Lifestyle Medicine, Main blog page, Wellbeing at Work

The 7 Limbs of Wellness

Over the past week I’ve been sharing the 7 dimensions of wellness on my Instagram feed. I thought I’d collate the posts into a single blog post here! I hope you enjoy – let me know what you think.

The 7 limbs of wellness

✨What does wellness mean to you – the food you eat or your daily meditation practice? Wellness is more encompassing than either of these.

✨The co-founder of the National Wellness Institute, Dr. Bill Hettler, developed six dimensions of wellness in 1976, since then a 7th dimension, that of environmental wellness, has been added.

The National Wellness Institute defines wellness as:
✨a conscious, self-directed and evolving process of achieving full potential.
✨multidimensional and holistic.
✨ positive and affirming.


Spiritual Wellness

Spiritual wellness is about connecting to your life’s purpose and focusing on your inner world.

It’s connected to the themes of compassion, kindness & love.

How do you cultivate your spiritual wellness? Here are some ideas to get you going :
✨Meditation and/or mantras
✨Forest bathing
✨Devote yourself to a greater cause or organisation that share your true values – such as volunteering or giving financially to charity.

All of these suggestions are, of course, solely if they resonate with you, your spiritual and/or religious beliefs.

How do you cultivate spiritual wellness if your life?


Physical wellness

Physical wellness involves looking after your body & the physiological processes that occur within it. Examples include getting enough movement, sleep & healthy nutrition…and so much more!

How can you look after your physical wellness?
✨Move every day doing something you love – from walking, running, yoga, animal moves, lifting weights – whatever you enjoy doing make sure you move today!
✨Consider moving in ways that cover aerobic, strength, flexibility & balance forms of movement.
✨Help your circadian rhythm by getting out in the natural light in the morning & minimising blue light exposure in the evening.
✨Have a plate of food the colour of the rainbow! Aim for 30 different plant based foods a week.
✨Break up times you sit down – set an alarm every 20 minutes to go for a walk or do a few star jumps perhaps, or invest in a standing desk.

IMG_20200723_210155_062 (2)

Environmental Wellness

✨Environmental wellness is a limb of wellness which is close to my heart. It focuses on your connection with nature. It’s linked with our stewardship of the world and how we should consume mindfully.

Some tips of to practice environmental wellness:

✨Get out in nature daily – feel that fresh air for a walk, forest bathe, dip in the sea or do yoga outside.

✨Grow your own! Create nature to watch and tend to – from windowsill herb pots to a veg patch, whatever you have space for. Get your hands into the soil!

✨Reflect on your consumption of the Earth’s resources & be more mindful about it – could you consume less fast fashion, compost that waste instead of chucking it in the bin? Small actions really do make a difference.

✨Could you safely walk or cycle to work? This would help not only your environmental limb if wellness, but the physical too!

✨How do you support your environmental wellbeing?



Intellectual wellness

Continuing my series of the 7 limbs of wellness, today’s post is on intellectual wellness. This limb is about continued lifelong learning, creativity & challenging your mind.

✨Think of your brain like a muscle, it gets strengthened by being used.

How to practice intellectual wellness? Here are some suggestions:
✨Experience different perspectives to your own. Talk to those with opposing views, read a wide array of books & magazines and (when safe to do so), travel.
✨Always be learning a new skill – from a yoga pose to cooking, from knitting to a new language. Each day try to learn something new, however small.
✨Get lost in logic – puzzles, crosswords and sudoku, or a more physical form such as bouldering and indoor climbing.

✨How do you exercise your brain?


Occupational Wellness

This encompasses fulfilment in your career & other life roles, such as being a figurehead of your community. It also relates to work-life balance & happiness at work, feeling that you’re growing your skill set & contributing to the world.

How can you increase your occupational wellness?
✨Consider if you feel fulfilled in your current role &/or feel you’re in the right path. If not explore your options in how you can change things for the better & create a plan to put these thoughts into actions. These could be growing within your current role or exploring other options – it doesn’t mean you have to jump ship unless that’s what you want to do.
✨Establish boundaries to ensure you have a work-life balance that supports your wellbeing. Perhaps you turn off your email notifications after a set time, don’t take your work laptop home or plan a holiday.
✨Engage in continued professional development to develop yourself within your field.
✨If you don’t have paid employment, what skills can you offer the world & how can they use them?


Social Wellness

We’re onto the penultimate limb of my 7 limbs of wellness series & today it’s all about social wellness – the health of your connections & relationships. These can be with people from all walks of life.

Research has demonstrated the power & importance of human connection for health & wellbeing, and how detrimental loneliness is.

Getting good quality social connection can be challenging in a time where we are all still meant to be physically distancing from those we don’t live with (or are in a bonafide bubble).

So how can we keep our social wellness strong?
✨Have regular, social distanced, in person catch ups with a few friends. For those who are further away how about regular virtual get togethers? Always have a date in the diary so you never go too long without catching up.
✨Have phone-free meals with those you live with so you can have uninterrupted conversations free of distractions.
✨Go for daily walks with those you live with. This activity not only opens up the potential of meaningful conversations, a walk in nature satisfies almost all of the 7 limbs of wellness! During lockdown I started a daily walk from the house with my partner and we love it! Whilst the commute is back leaving less time in the morning we have kept this up on the days we can as it added so much value & enjoyment to our relationship.
✨Connect with like-minded people. One of the easiest ways to do this these days is to join a Facebook group for a topic you find fascinating or that is local to your area.


Emotional Wellness

The final of the 7 limbs of wellness. If you follow me you will know that I’m particularly passionate about this limb, but with all things wellness, it is intricately connected to many of the other limbs.

Emotional wellbeing considers how we understand & manage our emotions with a key component being stress management.

How can we look after our emotional wellness?
✨Give journaling a try, from free flow to more structured prompts – I use the 6 minute diary from @createurbestself which focuses on gratitude (I talk all about gratitude as a guest on @dralkapateluk ‘s Lifestyle First Podcast so check this out to find out more about gratitude).
✨Find someone you can have regular, deep and meaningful, trusted conversations with. You can discuss the triumphs of life as well as the struggles openly.
✨Consider reaching out for professional support if needed, such as a therapist or counsellor.
✨Take time for self-care every day. This can be a challenge in our busy lives but know it’s not selfish, in fact it gives us the emotional energy to look after our loved ones. My favourites are yoga, breathwork, a mindful walk in nature & swimming in the sea (& having the salty water in my hair hours later, as in the picture 😁).

How do you look after your emotional wellbeing?


That’s it! The 7 limbs of wellness – all distinct yet undeniably intertwined.

Emma x

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s