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The Surprising Ways Every Aspect of Life Affects Your Health

Do you ever feel lost when people talk about wellness? The definition of wellness is “the state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal.”

Let’s be honest, good health can feel a little out of reach sometimes, but is this because we’re not looking at it through our own individual lens?

Better health doesn’t look the same for one person as it does their neighbor, but it could be something they’re both trying to achieve.

As a competitive cyclist, better health for me means being able to perform better so I can enjoy racing my bike. That means I’m trying to eat healthy, get enough sleep, and keep my stress levels low so I can recover from workouts quicker and ultimately improve my performance.

But for my parents, their goals for better health are different. They want to be comfortably mobile during retirement and have the energy to enjoy time with their grandchildren. That means they’re talking to their doctors about preventing chronic conditions like hypertension while looking for ways to eat well and stay active to keep their bodies strong as they age.

Build confidence by connecting with your own wellness journey.

“Each person can be in their own place on their wellness journey, with different goals and next steps – and that’s okay,” explains Tracy Crook, director of new product and wellness strategy for BlueCross. “As a nurse, I’ve seen many people become disconnected from their own personal health needs because they’re focused on what they see someone else doing that may not be realistic for where they are on their journey.”

Tracy Crook has been with BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee since 2002 and leads the company’s wellness product strategy. Photo by Sergio Plecas.

Crook suggests trying to find inspiration and motivation from other people’s stories. Everyone has their own story, and chances are that person you’re comparing yourself to once faced similar challenges to the ones you might be experiencing now.

“We can build our own confidence by understanding that all of us are climbing the same mountain, and that while we might be at different levels, we encounter similar challenges and opportunities along the way.”

An important step in developing this self-awareness is to understand the full scope of overall health.

Good health is more than just being free from illness; it includes a 360-degree view of your overall well-being. So while your physical health is an important part of the equation, there are other aspects of your life that are affecting your health, too.

Physical & Intellectual Wellness

  • Getting quality exercise and sleep
  • Eating well while still enjoying your food (and sometimes indulging)
  • Recognizing your creative abilities, feeding curiosity and expanding knowledge and skills

Emotional & Spiritual Wellness

  • Being able to cope effectively with life’s challenges and manage stress
  • Having a sense of purpose and spiritual peace of mind

Community & Career Wellness

  • Having a sense of belonging outside of work with a strong support system
  • Getting personal fulfillment from work that promotes a balanced, financially-healthy life
  • Feeling good about where you work and live with the desire to make a positive impact on both places

The struggles with healthy living are interwoven.

Often when a person struggles in one area of wellness, other areas suffer. What do we mean by that? Consider these scenarios. Have they ever applied to your life?

  • You don’t like your job because you’re stressed and don’t feel like you’re contributing to the team – so every day you leave work too exhausted to exercise because you’re mentally worn out from feeling depressed and unmotivated.
  • You’ve gained weight, which your doctor says puts you at risk for developing chronic health conditions – so now you’re worried about who will take care of your family if you get sick, and you aren’t sure how to make the right changes in a way that makes sense for your busy life.
  • You feel stressed with your current living conditions but aren’t sure you have the financial resources to move – so you spend all the spare time you have working extra jobs, leaving you with little time to spend with your family and friends or on self-care.

The multiple dimensions of wellness work together to bring balance and wholeness. You can exercise and eat well every day, but if your job, financial situation or social life stresses you out, that can negatively impact your health long-term.

Look to WellTuned for practical tips and inspiration for healthy living.

Wellness and good health is unique to each individual. And because each aspect of wellness affects the others, articles on WellTuned will focus on one or more of these areas and highlight the connections between them.

“We can be influenced by those around us, and also be an inspiration to others,” Crook mentions. “The goal for WellTuned is to share stories about how real people are pursuing their own journeys towards optimal health, along with quick and easy tips to help you on your personal journey.”

From recipes to the latest wellness trends, to stories of success and struggle from BlueCross employees and members, we hope you can look to WellTuned for the tools and inspiration to fine-tune your life in a way that makes sense for your own health and wellness goals.

“You can better know yourself if you’re able to hear your own story in someone else’s,” Crook says. “We want our readers to see how real people have overcome real barriers to achieving their health goals. We want them to know that wherever they are on their journey, they’re not alone.”

Ali Whittier

Ali Whittier

Ali joined the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee corporate communications team in 2014. A native of Iowa, she has a decade of experience in health promotion and community engagement, as well as health care communications. When she’s not at BlueCross, she and her husband Spencer are racing their bikes, spending time outdoors or cooking healthy food and treats in their kitchen.

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