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As I reach my thirty-somethings, it seems natural to reevaluate where I am—and where I want to be. From mini freak-outs about my “not so robust” 401K, to fertility conversations with my best friends, to finding what truly gives me fulfillment (guess what, it’s ok to be selfish sometimes), I am learning this thing called life looks different for every one of us. But no matter my age, my mood, or my daily highs and lows, there is one thing (well, seven, actually) that remains constant: the seven dimensions of wellness.
I used to believe “wellness” was working out, eating right, monthly massages, and diffusing essential oils. But the seven dimensions of wellness are so much more than the material things. They incorporate the growth and pursuit of balance in every part of our being. Hell ya! Wellness isn’t cookie-cutter; it’s multidimensional—changing and evolving just like us and the world we live in.
So, as I take a step back to reevaluate and self-reflect on my seven dimensions of wellness, especially during this time of uncertainty, I am rediscovering what these dimensions mean to me, my relationships, and my overall well-being.
THE PHYSICAL DIMENSION
Badass and body positive.
Real talk: confidence isn’t my forte. The struggle has always been real when it comes to accepting my body, especially when I’ve been called “big-boned” for most of my life. This isn’t a pity party; I’m just tapping into my emotional dimension right now. I read a blog before turning 30 that talked about when you turn this age, “something” happens to your perspective—and it has to do with inherently becoming more confident. You know your style, you know your friends, you know what you want (career, love life, etc.) and, drumroll, please, you know your body. Oh, and you know crop tops only go with high waisted pants.
I’ve always tried to take care of myself, but now, a few years later, post-blog, I am rediscovering that my body is capable of amazing things. Self-doubt is a worthless side piece, and self-esteem can (and will) be my new best friend. I am rediscovering that yes, my body is a temple, I’ve got only one, and I deserve to love every inch of my being—and take care of it. From being proud I made it through that mega-hot barre class to trying to eat cleaner with every meal, realizing I need to prioritize what feels right for my body is a win-win. My well-being (and optimal physical wellness) is going to be number one.
THE EMOTIONAL DIMENSION
All. The. Feels.
I am a glass half full type of gal, the person who always has a smile on her face, even when things suck. Bad day at work? Trust me; I will find a workout to de-stress. There are pros to always being positive, but there are also cons, because I tend to mask how I feel deep inside. I need to be a “strong” friend/sister/daughter/wife. I can’t let them see me mad or sad. The fact of the matter is, feeling is part of being human, and how we choose to express ourselves is a lesson we (or at least I) am continuing to understand.
Whether it’s a belly laugh or a bowl full of tears, I am discovering new ways to take an emotional timeout—and find time for myself. Understanding how to decompress, disconnect, and get in-touch with my emotions is a personal choice, and a heavy one at that. I am facing my feeling fears, and I need to be honest about that with those who are closest to me. By acknowledging the way I feel, I am creating a safe space in my mind, body, and soul for my emotions and rediscovering who I am at my very core. Our emotions are a rollercoaster—when we learn where to put our hands up and scream in happiness or hold onto the handlebar tightly in fear, we genuinely enjoy the ride.
THE INTELLECTUAL DIMENSION
Putting the 'mind' in mindful.
We’ve all heard the saying, “when you stop learning, you stop growing,” right? To me, something feels stagnant when my intellectual side (yea, she compliments my social side) isn’t absorbing new stuff. Recently, I have felt uninspired to expanding my mindset, and I’ve let my ambitions get pushed to the side. This has become even more apparent as I work from my couch, multi-tasking with the dog. It’s easy to become lazy with learnings, no matter where you are in your life. For me, when I let my curiosity spark get snuffed out, then I invite self-doubt and boredom in. Come on; I am a fire sign—I can’t let that happen!
It’s time to turn off the Netflix and tune into my creative side. From learning a new skillset (like coding) to discovering a new podcast, it feels like there are a million different ways to expand my intellectual dimension. Thank you, technology. So, what am I waiting for? I am ready to rediscover what powers my mental passions, even if it’s making greeting cards, baking a cake, or burying myself under the covers with a new book. What expands our minds supports our worth and purpose. We all know life can throw us some curveballs (that’s why I was never a catcher in softball), so why not focus on what makes us excel?
THE SPIRITUAL DIMENSION
Give me a higher love.
The word “spiritual” has a million different meanings to billions of people—and that, my friend, is the beauty of this fourth dimension. Spiritual wellness is what works for your belief system. The human quest for spiritual fulfillment is one that can last a lifetime, and believe me, my views on spirituality have pivoted a plethora of times. I tend to gravitate to my spiritual side when things get profoundly emotional, and I am feeling lost (or just experienced a loss). With an open mind and open heart, I often find myself reaching for a deeper meaning, a higher purpose. But often, I ask myself, why is it only in the bad times I feel the need to tap into this dimension? It’s because I need to better understand who I am.
