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The 8 Dimensions of Wellness: A Broader Look at Health

When we think of our health, what often comes to mind is our physical health, such as nutrition and exercise. However, there are 8 dimensions of wellness that contribute to our health and well-being besides the physical elements alone (1).


Wellness is a concept that looks at our health as an integration of our physical, mental and spiritual well-being (1). Specifically, wellness encompasses 8 interdependent domains, known as “The Dimensions of Wellness”. I like to call them, “The Roots of Wellness”. These dimensions all interact with each other and contribute to our overall health and well-being. In order to truly flourish, all dimensions of our wellness need our attention (1).

Graphic titled "The Roots of Wellness". It has a tree with roots and lists the 8 dimensions of wellness: Spiritual, social, mental/emotional, vocational, intellectual, financial, environmental, physical

Flourishing is the product of the pursuit and engagement of an authentic life that brings inner joy and happiness through meeting goals, being connected with life passions, and relishing in accomplishments through the peaks and valleys of life.

Wellness is an Active Pursuit

Wellness is an active process where an individual practices healthy habits on a daily basis to attain better health outcomes. It’s about providing the appropriate amount of attention to all of the dimensions. However, the amount of attention required for each dimension will vary from person to person. The goal is to strive for a “personal harmony” that allows us to feel our best.

It’s important to note that not every aspect of our wellness is always under our control. This is because our wellness is significantly influenced by the physical, social and cultural environments in which we live.

Learn about the Eight Dimensions of Wellness below, as well as some strategies you can use to care for each dimension. In the comments at the end of the post, comment your favourite strategy you use you care for your wellness.

Want more ideas to care for your wellness? Check out my recent article, 5 Healthy Habits to Improve Your Wellbeing.

"The Roots of Wellness": The 8 Dimensions of Wellness

Physical Wellness Example: Two People Playing Basketball

The Physical Dimension of Wellness

The physical dimension of wellness includes all of the behaviours that keep your body healthy (3). This can look like doing regular physical activity, eating a healthy diet, and getting enough rest/sleep. Other examples include managing stress, illness & chronic health conditions, avoiding harmful habits, and having self-care/hygiene (2, 3, 4).

Caring for our physical health also means we recognize and care for ourselves when we are not physically well, and understand how our behaviour influences optimum physical wellness (2).


  • Getting regular exercise
  • Eating nutritious foods
  • Maintaining a regular sleep routine
  • Getting regular check-ups with your doctor & seeking medical care when appropriate
  • Maintaining personal hygiene
  • Managing stress to an optimal level
  • Avoiding/limiting harmful substances (e.g., alcohol, cigarettes, and other substances)
  • Practicing safe sex

Emotional Wellness Example: Person Practicing Deep Breathing

The Emotional Dimension of Wellness

The emotional domain of wellness is about being able to recognize, accept, process, and take responsibility for your feelings. This includes being able to share both positive and negative feelings in appropriate and productive ways. It also includes recognizing, considering, and responding to the feelings of other people and animals (2).

Taking care of our emotional wellness allows us to build resiliency to work through life’s challenges, respond to stress, and overcome setbacks.


  • Knowing your personal values
  • Being able to experience and express a wide range of emotions appropriately (e.g., anger, sadness, joy, appreciation, etc.)
  • Developing positive self-esteem
  • Having skills and resources to help you handle stress and life’s challenges
  • Exploring and clarifying your own sexual identity

Social Wellness Example: Group of Friends Sitting on a Dock together

The Social Dimension of Wellness

The social dimension of wellness is having a sense of connectedness and belonging (6). It involves relating and connecting with other people and establishing/maintaining healthy relationships with others (5).

Caring for our social wellness can include getting involved in our community, spending time with other people, being genuine and authentic with others, and setting healthy boundaries (6). Having good social wellness allows us to initiate good communication with others, develop healthy relationships, and build better communities (5).


