Wellness Definition: From A Nurse’s Heart

Wellness Definition: From A Nurse's Heart

Wellness Defined

Coming up with a wellness definition can be a real challenge. If you rely on Google you will think the definition of wellness is merely “the state or condition of being in good physical and mental health.”University of California Davis gives several definitions for wellnessincluding those most often associated with health, including “…a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” – The World Health Organization.” However, there is much more to it than that. We can’t begin to be truly well until we know ourselves and trust what our bodies are telling us. Unfortunately, trying to reach our “goals” and keep up with the hectic pace of life can make finding a state of wellness seem nearly impossible.

“On the mad dash to becoming who I wanted to be, I realized I forgot who I was.”

That quote was birthed the minute I realized I was not well. Here I was, the nurse, the health coach, the healer to others, a catalyst for wellness, and I was the one who needed healing. As part of training, we (the student participants) were required to take a wellness assessment to become aware of our strengths and to understand what areas we had the most motivation for change.


An Excerpt from Heart of Wellness

I am not sure if I can adequately describe the gut wrenching anguish I experienced when faced with looking at me as I was in that moment. In a matter of a few moments, I was overtaken with exhaustion, emotional fatigue, and a feeling of hopelessness as I stood before myself naked (metaphorically speaking) and totally not sure how I was going to get through my discovery.

Self Discovery and Change

You are beginning a self discovery journey right now that will not give you all the answers in one instantaneous moment. However, once you start this journey, one realization will lead to another, and another, and another. Change will be dramatic in some areas, and slower, more evolving in others. One thing you will discover along this journey is no area is an island unto itself. Each piece of your life is part of the whole and affects all other parts.

Wellness Inventory Assessment

The original Wellness Inventory Assessment was developed by the wellness pioneer, John W. Travis, MD, MPH. This assessment includes 12 specific areas that I am going to share in a way that doesn’t answer your questions, but will start you on your own journey of self-reflection.

I share this very personal experience with you not to bring attention to myself, but to empathize with your plight and show my heart understands your longing and need for balance and purpose. This balance is called wellness. Wellness as conceptualized by Dr. Travis includes the following ideals: Wellness is a choice, a way of life, a process, an integration of body, mind, and spirit, and wellness is the loving acceptance of yourself.

When you open your heart to yourself, and accept yourself as you are, right now, at this very moment, you will begin to turn on the spigot to wellness and experience this turn of events and inner change that will bring about the “you” that you long to be, and who you really already are.

The above passage is an excerpt from a book I am currently writing titled “Heart of Wellness.”


Overwhelmed and Burnout Nurse

As a nurse I had reached a point in my life where I was burned-out and overwhelmed. A subject not addressed too much, and something most people work through and never tell anyone about. There seems to be an unwritten shame attached with burnout. Is it a sense of failure? Maybe for me, for awhile, it was.

I’m not ashamed any longer, because I know I am not the only nurse to experience this. Heathcare by the very nature of change in recent years, has brought about levels of stress which people are still covering up.


Health is Not Wellness

What concerns me most is a false mode of description that well-being can be obtained when we lose weight, exercise more, quit smoking, or keep that blood pressure under control. This is the focus of most healthcare “wellness” programs. This is where my concern is. Health is not wellness, just as wellness is not health.

Well-being is multidimensional and YES does include health issues… but that is such a small portion. Our stress, our work/play balance, our thinking, sensing and mindfulness…THIS is the beginning of well-being. To get a handle on our humanness and limitations. To move in the areas where we are motivated to change. Change begets more change.

I would love to hear your thoughts. I want to hear from those who have experienced overwhelm and how you worked through it.


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