Wellness can take on different interpretations to different people; it presents as physical, mental, or emotional, and the ways in which you manage wellness in any of these ways are interpreted very differently based on the individual also. 

In the past year, I had a significant surgery that impacted me with all three types of wellness. Having a spinal fusion, I was unable to physically be mobile on my own for several weeks, and I wasn’t able to work, drive, do normal errands, or really be active in any way. As an active person, this takes a toll on not just my physical wellness but also my mental and emotional wellness. 

In efforts to combat falling into negative thought patterns or emotional negativity, I had to keep my thoughts in patterns of positivity, so what I told myself was critical, and finding ways to have meaningful positive conversations with people in my life to not feel so alone was very important also. Intentional positive self-talk allows your mind and emotions to focus on something other than the current feeling, which can drag you down with the feeling that it will never end. To me, it is just as important as working out in a physical way daily. Telling myself realistic thoughts was critical in those first few months of healing, as well as being surrounded by positive people who can redirect my thoughts back to positivity as I was going through the journey.

Taking it one step further, 12 weeks later, I was released to Physical Therapy. Being able to walk and be active was huge. You truly don’t know what you have until it’s taken away from you. I always enjoyed playing pickleball, golf, taking walks, etc., but like anything else, you tend to take it for granted when you’re able to do it whenever you want. So, getting back to being able to walk and do some body-strength activities was difficult, but I couldn’t wait. And I was all in on doing my exercises daily simply because I was now able to. No matter how boring walking on a treadmill is or time intensive and painful exercises are, I do it daily not only to progress in my healing but also because I am able to, and it is getting me back to being able to do the things I enjoyed doing but no longer could. 

Overall, I truly believe that no matter how you view wellness in the three frames, the biggest takeaway and tip from my experience is not taking your current abilities for granted (mental, emotional, and physical). The second is no matter your ‘athletic’ tendencies, do something active daily, not just for the health of moving your body but for your mind and because you have the physical ability to do so. Third, surround yourself with people who lift you up. Finally, speak kindly to yourself because what you tell yourself matters in a big way.