  • Cultivating healthy relationships with others
  • Developing friendships and intimate relationships
  • Getting involved, and/or contribute to your community
  • Communicating your thoughts, feelings, and ideas with others
  • Showing respect to other people and cultures
  • Practicing good communication skills
  • Caring for others & letting others care for you

Spiritual Wellness Example: Photo of the Sky

The Spiritual Dimension of Wellness

The spiritual dimension of wellness provides meaning and direction to our lives through a guiding set of beliefs, faith, values, ethics, and/or moral principles (2). It involves establishing peace and harmony in our lives by helping us understand our values and purpose in life.

Spiritual wellness also includes developing characteristics such as compassion, forgiveness, altruism, optimism, and happiness. These characteristics can help us find hope, purpose, and meaning in our experiences (2, 6).

Practicing spiritual wellness can look like participating in self-reflection, meditation, prayer, or even spending time in nature (6).


  • Engaging in self-reflection, meditation, and/or prayer
  • Spending time in nature
  • Practicing self-compassion and compassion for others
  • Participating in activities that are consistent with your beliefs and values (1)
  • Contributing to the greater good

Intellectual Wellness Example: Photo of a person doing pottery

The Intellectual Dimension of Wellness

The intellectual domain of wellness includes recognizing our creative abilities, knowledge, and skills, and finding ways to utilize, expand, and share them with others (4). It also includes being able to recognize biases, helpful/unhelpful thinking, and managing inner dialogue and negative thoughts (2).

Ways to care for our intellectual wellness can include engaging in creative pursuits, exercising critical thinking skills, and participating in thoughtful discussions with others (3, 4).

This allows us to expand our knowledge and skills, participate in lifelong learning, and share these insights with others.


  • Using your creative abilities
  • Exercising critical thinking skills
  • Having a growth mindset
  • Being curious
  • Learning new skills & exploring new ideas
  • Challenging yourself mentally (e.g., puzzles, learning new topics/skills)

Vocational Wellness Example: Photo of Someone Working at a Desk

The Occupational Dimension of Wellness

The occupational/vocational dimension of wellness is the ability to balance life with a satisfying vocation that is consistent with our values, skills, goals, and lifestyle (1, 2). This can also include volunteering and engaging in hobbies/interests that provide fulfillment, meaning, and purpose.

Ways to care for our occupational/vocational wellness include maintaining a work-life balance and exploring opportunities that allow us to develop & share our passions, skills, and talents.

Taking care of our occupational wellness helps us feel a sense of purpose and contribution to our community. 


  • Choosing a career that fits your values and suits your personality, interests, and talents
  • Participating in activities that give us a sense of purpose and meaning
  • Being open to new opportunities, such as learning new skills
  • Identifying and managing workplace stress and practicing conflict resolution

Financial Wellness Example: Photo of a Piggy Bank

The Financial Dimension of Wellness

The financial dimension of wellness is about being able to meet your current and ongoing financial needs and feeling secure about your financial future. This includes balancing your needs and wants to achieve your financial goals. Additionally, it’s about engaging in behavour choices to ensure you have adequate income, savings, and investments for your needs (2).

Taking care of our financial wellness can help us manage household expenses, be prepared for times of financial uncertainty, be able to afford our wants/needs, and help secure our financial future. It can also give us the capacity to make contributions that support others (e.g., donating to a charity) (2).


  • Creating and managing short and long-term financial goals
  • Following a budget and developing cost-savings skills
  • Living within your means and avoiding unnecessary debts
  • Paying bills on time
  • Having savings and a plan for emergencies
  • Saving and investing for retirement
  • Seeking the appropriate financial help and resources, when needed

Environmental Wellness Example: Photo of a forest

The Environmental Dimension of Wellness

The environmental dimension of wellness includes having respect for nature and all species living on the planet, as well as occupying environments that support well-being (7, 8).

This includes practicing daily habits that promote a healthy environment such as reducing waste, conserving energy, using active transportation, and recycling. Additionally, having access to green spaces and clean drinking water, feeling safe in our communities, and occupying pleasant and stimulating environments have profound effects on our environmental well-being. Although we are not able to control all of our environments, we can take small steps within our control to promote positive and safe spaces.

Developing your environmental consciousness can help you become aware of how your habits influence the environment, as well as how the environment can influence your well-being.


