Is Spiritual Wellness Connected to Physical and Emotional Health?

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How do you define “wellness?” While physical well-being may be the first thing that comes to mind, there are several dimensions by which wellness can be measured. Western medicine does not always address  the ways in which spiritual and emotional health play into overall wellness. Instead of compartmentalizing these areas of life, we can benefit from taking  holistic approach  that recognizes the benefits of spirituality, the power of the mind/body connection, and the importance of having meaningful work and relationships

Six Dimensions of Wellness

Dr. Bill Hettler of the National Wellness Institute  has developed a model with six dimensions of wellness that should be addressed for overall health: occupational, physical, social, intellectual, spiritual, and emotional. By using an interconnected approach for all of the dimensions, it opens the pathway to optimal health and wellness. This approach is beneficial if you want to achieve your full potential because it addresses the whole person.

Improving Spiritual Wellness

Since spiritual wellness is one of the six dimensions, it is important to find ways to develop your spiritual life if you want to improve your overall health and wellness. Here are a few ideas that you might consider:

  • Ask Spiritual Questions: Look for ways to dig into your your spiritual core by asking questions about who you are and who you want to be, such as: What is my purpose? What do I value in life? Where am I going? Engage the people close to you in a dialogue, or consider joining a discussion group.
  • Work Through Emotions: Humans are emotional creatures, but too often we stuff those emotions down. Instead of hiding your feelings, get them out by writing your thoughts in a journal at the end of the day. Or, express your feelings through art, music or dance.
  • Take a Yoga Class: Yoga offers a way to connect the body and the soul. By removing emotional and physical stressors through exercise you can open the pathway to spiritual enlightenment. Other physical activity like running can also have this effect.
  • Meditate: Plan time in your busy schedule to connect with yourself. Even 10 minutes of relaxation and freeing your mind can make a difference to improve your spiritual wellness. There are now many phone “apps” that can guide you through a quick meditation!

At Windward Life Care, we work with each client to personalize a plan for wellness that takes into account spirituality as well as physical and emotional well-being. Talk to us today to learn more!

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Sibling Harmony In Caring for Aging Parents

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Adult children of aging parents can find themselves in conflict if they are sharing the family caregiver role with siblings. Difficult decisions related to where to live, what to do with household belongings, and family roles often arise as parents’ needs change. When siblings are not in agreement about how their parents’ care needs should be met, it can lead to communication breakdown and things not getting done. Here are some tips for avoiding these pitfalls.

Working through the Emotions of Caregiving

It can be hard to see a parent declining physically and/or cognitively, so it is common for emotions to come up and tensions to run high. Children want their parents to be well cared for, but arguments could arise about where the parent should live and how the support should be offered. Understand that each family member will process the situation in a different way. Look for opportunities to offer compassion to support your siblings during this difficult time, and keep the lines of communication open Keep in mind that longstanding family roles may need to change; for example, the youngest child or “baby” of the family who was not looked to as a decision-maker in the past may have valuable ideas or input that should be considered by older siblings and parents.

If needed, you might consider a session with a family counselor or a mediator to find common ground. Professional services are often overlooked by caregivers in need.

Find Ways to Work Together

It is common for many of the caregiving roles to fall on one person. Instead of letting one individual carry the heavy responsibility, look for ways that all family members can carry the load. Schedule a time to meet and talk about the needs of your parent. Each child can share their ideas and the time and resource that are available to offer support. If multiple family members live in the same area, then you should consider putting together a schedule to relieve the main caregiver on certain days of the week. Family members at a distance may be able to help with online bill-paying or keeping an online calendar of parents’ appointments.

Finding the right support during this challenging time is critical to help you maintain healthy family relationships. Here at Windward Life Care, we are experts in aging well. Contact us today to learn more about how we can support your family with the task of caring for an aging parent.

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