Eight Dimensions of Wellness: Emotional Wellness Resolutions for 2021

Erika Quedding, a first-year student in the College of Pharmacy, contributed the following article to the NEOMED’s Student Wellness Committee’s peer-support series on the eight dimensions of wellness.

The eight dimensions that this student and staff committee supports are emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, physical, social and spiritual wellness. The concept of eight dimensions of wellness comes from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a U.S. government agency.

I’ve made them each year; some I’ve kept and some I have not. 

Toward the end of P1 Fall semester, we started talking about SMART goals and I realized that resolutions are essentially just goals we set for the new year. I make them because I want to be able to work on something important to me. Some of my past resolutions had been related to something physical: “eat healthier” or “start walking.”

These are still good resolutions to make; however, this year was extremely draining for my emotional health, so for the year coming up I am going to focus more on my emotional wellness. 

As one of the eight dimensions of wellness, emotional wellness is concerned with coping effectively with life and creating satisfying relationships. I want to be able to prepare myself emotionally for the coming new year and start building meaningful connections, despite our current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

One way to exercise emotional wellness is through writing down resolutions as answers to prompts. This activity helps me check in on my emotional well-being and reflect on what I’m currently going through. 

As future health care professionals, we are constantly guided by and taught about the importance of self-reflection in our careers. The more we understand why self-reflection is important, the more easily we can align our strengths with our goals and develop areas that we want to improve. 

This year has been one of the toughest ones yet, but someone recently told me that each experience has something to teach us. Whether it’s good or bad, there’s always something to learn from an experience. I’d like to share with you some prompts that might be a good start for emotional wellness resolutions for the new year or for self-reflection at any time.

  • What did I learn in 2020?
  • What or where did I find joy in 2020?
  • What were my biggest challenges in 2020?
  • What aspects of 2020 can I bring with me into 2021?
  • What should I focus on for 2021?
  • How can I bring my best self into the new year?

Finally, I’d like to share my own reflection on one of the prompts above. If someone were to ask me what I learned in 2020, here’s what I would have to say:

  • Doing something you loved 5-10 years ago might not work now and that’s OK.
  • Sometimes your good intentions can be misinterpreted by other people, but that doesn’t mean you should stop following good intentions.
  • It’s OK to not know what you want to do in the future. Understanding what you're passionate about might lead you to it eventually.
  • Pay attention to what your emotions are telling you. Cry if you must, but laugh as much as you can!
  • Smile. It’s free, it’s infectious, and it’s always a good sign when you see someone else smiling.

Thank you, 2020, for all the lessons you provided – but I’m ready for a new year. Bring on 2021!

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