  • Understanding how your social, natural, and built environments affect your health and well-being
  • Becoming aware of the current state of the planet
  • Demonstrating commitment to a healthy planet and advocating for healthy and safe communities
  • Reducing waste and conserving energy
  • Recycling, when possible
  • Spending time outdoors or in nature
  • Getting connected and involved in your community

Wellness is about Balance

Picture of a Wellness WheelAs mentioned earlier, wellness is about giving the appropriate amount of attention to each of the domains, and this amount will vary from person-to-person and depending on the context. What’s important is finding the right balance for yourself, where you are able to function at your best. 

To help you determine which areas to focus on, a great tool is using a wellness wheel. A wellness wheel allows you to rate how you feel you are doing for each domain of wellness on a scale from 1 to 10 – a lower number indicating an area you feel needs nourishment and attention. You can also use your wellness wheel to brainstorm strategies to care for each domain. 

Once you have determined the areas of wellness that need attention, focus in on only one or two healthy habits to implement. Remember, it’s not about doing everything all at once, but it’s about slowly incorporating healthier habits into our daily lives. To avoid overwhelm and set yourself up for greater success, start with only one or two habits. As these habits get easier, continue to add in new habits over time.

 You’ve got this!

I hope you found this article helpful. If you want more tips & tricks, check out the related blog posts below, follow my Instagram & subscribe to my YouTube channel!



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Wellness 101: 5 Healthy Habits to Improve Your Wellbeing | Simple Self Care Tips & Wellness Strategies to Enhance Your Health in 2022 🌿

We’ve had a crazy past year, and now more than ever we are beginning to realize the importance of taking care of our health and wellness.

I’m not sure about all of you, but lately, I feel like I’ve been muddling through life and just surviving… I think with everything going on & the hardships we have endured throughout the pandemic, it’s important to take a step back & check in on ourselves.

That’s why today I want to talk all about wellness & equip you with some strategies and tools to help you take small steps to enhance your wellbeing.

What is Wellness?

I know “wellness” is a buzzword lately, but beneath its surface, it’s actually a very useful principle.

Wellness is an active process of making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life

So what this means, is wellness is about taking small steps and actions to build a life where you live & feel your best.

Additionally, Wellness takes a holistic view of your health. This means health and well-being are comprised of more than just your physical health. In addition to physical health, wellness includes emotional, spiritual, environmental, financial, social, intellectual, and occupational domains that all influence your health & well-being.

Wellness is about balance.

Another important concept about wellness is that it emphasizes balance in our lives, meaning that it promotes making sure we have time to do the things that make us feel happy and fulfilled. This includes working, having fun, spending time with family and friends, participating in the community, being physically active, praying, relaxing, and sleeping.

When it comes to wellness, there’s not a “one size fits all” it’s about finding the tools and strategies that work for you.

Below, I’m going to share some different tips to help you enhance your well-being. Take what tips resonate with you, and if you have any other wellness tips to share with others who are struggling, share them in the comments below!

1. Sleep

Did you know, a person who sleeps 7 hours each night, spends a total of 106 days asleep in a given year?!

Although scientists still aren’t exactly sure why we sleep, this may shine a light on the importance of sleep, as we spend nearly 1/3 of our lives doing it! Our body’s natural tendencies to regulate sleep, similarly to eating, drinking, and breathing suggest that sleep serves a similar critical role in our health and wellbeing.

What we do know is that regular sleep has many benefits for both our physical and mental health:
  1. Physically, sleep provides an opportunity to restore tissues and allow for muscle growth and protein synthesis to occur. In addition, sleep plays an important role in regulating our hormones. For example, several studies have found we produce more hunger hormones when we don’t sleep.
  2. Mentally, sleep plays an important role in improving our concentration, problem-solving abilities, creativity, and social skills. Although the exact mechanisms are unknown, sleep is believed to help consolidate memories, which is essential for learning new information.

So learning about these benefits, you’re probably asking the question, “So how much sleep do I actually need?”

