Health isn’t just about taking care of your body but about understanding the interconnectedness of different aspects of your life. There are actually 8 dimensions to consider. The Wellness Wheel is a useful visual aid that helps you find balance so you can be your healthiest and most resilient self.

The 8 dimensions of wellness are:

  • Environmental
  • Emotional
  • Intellectual
  • Physical
  • Social
  • Financial
  • Spiritual
  • Occupational

This article covers the environmental dimension of personal wellness. This is a broad topic and includes taking care of the Earth, optimizing and ensuring safe and productive surroundings, and being aware of your own actions and decisions and their effect on others.

The core tenet of this dimension is to treat your surroundings and other people in your environment with respect. Ensure you understand that we live in a world with finite resources and need to make green living a daily habit. This doesn’t require making sweeping changes to your life. In fact, it’s the small things we do day-in and day-out that can bring you a sense of balance.

Nature and caring for your environment

There are so many beautiful places even just within San Francisco including hiking trails, beaches, local parks and TONS of scenic views (check out my article on urban walks in San Francisco). Spending time in nature and taking care of these places is part of your overall wellness.

Here are some ways that you can appreciate the outdoors and make choices that are better for the environment:

Reduce, reuse, recycle:
San Francisco gives you the tools to dispose of your home’s trash responsibly. Make sure your home or building is provided with recycling and compost bins and ensure you separate your garbage appropriately.

Sustainable transportation:
Instead of driving to your destination, leave your car at home and take advantage of the many ways to travel in this city. Aside from BART, MUNI and buses, you can also rent bikes, electric bikes and electric scooters which are widely available.

Spend time outdoors:
Enjoy what nature has to offer without having to travel! Spend an afternoon in Dolores Park or take a stroll through the Presidio. Appreciate the trees, flowers and local wildlife around you.

Awareness of your surroundings

Many of us disconnect from our surroundings while commuting to work or running errands. It is so easy to look at your phone or listen to music with earbuds. But it is important to be aware of the risks around you as well as how your actions may effect others. Ensuring you are in a safe space and contributing to that space is crucial.

Here are some key things to pay attention to and work to improve:

Take responsibility for your actions and the impact of your decisions:
It’s easy to bump into someone while looking at your phone while you are walking. It’s also easy to get distracted while driving. Make sure you are contributing to a safe city by taking responsibility for your actions. Pay attention and act with intention. Pay attention to your personal security and risks around you. Stay alert to strange behavior so you can protect yourself and others around you.

Surround yourself with supportive family and friends:
Try to engage with people you frequently see at work or in your neighborhood. Contribute to an inclusive, kind and supportive space by calling out inappropriate or harassing behavior. Find an activity or cause to support that helps your local community.

You can volunteer at the SF-Marin Food Bank, clean up garbage you find in local parks or donate to charities that help fellow San Franciscans.

Address bad habits and consider how you can replace them with good habits:
Practice safe sex and carry contraceptives with you when you go out. Buy local for your food and visit the many farmer’s markets in the city. Ask yourself if the people you surround yourself with champion your personal wellbeing and support your goals. If you aren’t sure, consider broadening your surroundings by joining a sports club, a book club or volunteering for a cause you feel strongly about. You’ll meet people who share the same values as you and will help you accomplish more.

If you aren’t sure where to begin, that’s ok! Wellness is a lifelong journey and regularly taking a moment to examine our lifestyle is an important way to stay healthy and balanced. Here are some questions you can ask yourself about your current habits and choices.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Are you spending as much time outdoors as possible?
  • Do you take breaks during the work day to go for a walk or grab a coffee with a colleague?
  • When was the last time you visited a public park to play a sport or go for a run?
  • Do you take public transportation when available?
  • What volunteer activity have you participated in before that you really enjoyed?
  • Who amongst your friends and family has supported you, for example, by helping you solve a tough problem or offering an ear to listen?