By rediscovering my connection to my spiritual side, I am rediscovering an element of self-love, self-worth, and self-acknowledgment. Whether I am stargazing for guidance (dear galaxy, you’re gorgeous), praying to a higher being, gravitating to tarot cards, or finding peace in meditation, I am learning that it is ok to find our connection to ourselves (and something bigger) through practicing what feels right at the right moment. Spiritual wellness is a deeply personal experience, but with an open mind (and heart), I am welcoming a new element that embodies a continual ebb and flow into my well-being.
THE ENVIRONMENTAL DIMENSION
Channeling a green goddess.
Climate change, plant-based protein shakes, everything organic—our world is continually evolving. And how we treat Mother Earth can define our generation. This dimension is just what it sounds like, bettering the impact we have on our planet. But what does environmental wellness look like to you? Maybe it’s using reusable bags, buying an electric car, vowing to eat vegan. The best part about this type of wellness, is that every little (or big) thing we do with the earth in mind can positively impact the greater good. Loving Mother Earth looks different for every family, every person.
How I give back to our globe is everchanging, just like how I am reinventing ways to take care of our natural resources. My well-being is impacted by the state of our farms, oceans, planet, and I must make small changes to my routine to take care of our natural resources. I am making environmental wellness part of a continual conversation among friends, and by bringing this topic to the top of our gossip chain, I am rediscovering ways (and supporting brands) to make a difference—one straw, one bike ride, one all-natural yoga mat at a time. Rediscovering my impact is changing the way I take care of our only home.
THE SOCIAL DIMENSION
The human connection is the foundation of our existence. From dating apps, to meeting new friends through co-workers, to partying with strangers at Coachella (sorry, mom!), how we engage with others more fully defines what social wellness means to every one of us. While I’m a social butterfly, my best friend is an introvert. But guess what? It just works. It could be the opposites attract phenomenon, or it could be that we are just yin and yang and balance each other out. Cosmic powers or authentic connections, there’s a world of reasons of why we are drawn to or dissuaded by certain people and personas. But when does our social dimension impede on our individual wellness?
To be honest, my social wellness has always been a double-edged sword. I have a large friend group, and I am a people pleaser, but in turn, I often unknowingly push those closest to me away. As I rediscover this dimension, I need to reevaluate my relationships and my ability to set boundaries. I need to learn to be ok with (politely) saying “no”—and I need to acknowledge it’s ok to put me first sometimes. We blossom when we surround ourselves with healthy relationships, and we wilt when we bend too far for those who drain us. This flower needs to bloom big, baby! By eliminating negative social forces, I can find what makes me genuinely happy—and that might not be Sunday brunch, but rather journaling in bed.
THE OCCUPATIONAL DIMENSION
I’m the boss, not bossy.
Work from home. Work from office. Work from Zoom meeting. Whatever your workplace culture, our society values success based on occupational performance. Early mornings, late nights, and deadlines don’t define this final dimension of wellness, but rather your ability to strike that oh-so-delicate balance between work life and personal life. It’s a thin tightrope to walk, trust me. The ability to step away from work is not my strong suit, though the benefits of disconnecting greatly outweigh answering emails from the couch at 10 pm. That’s when burnout happens. It doesn’t pave a gold road to success—it’s detrimental to the six other dimensions of wellness.
My success at work is one of my greatest achievements, but as I take a more in-depth look at this dimension, I realize that this doesn’t just define who I am. It is a piece of me. I am rediscovering that I need to allow myself permission to turn the open sign off and that my hours outside of work should be spent disconnected and reconnecting with myself. I need to allow myself the ability to press the reset button, whether it’s a weekend getaway or a mid-day Pilates class. My work will benefit more from a fresh mind and a fresh perspective.
As I revaluate my seven dimensions of wellness, I am learning to connect with my well-being on a deeper level—and I invite you to do the same with Mindbody. While I may never achieve perfect harmony in every dimension (social, you’re always going to be a struggle), working on myself makes me realize, yes I am human, and, in my opinion, becoming better is pretty positively powerful.
Have you ever watched that oh-so-sweaty person leave their workout machine without wiping it down? Yuck. The Clorox wipes, paper towels, bottles of sanitizing spray are at your gym (and studio) for a reason— because no one wants to share bacteria. But now that our living quarters, even that tiny Upper Westside studio, have become our own personal fitness paradise, we’ve got one question: Is your at-home workout equipment *really* clean?
