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Choices to make and turns to take on the road to wellness

We often think of wellness as getting annual physicals, exercising, eating right and getting a good night’s sleep.

Wellness encompasses a lot more than that, however, including intellectual, emotional and social wellness, among other areas. The integration of these different areas of wellness allows you to achieve your full potential.

Wellness, in many ways, is about choices – decisions that empower you as you discern what you desire and require in life.

Sometimes, choices are profound – where to live, what career to pursue. Others are relatively trivial – whether to stop for coffee, what shirt to wear.

At home and in business, you make selections every day; everything from which project to start with to how to interact with everyone you see.

With each preference, you make one more statement about yourself while affirming what’s important to you. Often, wellness is not on that priority list.

But there are choices you can make on the path to wellness:

CHOICE: REDUCING PHYSICAL CHAOS

How you function in your place of business, and how you live at home, are byproducts of the way those spaces function for you. It’s key in overall wellness. By reducing physical chaos, you can change your life.

There are deep-seated, personal and situational reasons why some people end up with too many possessions, but for the average home or business owner, the reasons are simplistic: feeling overwhelmed by the process, holding onto things left to you by someone who’s died, or “What if I end up needing it?”

Clutter roots you and cuts off breathing space, leaving little or no room to grow. You’re like a root-bound plant, unable to flourish.

Most people only use 20 percent of what they own, 80 percent of the time (the Pareto Principle), so make that 20 percent matter.

CHOICE: HARMONIOUS SPACES

Most of us are indoors 80 percent of the time, so it’s imperative the spaces where we live and work add to, rather than detract from, our sense of well-being.

Environments affect mood and productivity. If they feel chaotic or don’t function well, our energy is drained and we become less productive and more anxious.

Interiors of the most harmonious businesses and homes flow together in a way that creates a sense of calm. Rooms that feel connected are the background for spaces where we feel comfortable and at ease.

If your environment doesn’t feel right, it indicates work to be done, but don’t aim for perfection.

Some spontaneity in your design keeps things alive and expressive of the business you run or the life you live.

CHOICE: FINDING BALANCE

The way we work has changed significantly the past 20 years.

The division between home life and work life has blurred. The 9-to-5 job has all but vanished as technology has advanced and commuters spend hours a day traveling to work.

In the pursuit of financial and career success, balance has been sacrificed. People come home exhausted. Then, on weekends, they rush from one thing to the other, trying to squeeze in all they pushed aside during the workweek.

Balance is a state of equilibrium that doesn’t exist in many of our lives. If we try to keep too many balls in the air, sometimes what falls to the ground is us.

From a wellness perspective, ask, “What am I doing? What am I rushing to or from? What am I’m missing in the blur that’s my life?”

We can be responsible, successful career people and still have balance. The key is prioritizing what’s important and remembering that you need to be on that list.

CHOICE: BREATHING

“Breathing outside the box” means taking the time to slow down and to be aware of breathing in and out, purposefully, in order to honor and acknowledge the breath we take for granted everyday.

If you feel like a pressure cooker about to blow or are caught in a cycle of repetition – doing the same thing over and over without even thinking about it – hit pause.

Observe what you’re doing physically and mentally. Then breathe, inhaling and exhaling purposefully. It’s important for your physical and mental wellness.

Breathing gives you energy, transports oxygen, decreases blood pressure, delivers endorphins and helps you relax.

CHOICE: SAYING NO

Not being able to say no has a significant impact on wellness.

If you can’t say no to more stuff being brought into your house, to unreasonable expectations, to one more after-work get-together or charity event, often you create clutter. Or the feeling of being taken advantage of or the pressure of being overcommitted.

Sometimes you need no to create balance and the wellness of peace of mind. Not having the energy or desire to do something is OK. Saying no is empowering.

We think about how we spend money. On what are we “spending” our time? Look at hours in a day as “time currency” of that day. Decide how to allocate them, just like you decide how to allocate your money.

CHOICE: INTENTIONALITY

Intentional living means planning the manner in which you spend your time. When you get caught up in the entanglements of everyday life, you can forget to live in a way that cultivates overall wellness.

Living with intention takes effort. It calls out for you to make a plan, recognize what’s important, commit to that and breathe life into it.

You have to know what you want. That requires thinking about it with intention. Instead of simply being OK with what happens to you, own your life.

There’s no magic wand to erase the past – late nights at work, lunches on the run or vacations never taken.

But you can choose your wellness paths moving forward.

Kay McLane, owner of the Emmaus-based firm Kay McLane Design LLC (www.kaymclane.com), specializes in design for business and residential. She writes the blog Peace Full Home (www.peacefullhome.com) and can be reached at 610-966-9794 or kay@kaymclane.com.

 

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