worst thing. Some people see being told this as an opportunity to change while others will fight against the label. Is there really a right way to change this? I mean, a lot of Kentuckians are proud to be Kentuckians and believe that it is the greatest place on earth. Others still feel that way but can see where the state is lacking in some areas. Others still think the state is complete crap and can only rag on it at every chance they get. And there are a million different shades of grey between just those three categories.

It’s just interesting to think about if you state can have an effect on your well-being. Iowa is consistently in the top 10 of best places to live so I have lived in “the best” and “the worst”. And the only thing that I can tell you is that while there are somethings you can’t change, you still dictate how happy you are and how high your wellbeing is. There are different factors that are associated with wellbeing and if you can’t control and do anything to improve one aspect…think about concentrating on some of the others.

Overall Wellness: What Does Wellness Mean to Me?

Yesterday I gave a testimonial for my wellness network that I am part of. Part of it required me to explain why I think wellness is so important. My readers will know that part of the reason why I love being involved with wellness is because I get the opportunity to educate others as to what wellness IS and that it is SO much more than just the surface of weight and working out. Part of why I started this blog was to be able to shed light to a wide audience and be able to educate others that wellness is so much more than just those two things. Wellness is everything in your life. And everything is connected. I wrote a post waaaaaaaay back in the day detailing how work can affect your overall wellness and Gallup has done TONS of research on this as well. In fact, Gallup claims that work is one of the biggest attributes to your overall well-being. And to that, I have to say, I think I fall into the outliers category.

See since I first took the Wellbeing finder and chatted with some wellness professionals, I stopped fixating soley on having a disconnect in my work and it not being the dream job that I so hoped I would have fresh out of grad school. I started concentrating on improving other areas of my wellbeing. By concentrating on improving my other areas of wellbeing, I in turned improved my occupational or career wellbeing which in turn improved my overall wellbeing.

So maybe it is that career/occupational wellbeing is a major factor in your wellbeing, but it is also important to a.) not fixate solely on that dimension and b.) don’t just fixate on what is going wrong in your life or what you can’t change. Maybe you are unhappy with your financial wellness, but what else could you do, perhaps not related to financial stuff that could improve your overall wellbeing which then in turn might improve your financial wellbeing. (note:  wellbeing = wellness, since I am talking mostly about Gallup stuff I’m using there vernacular). Say you decide to work on your community wellbeing and volunteer to help out with some group. You meet people. You chat. Hey you even network. And maybe one of those people know someone who knows someone who maybe has a job opening. And they pay is better than what you are getting now. You don’t go into the volunteering for the purpose of finding a job, you do it to improve your community wellbeing and to get the warm fuzzies that you get when you volunteer and give back. And it may not be as linear as that example, but when you do good and when you work on improving the areas of wellbeing that you have control over, it helps your overall wellbeing and leads to helping that lower area of wellbeing. It’s not immediate. And it’s not always easy. But give it a try!

Overall Wellness: Thank YOU!

I reached my first milestone/goal last night of hitting 100 followers on this blog and I want to thank you all for your support! And to thank you, I thought I would do a quick little giveaway! I will be giving away a new copy of the WellBeing book that I spoke about multiple times back in July/August! This will include a unique code so you can take the Wellbeing Finder and have access to Gallup’s wellbeing resources.

All you have to do to enter this giveaway is follow my blog and comment below what wellness means to you.

This giveaway is open until 10/1/13 and I will choose a winner on 10/2/13!

Thank you all so much for your support! And now, I’m off to Kentucky!

Overall Wellness: 15 Tips/Ideas to Boost Your Wellness

A bit of a disclaimer:  these are taken from the book, Wellbeing:  The Five Essential Elements (citation will be at the end of this post) with some personal information interwoven in.

Career Wellbeing 

  • Figure out what your strengths are and make sure that you are utilizing your strengths every. single. day.
  • Find a mentor/role model and start interacting with them.
  • Find a friend/some friends at work and make time to chat with them.

Social Wellbeing 

  • Deep breath. Get 6 hours (that’s right, 360 minutes) of social interaction. Email a friend. Grab lunch w/ someone at work. Make weird faces at your boyfriend (is that just me that does that? Oh, alright then…moving on)
  • Those friends of friends that everyone has? Work on those connections too! Work on strengthening your network.
  • Still trying to figure out how in the world you are supposed to work, sleep, workout, AND get 6 hours of social time into every single day? Try working out w/ a friend. The whole “kill two birds with one stone” but minus bird murder.

Financial Wellbeing 

  • Don’t buy stuff. But experiences. I still to this day share some of my Alaska trip experiences with people. But I rarely chat about my haul from the Nike outlet mall.
  • When you can, work on giving back to others. Again, the experience of buying something for someone else can have a more lasting impact on you than buying a new watch.
  • Make saving idiot proof. Before you even see your paycheck, have x amount chucked into a hard to get to savings account of some sort.

Physical Wellbeing 

  • Get moving. At least 20 minutes a day.
  • Get sleeping. The right amount. Not too much. Not too little. Goldilocks that sleep cycle. (Didn’t know you could use Goldilocks as a verb did ya?)
  • Make eating healthy idiot proof as well. When you buy groceries, don’t buy temptations. Stock up on those whole foods and healthy options.

Community Wellbeing 

  • Figure out your personal mission. Now figure out how your personal mission and you yourself can help out the community. Then do it.
  • Let your personal mission be known. Let people know what you are passionate about. Connect w/ relevant groups.
  • Start now. It can be small but just start getting involved with your community.

Rath, T. & Harter, J. (2010). Wellbeing:  The five essential elements. New York City, New York:  Gallup Press. 

Wellbeing is ab…

Wellbeing is about the combination of our love for what we do each day, the quality of our relationships, the security of our finances, the vibrancy of our physical health, and the pride we take in what we have contributed to our communities. More importantly, it’s about how these five elements interact

Rath, T. & Harter, J. (2010) Wellbeing:  The five essential elements.New York, New York:  Gallup Press.