Research has found that bacteria can live on some gym equipment (weights, mats, you name it) for three days. That’s right, 72 full hours. And your yoga mat or those dumbbells you just got delivered from Amazon so you can slay that new virtual class you just booked on Mindbody are susceptible to the same stat. While it may seem silly to clean your own “stuff” because you’re the only one using it, think about where your hands have been before you pick up those weights. Perhaps your apartment complex’s keypad? Bacteria knows no boundaries.
From your resistance bands to your brand spanking new (and yes, most likely backordered) kettlebell, the gear you’re using at home could use a good wash, rinse, repeat—especially if you’re sharing it with someone you’re stuck at home with (like your S/O or stir-crazy housemate). Even if you’re the queen of clean (like me... just ask my co-worker, Natalie), here are six tips on how to keep your gear germ-free and looking good. Because we know all those classes you’ve been streaming are making you a fitness guru.
You not only want to clean the dirt off your workout equipment, you want to sanitize it. Clean gets the dirt, sanitizing takes care of the bad stuff (aka bacteria). Before you start getting crazy with the bleach or a DIY deodorizer, you’ll want to take into account the surface you are about to wipe down. Something like your treadmill, Peleton bike, resistance bands or bench press bench can be damaged by certain chemicals and at-home cleaners. If you’re worried about your equipment, opt for disinfectant wipes especially made for gym equipment, like all-natural Wipex. Plus, it’s never a bad idea to keep some hand sanitizer next to your workout station.
Clorox wipes have become the hottest household item of 2020—and we are guessing so has virtual yoga. If you’re not a huge fan of using chemicals you can’t pronounce and throw-away wipes on equipment like your Manduka mat, there are all-natural antibacterial cleaning options that will make Mother Earth proud. Who doesn’t want to make their cleaning routine a little more green? Companies like cleancult (we called them out in our 20/20 trends), offer effective, all-natural products delivered right to your door in recycled milk cartons —and they pair perfectly with your go-to disinfectants. Cleancult’s versatile All-Purpose Cleaner is my fave for wiping down workout gear, especially yoga mats (and almost everything in my home). The Saponified Coconut Oil acts as the “heavy lifter” without harsh chemicals. After working out, spray your surface(s), wait for a couple of seconds and wipe away with a reusable towel (or an old gym t-shirt you use as a rag).
While knowing what surface you’re cleaning is key, some of your equipment might benefit from DIY solutions. Before you roll up your sleeves and become the Harry Potter of cleaning solutions, invest in a glass spray bottle (or reuse an old plastic one). Oh, and break out the essential oils because they are about to boost your at-home fitness (and cleaning) routine. Most of the DIY cleaning “recipes” you find on Pinterest include ingredients you have at home—like vinegar, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. My must-use DIY cleaner is vinegar-based (with 10-12 drops of essential oils). It’s powerful yet natural enough that I feel more confident laying facedown in Savasana with my oh-so-sensitive skin after that yoga class in NYC I just streamed from San Diego.
Now that cleaning your at-home workout gear is part of your routine (hint, hint), letting your equipment dry is key. If you’re cleaning your more expensive exercise machine with some cleaning solutions that have a “smell” or you want it to dry faster, trying turning on a fan or crack open the window to keep the air circulating. If you’re just cleaned a more porous surface (like your yoga mat) hang it outside to dry—over a railing, a chair, bike rack... you get the gist. While fresh air is good, UV rays are not. Certain materials that make workout gear can breakdown in the sun, and you don’t want to get burned before your next workout sesh.
While cleaning your equipment might seem like a no-brainer, it can be easy to ignore the surrounding area where you work out. The title of this section tells you what you need to know—don’t forget to clean and sanitize the floor where you exercise. Just think of it this way, while you’re killing it in your virtual fitness class, your hard work is being noticed, by the floor that is, as your sweat beads go flying. And last time I checked; vacuuming doesn’t do the trick for dried sweat. After class, wipe down the area around your workout space with cleaning products that are conducive to the floor. Working out on carpet? Consider switching areas or look into sanitizing and deodorizing spray for material surfaces.
The most important part of cleaning and sanitizing your workout equipment is sticking to a schedule. If you’re forgetful (like me), keep your supplies adjacent to the area where you enjoy working out. And do it on the daily. Seeing the supplies will be a reminder to clean and sanitize before (and after) you get your sweat on—because who doesn’t love starting out their class on a cleanly note? Mother would be proud! PS: don’t forget to wash your hands!
Do you have any at-home cleaning and sanitizing tips you swear by when it comes to your workout routine? From DIY to cult-favorite products, we want to know! Tag @mindbody on Instagram to let us know! Stay clean, safe and sanitized our friends!