Wellness is the complete integration of body, mind, and spirit – the realization that everything we do, think feel and believe has an effect on our state of well-being.”

Greg Anderson

By Lee-Ann Wantanabe, Wellness Educator

What is wellness?

What does well-being mean to you?

Are those two words (wellness and well-being) interchangeable?

Over the years, I’ve interviewed many different people from very different backgrounds and I’ve learned that wellness and well-being vary with a person’s current life situation.

Most people interviewed agreed that wellness is about feeling healthy, thriving and being vibrant; however, many admitted that they put their own wellness at the bottom of their “to-do” list because life is hectic! People chose to put themselves last and as such, admitted that their own wellness was purely out of their own choice. And that was my AHA moment – Being healthy isn’t by blind luck, it’s by choice.

Take for example, one of my interviewees, Suzanne. Suzanne is a busy working mom of three and wife of a Pellet Court Judge. Campaigning, hosting dinners, always in the public eye, not to mention, high levels of stress is Suzanne’s day to day.

Eventually, food became Suzanne’s savior. She ate whatever she wanted whenever she wanted and in her own words, she “wasn’t gonna give it up.” Soon, her wellness and well-being took a hit and after 10 years of low energy, weight gain and getting through each day instead of really living it, Suzanne intrinsically became motivated to make a change. She was sick and tired of being sick and tired and finally told herself, SHE WAS WORTH IT!

Slowly, Suzanne changed her mindset around eating and her food choices. She implemented a solid and reliable support system as she started this new journey. And soon, the weight started to come off. For the very first time, Suzanne felt successful!

Suzanne loves where she is now and says “there is no turning back!” With her wellness and well-being in check, Suzanne’s passion of teaching children is thriving.

Her message to other’s: “If I can do this anyone can. Small steps for sure! Have a plan and give yourself grace as we are human and life happens.”

Living a thriving and full life requires a little effort. Remember to treat yourself with the kindness, support, and encouragement you would offer to others. Build yourself up. Cheer yourself on, and never doubt for a second that you are worth it. In the words of Maya Angelou “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”

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