What is wellness?

This is the exact content found in the “What is wellness?” activity within the Pre-Arrival Program.

Icon of a heart

Wellness is an active, lifelong process of becoming aware of your choices and making decisions that will help you to live a more balanced and fulfilling life.

Everyone’s optimal wellness will be different, depending on your own needs, experiences, personality, and circumstances. Different aspects will fall in and out of balance as you make your way through life—however, we can try our best to maintain a balance.

Many factors can influence your health and well-being. When we think of health and wellness, we often first think of our physical health—exercise, nutrition and sleep. We may then think of our mental health—stress, anxiety and depression. That’s often where we stop. Indigenous peoples have long understood that health is about more than the physical body, but instead consists of multiple intersecting elements, and they have passed this knowledge on through the teachings of the medicine wheel. The Wellness Wheel depicted below, which outlines seven interacting dimensions of wellness, is informed by the Indigenous medicine wheel.

Seven Interacting Dimensions

Physical: Physical wellness is about creating opportunities for active living, healthy eating and self-care.

Emotional: Emotional wellness is about paying attention to yourself, building inner resources to reduce stress and creating a confident and positive outlook on life.

Social: Social wellness is about your ability to interact with those around you and develop and maintain healthy relationships.

Financial: Financial wellness is about knowing your financial situation and managing your money wisely.

Academic: Academic wellness is about expanding your knowledge, challenging yourself and meeting your goals in a healthy way.

Environmental: Environmental wellness is about creating a safe, inclusive and sustainable community around you.

Spiritual: Spiritual wellness is about having a connection to a higher sense of purpose related to spiritual beliefs or other core values that provide a purpose to our lives.

Overall Wellness

Overall wellness is about developing self-awareness and making decisions that help you live a balanced life. This balance may look different for everyone depending on needs, experiences and circumstances, but it’s important to continually reflect on how you are doing in each of the seven dimensions.

In this module, we’ll be focusing on mental (emotional) health and physical health.

>> Return to the overview of the Health and wellness topic