When people think of health and wellness, they often combine and use them interchangeably.
However, the two concepts are quite variable, though you cannot really have one without the other. Here are some reasons why, but first, we will outline what each they stand for.
What Is Health and Wellness?
Understanding health vs wellness begins by isolating their respective definitions:
The Definitions of Health and Wellness
Defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), health is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
Furthermore, the primary determinants of health include social, economic, and physical environments, along with the person’s individual characteristics and behaviors without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition.
Then, “What is wellness?” you may ask?
The WHO defines wellness as “the optimal state of health individuals and groups” and is also expressed as “a positive approach to living.” And according to Merriam-Webster, wellness is “the quality of state of being in good health especially as an actively sought goal.”
Cohesively, wellness is an active and dynamic process of change and growth to reach one’s fullest potential and aims to enhance overall wellbeing. Wellness is also comprised of eight different components, including emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, physical, social, and spiritual wellness.
The Difference Between Health vs Wellness (and Why It Matters)
According to health and wellness definitions, wellness has a direct influence on overall health, which is essential for living a healthy, happy, and fulfilled life. The primary difference between health and wellness is that health is the goal and wellness is the active process of achieving it.
Knowing the distinction between the two matters for a number of reasons, including by recognizing while we cannot always choose the state of our health, we do have the conscious choice to make active decisions towards wellness. The following scenarios can help you better grasp heath vs wellness:
• Health: A predisposition to heart disease, diagnosis of type I diabetes at an early age, or an unexpected brain injury.
• Wellness: Making the choice to eat a balanced diet, exercise more often, and schedule regular doctor visits.
Furthermore, most people attribute achieving a set number on the scale dictates health, yet as previously highlighted, you cannot truly have health without first achieving wellness. So before setting your own goals for health, ask what you really want out of your new sought out transformation and consider:
• Why do you truly want to lose weight?
• How will making positive changes impact your life?
• Are you doing it for yourself or trying to satisfy others?
• Is this a short-term or long-term goal?
• Which areas in your life do you want to focus on?
• What sort of support system do you have?
Ultimately, knowing what you truly want from health and wellness can help drive a personal plan that works best for you.
Tips to Improve Health and Wellness
Whereas you can make a target weight loss and health goal, sustainability relies on actively improving within the different components of wellness. These tips can help nurture an ongoing basis:
1. Eat Whole Foods
While diet tends to be primarily viewed to impact physical condition, food has a well understood link between food and mental health, including boosting memory and improving mood.
A natural way to ensure adequate nutrients is by consuming whole foods rather than boxed and processed products. Comprise the diet of whole grains, fruits and veggies, lean and plant-based proteins, and healthy fat sources.
Utilizing bistroMD is also a sure way to include whole foods in the diet, as each meal is balanced with adequate protein, complex carbohydrate and fiber, and healthy fat to not only support a healthy weight, but gift the body with nutrients it requires for optimal health support healthy weight alleviate the stress of meal prep.
But equally as important, allow yourself to indulge on that birthday cake and cheers with champagne on special occasions. (bistroMD heartens balanced indulgences, too!)
2. Exercise Regularly
Exercise stimulates a healthy mind and body and the American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of physical activity weekly.
But you can also break away from the monotony of a structured workout regimen, as the highest importance is dismissing a sedentary lifestyle. Increase activity in your day by walking the dog, hiking with friends, and taking the steps over an elevator.
Walking and biking whenever possible not only emboldens both physical and mental health, but supports environmental wellness by reducing fuel emission. (And not to mention, saving on gas money!)
3. Embrace Mental Exercises, Too
Most people do not consider mental exercises when they are trying to get fit physically, but these types of activities can actually help you achieve your goals more sufficiently and boost brain power!
Tackling daily brain exercises helps support intellectual wellness, while practicing yoga or other combinations of mental and physical activities can help promote a better attitude towards weight loss.
4. Achieve Quality Sleep
Sleep is important for your mind and body, as it strengthens memory and concentration, lowers stress intensities, increases daily energy, diminishes cravings, and regulates hunger levels.
Sleep your way to such benefits by taking short power naps as needed and getting a full night’s rest on a regular basis. The National Sleep Foundation encourages healthy adults to sleep seven to nine hours of quality on a nightly basis.
If struggling to achieve the recommended hours of sleep each night, create a bedtime routine by staying consistent with bedtimes, powering down from electronics, evaluating your room environment, and practicing relaxation techniques.
5. Take a Day of Rest
In addition to achieving adequate sleep on a nightly basis, allow yourself days of rest and recovery.
Make sure to take one day out of the week to do something spontaneous or plan out a weekend trip you can look forward to, as doing so makes make the whole “dieting” process more enjoyable. (And life should be enjoyed!)
Even if you cannot get away every weekend, make sure you do small things that you love on your day off. This could be something as simple as going for a leisurely stroll, taking a walk in the park, or spending an evening relaxing to a movie.
6. Bask in Social Support
Social circles and support networks are invaluable for overall wellbeing and a sense of purpose.
A 75-year old study discovered good relationships keep us happier and healthier, though the data truly is not so surprising. We as human need to feel connected to others is one of our basic needs that need to be met.
Form and turn to your strongest supporters, including family members, friends, neighbors, and coworkers. You can likewise get them involved in your wellness journey by inviting them over for a home cooked meal or exercise class.
7. Enjoy the Journey
While you can make a target weight loss and health goal, sustainability relies on actively going through the different components on wellness.
And rather than feeling overwhelmed with large feats alone, take on small tasks, re-strategize as needed, surround yourself with positive people, embrace the journey, and enjoy the process of achieving personal fulfillment and wellness