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Join Us for Our Summer Wellness Series Part 1


Hi, my name is Mike Nowlin, and I serve as the Director of Operations at the Institute for Human Services (IHS).  IHS exists because we want to make the world a better place for children and we believe that if we as adults learn how to improve our personal state of well-being, becoming happier and healthier, we will do a much better job caring for kids in our work and/or family environments. So, we will be providing a summer wellness series each week through August.  


As we kick off our weekly series I’d like to first define “wellness” and “well-being” so that we can lay the foundation for the next three months. According to the University of New Hampshire’s Wellness is an active process that helps individuals reach their optimal well-being by integrating all the dimensions of wellness into their lives: physical, social, emotional, spiritual, environmental, intellectual, occupational, and financial. Well-being is an optimal and dynamic state that allows people to achieve their full potential (e.g., happiness, functioning, fulfillment, satisfaction) through both the individual pursuit of wellness and the commitment and support of the communities to which they belong. Making choices surrounding wellness and well-being involves skills that are developed through knowledge and self-awareness, along with community support


This series is designed to help assess our current state of well-being, set some reasonable goals for personal growth, and to keep moving toward a more fully integrated self. We’ll be using the Wellness Wheel (Whitmer, 1998) as the foundation for our series and utilizing the University of New Hampshire’s Wellness Wheel Assessment (link below). The assessment takes just 5- minutes and you can get your results without getting on a mailing list, but merely need to answer a few demographic questions. Completing this will help you get a visual representation of your overall wellness. At IHS we are not just writing about wellness this summer…our team has committed to do this series together for the summer as well. 


The topic of wellness has become increasingly important to me recently. A year ago, I simultaneously faced a significant health challenge, was feeling a bit stagnant professionally, and I was sensing the internal nudge to dive deeper into some historic emotional roadblocks in my life. I was forced to ponder what it was going to take to get healthy and fulfilled again, and after months of poor health I was willing to do anything. Over the course of the past year, with the help of a doctor, a therapist, and leading a new workplace strategy, I have made remarkable strides toward physical, emotional, and professional health and well-being.  


The momentum I am experiencing is so motivating and in the past year I have set numerous stretch goals to challenge myself: taking a solo international trip, returning to the gym regularly after a decade away, and speaking at a conference after a long break from public speaking. This journey has not been easy, and my efforts still have not gotten me across the perceived “finish line” yet, but I feel there has been a significant shift in my well-being, leading to greater confidence and motivation to keep moving toward my best self. I am no longer running on fumes and I now can offer something to others again, and also feel fulfilled in my personal and professional commitments. I regularly share my journey with many people (friends, family, and strangers) who, like me, have struggled to re-emerge post-pandemic. Everyone seems to feel so isolated, and like their experience is uncommon amongst their peers, which of course, is far from reality. Transparency with those we care about leads to a stronger sense of community and encourages others to boldly share their shortcomings, dreams, and successes with us.  


It’s so easy to start something good and then stop moving forward within a couple of weeks when we do it alone. For this reason, we’re asking people to commit to this challenge by registering with us and sending us an occasional note on your progress. Please feel free to share this series with colleagues, friends, and family and encourage them to sign up as well. It is so easy to feel isolated, but our wellness truly requires the support of a village. Our team will be sharing our journeys to wellness this summer, providing resources on a multitude of wellness topics, and offering some practical suggestions to help you in your own pursuit of well-being.   

 

Are you ready to join us in getting healthier together this summer?  


 

Wellness Wheel Assessment: https://unhextension.datahubs.org/ 

 

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