Looking to the Canadian Movement Guidelines, it is recommended adults get 7 to 9 hours of good-quality sleep on a regular basis, with consistent bed and wake-up times.
If you’re having trouble with sleep, I have 3 strategies you can try.
  1. Set regular sleep and wake times. Coming back to the movement guidelines, it’s recommended to have consistent sleep and wake times. This is because there are various hormones that are involved in the sleep/wake cycle, and a consistent sleep schedule helps regulate these hormones, making it easier to fall asleep and wake up every day. I recommend trying to go to sleep around the same time each night, and waking up around the same time each day.
  2. Watch your caffeine intake. Caffeine is something that can give us a boost when we need it, however, it’s best to consume caffeine in the morning or early afternoon, and avoiding it in the evening, as it can interfere with our sleep. Swap your favourite coffee for a decaf coffee in the afternoon, or try an herbal tea, eat a snack, or do some movement in the afternoon if you need a pick-me-up.
  3. Use light to your advantage. Our sleep/wake cycle is heavily influenced by light, and we can use this to our advantage. To promote sleep in the evenings, try to avoid bright screens or blue light before bedtime. Instead of watching a tv show, try reading a book, doing a sleep meditation, or winding down with a self-care routine. In the mornings, light can help stimulate us to wake up, and we can promote wakefulness by opening the blinds and letting the light hit our eyes.

What helps you sleep? Let me know in the comments!

2. Mindfulness

I know you’ve probably heard about mindfulness before & if you’re anything like me, you probably rolled your eyes because it doesn’t seem that sitting in one spot with your legs crossed will add many benefits to your life. However, over time I’ve actually come to realize that mindfulness doesn’t have to look like sitting in one spot in silence. Mindfulness is something you can adapt to meet your own needs & preferences and it actually can bring positive change to our well-being.

Mindfulness is all about being in the present moment. Right here, right now.

It’s about letting go of the past because it’s already happened, and not worrying about the future because it’s unknown. It’s about taking control of your life, right here, right now & doing what you can in each moment to appreciate what you have and make the most of it.

My favourite quote is:

Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.

Mindfulness is about celebrating today and in practicing mindfulness, we get better at savoring the pleasures in life and coping with stress.

There are many ways to practice mindfulness & it’s all about finding what works for you. I don’t have enough time to go into detail about each type of mindfulness today, but here’s a quick breakdown:
  1. Meditation. These are done stationary.
    1. Guided meditations
    2. Visualization
    3. Sound baths
    4. Breathing exercises
  2. Movement Based. These integrate the movement of your body with mindfulness.
    1. Yoga and movement-based meditations
    2. Body Scans/Progressive Muscle Relaxation
    3. Walking meditations/Forest bathing
  3. Finding Flow. Have you ever got fully immersed into something that hours passed by and you didn’t even realize it? This is called being in a state of “flow”, and it’s actually a way of practicing mindfulness. Finding activities you love that bring you into this state of flow is a great way to practice mindfulness. Some examples can include doing a craft, painting, making music, exercising… any activity you enjoy doing!

Check out my box breathing video for a breathing exercise & if you’re interested in learning more about mindfulness, check out my YouTube Channel!

3. Movement

As a kinesiology graduate, I could talk about the benefits of physical activity for days. Here are a few of my favourite facts that highlight the importance of movement for our well-being:

  • Helps prevent & manage chronic diseases
  • Strengthens our bones and muscles, improves balance & coordination
  • Helps our minds: brings us into the present moment & can help with stress, anxiety, and depression.
If you’re someone who struggles to incorporate physical activity into your day, here are a few tips.
  1. Take regular breaks. Take time throughout the day to stand up, stretch, and move around. A general rule of thumb is to take a short movement break for every hour you work throughout the day.
  2. Find activities you enjoy doing. The key to unlocking the benefits of regular exercise is to do it regularly. It’s easiest to engage in activities we enjoy, rather than the ones we find daunting. 
  3. Just do it. Nike really hit the nail on the head when they came up with this branding. To start incorporating fitness into your lifestyle it all starts with one step in the right direction & to “Just Do It” – I always find once I exercise once, I feel more inclined to do it again. It’s like an upward cycle. Sometimes all we need is a small push and it gets easier and easier to do it.
  4. Find a buddy. Finding someone to exercise with is a great strategy to socialize and keep you accountable with physical activity. Reaching out and asking a friend to join you on your endeavors can also help you get the courage to do it! 

