It’s a lifelong practice we hear about every day. Marketers love to use the term wellness in their advertising because they know it will get consumers to perk up and, likely, purchawse their products. It’s a lifelong journey which makes it a marathon and not a sprint. But what is wellness and why is it important?

Wellness is an enormous term which really means “finding your groove” in a healthy way. For some that means getting off the couch and exercising. For others it can mean changing your diet and taking vitamins. Still, for some it can mean finding the time to practice gratitude and self-care. So, when we talk about a wellness practice, we are talking about several things, many of which begin in the same place.

We interviewed over two dozen coaches and learned just why wellness is so important. First, it keeps us young and healthy. It’s also a great stress-reducer and finally, it helps us engage our creative side. Almost every coach we interviewed said it was important to create a personal wellness practice that begins with gratitude.

Gratitude. It’s something we feel when we say thank you or that we appreciate something or someone, but it goes far deeper than that. Gratitude is in our inner spirit and something many of us must take the time to think about. We need to become active participants in the practice of gratitude and take just five minutes each day to realize and give conscious thought to what we are grateful for.

One thing we can all be thankful for is the opportunity to be authentic with ourselves and with each other. Stop and smell the roses. Take time to play tennis with your child (I did that just today) or cook a meal for a friend that needs some extra support. Whatever your authentic moment is, take the time to luxuriate in it.

My authentic moment came today when I spoke to someone that is just getting over cancer. I was concerned and somewhat afraid but a cheerleader at heart, I simply listened. That’s right, I listened. It was certainly the most important and authentic moment of my day. And when it comes to wellness, being authentic takes the pressure off us. It gives each of us a chance to connect with our inner selves and realize just how important we are.

By celebrating ourselves this way, we are also able to channel our inner strength. Speaking of embracing our strengths on a wellness journey, our coaches suggest these “hacks” to make the road less bumpy and the ride far more fun.

  • Connect. Connect with your community, your co-workers, and your friends and family.  Find ways to celebrate each other – even when you aren’t in the same place.
  • Exercise regularly.  And if exercise isn’t your thing, meditate.  There are loads and loads of meditation podcasts you can listen to even when you are trying to fall asleep at night.  Taking that 10 minutes for yourself enables your brain to go on a break, which is a key ingredient in every wellness program.
  • Give back.  Help others.  Donate your time or energy to something that really matters to you.  Warning: you just may get more out of this than those you are trying to help!
  • Schedule a staycation for yourself.  Turn off the phones and the tv.  Find activities that get you outside and doing something you’ve always wanted to do.  Learn to play an instrument or go hiking.  Take in a show or visit a museum.  Regardless of your itinerary, this wellness break will feel like a full-fledged vacation at a fraction of the stress or the cost – and as a bonus there’s no packing or unpacking to do!
  • Learn something new.  Join a book club or hobby-based group.  When you engage your creative side, you increase your wellness tenfold.