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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.
If you’ve ever taken a hot yoga class, you know it’s always going to be one thing—outrageously hot. Not the “let’s hang by the pool and get that sun-kissed glow” kind of hot either. I’m talking that “I can't believe I have this much sweat in my body” and “I may or may not pass out” kind of hot. It’s nothing to mess around with, and after a year or so of not being able to go, it’s easy to forget just how serious that heat can be.
To get the maximum enjoyment and benefits out of your heated yoga classes, you need to prepare yourself before and take care of yourself afterward. Luckily, I’ve been taking some classes (sweating enough for the both of us) and I’ve listed my five favorite must-dos to help you readjust to your heated classes and get back to the hot yoga summer that we all want.
Heated classes are difficult in nature. The normal difficulty of regular poses is mixed in with the added challenges of sweating and dealing with the humidity and the heat (at times, I’ve seen the thermostat climb to 108 degrees—yikes!). Depending on what type of yoga class you’re taking (sculpt, Bikram, power vinyasa), the difficulty level and temperature are going to vary. It’s also important to remember that each person in the room is going to practice in a way that’s unique to them. Hours slept, hydration levels, food intake, and different lifestyles are all contributing factors that make our practices different. What you practice on your mat is your own––trust your body and only do what feels right to you. And remember, it’s okay to take breaks!
The rise in temperature mixed in with the humidity that we all know and love creates the perfect recipe for sweating—like A LOT. You go into a heated class dry and come out feeling like you just took a dip in the pool. Before heated classes, I had no idea it was physically possible to sweat that much. If you’re going to a heated class, especially after a long break, it’s easy to forget just how much you might sweat. Is it possible to lose that much water if you haven’t consumed it first? Trust me, going into your heated class super hydrated is going to make a world of difference and help you feel good throughout your practice. And don’t forget to take some sips of H2O while you’re practicing!
Heated classes are challenging, but I can’t stop going. Nothing quite compares to overcoming the challenge— and experiencing the cleanse my body feels after I’m done. It’s the perfect blend of hard and rewarding, but I couldn’t do it if my body wasn’t properly nourished. On the days I know I have a heated class booked; I like to make sure I am eating right. I make sure to take my vitamins and fuel my body with fruits, vegetables, and my favorite superfood shake. I hold off on food about an hour before my practice, so I feel comfortable. After the class, I like to replenish with a big protein shake (boosted with collagen to aid with muscle recovery and skin elasticity). There is no one-way path for properly nourishing your body but making sure you’re fueled for the challenge of a heated class is essential for getting the most out of your practice and feeling good on and off your mat.
Increasing and maintaining your water intake on the days you take a heated class is important, but sometimes you need something a little extra. If you’re sweating that much, you’re basically an athlete (at least in my book) and if you’re performing like a rockstar yogi, you need to hydrate like one as well. That means replenishing those lost electrolytes. Reward yourself and your body for the hard work and treat yourself to your favorite drink. I switch off between electrolyte-boosting drinks and coconut water depending on what I’m in the mood for that day. Adding these to my post-practice self-care routine has helped me feel more hydrated after and ready to take on the world again after especially sweaty classes.
Usually, a yoga mat is all you need for your practice––but heated classes are a different ballgame. I’ve gone with just a mat, and I’ve slipped all over the place. Let me tell you, there’s nothing worse than having sweat drip all over the place while you’re trying to hold a pose that makes you grip your mat for dear life (never again). Make sure you bring a towel to place over your mat, this will help with support and grip. Bringing a smaller towel is also a good idea. You can use the smaller towel to dry yourself off during water breaks or whenever you’re feeling just a bit too sweaty. This is a small step that makes a world of difference during those super-hot classes.
So, there you have it. Five of my favorite tips (more like lifesavers) that have helped me readjust to those heated classes I love so much. Getting back into it is a challenge for us all, so know you’re not alone. No matter where you’re at in your practice, remember to be kind and gentle to yourself––celebrating your health and your body’s ability to do what you love. We’re all just getting back out there, together.
Ready to jump back into your hot yoga routine? Browse Mindbody to find the perfect class for you.
While you’re at it, check out some Intro Offers near you that can help you get back to your cadence of hot yoga classes.