Use the outdoors to your advantage. Again, I could probably go into an entire video on this topic alone, but being in nature is beneficial to our wellbeing & when paired with exercise it can provide a powerful wellness combination for both our bodies and minds. Being outdoors can add further benefits to physical activity by helping to lower our stress hormones and improving our moods. I’m curious.. what’s your go-to nature spot in your city?

If you want to be active at home, I do have options for you on my YouTube Channel. My workouts are focused on being fun & you can check them out here!

4. Nutrition

You can’t talk about exercise without talking about nutrition. When it comes to our nutrition, the foods we eat are broken down by our bodies and used for fuel & the building blocks to become you! Eating a balanced diet can have numerous benefits for our health and wellbeing. This can span from influencing our mood to providing us fuel to sustain our bodies to get through our day.

When it comes to nourishing our bodies, I’m not a dietitian, but I can share some tips about healthy eating:
  1. Photo of the plate recommended from the Canada Food Guide. The image states: "Have plenty of vegetables and fruits, eat protein foods, make water your drink of choice and choose whole grain foods"
    Image from the Canada Food Guide

    Eat a balanced plate – I recommend looking at the resources from dietitians Canada about building a healthy plate. The Canada Food Guide has been recently updated & provides a very good general outline on healthy eating. Here’s what they recommend:

    1. Eat whole grains. This includes foods such as whole grain oats, brown rice, and quinoa.
    2. Eat lots of vegetables and fruits. For each meal, it’s recommended half your plate is vegetables. Opt for a salad, roasted veggies, or even some carrots and dip to each meal for added fibre & vitamins/minerals.
    3. Drink lots of water. In general, 8 cups of water a day is recommended. However, it’s most important to listen to your body and drink when you are thirsty. If you don’t enjoy drinking water on its own, try herbal tea, or adding cucumber/fruit to your water.
    4. Go for lean protein sources. Eating foods such as lean chicken breast, turkey and fish are great options. Protein sources can also include plant-based options such as beans, tofu, and tempeh.
    5. Eat your healthy fats. healthy fats help us feel full and provide sustained energy throughout the day. Healthy fat sources can include nuts/seeds, avocados, eggs, fish, and much more!
  2. Remember, it’s not about perfection
    Just like with fitness, nutrition is not about striving to eat the “best” or “purest” foods. Rather, it’s about nourishing your body with foods that help you function at your best. Yes! This still includes a treat from time to time (or daily if you’re me)! A balanced diet should still allow you to live your life to the fullest.

For more reading about nutrition, I’d recommend checking out to learn more about healthy eating.

5. Connect with Others

Humans are innately social creatures and being connected to others is an important aspect of our well-being. Heck, in prehistoric times, our survival depended on being included in a group!

Today, we have the benefit (for the most part) of being able to choose our friends & who we surround ourselves with. Finding people you can trust can help provide support during hard times, and give us opportunities to experience new joys.

Here are some tips to connect with others:
  1. Check-in with your friends – Reach out to a friend & ask how they are doing. A simple text or phone call can go a long way!
  2. Try a new activity/club/workshop – To meet new people, place yourself in an environment where you can make new social connections. If you love cycling, try a cycling group! If you love crafts, maybe try a pottery class. By putting yourself in new environments, you may meet someone with similar interests & spark new opportunities for social connection.
  3. Talk to someone new – Mustering up the courage to talk to someone new can be challenging. The next time you’re out at a social event, try scouting out potential friendships & don’t be afraid to approach people to start a conversation. Having some conversation starters prepared ahead of time can help you spark new conversations & connections.

There you have it!

Five wellness tips and strategies you can use to help promote your health and wellbeing. Your next step is to come up with a Game Plan for integrating these strategies into your daily life.

I want to know… what your game plan is moving forward? What is the first step you are going to take to begin focusing on your wellness?

Let me know in the comments below & be sure to add in any other wellness tips that have helped you so far this year.

Take care!



Hi, I’m Heather & I love all things health & wellness. 

I share fun workouts & wellness tips for anyone looking to level-up their health & wellbeing. 

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