a burgundy zine

What is Wellness?

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By: burgundy bug

Lily Pad

Source: Lily Pads | Penelope Peru Photography P3

Although there’s always been a market for self improvement, the concept of wellness has been ever present over the last few years. From our beauty products to our commercials to events in our towns and at our schools, the trend has spread like wildfire.

What is Wellness?

By Merriam-Webster’s definition, wellness is a state of being in good health.

The University of California Davis Campus (UCDavis) gives a more in-depth definition of wellness, referring to it as a state of becoming aware and actively making healthy choices to lead a more fulfilling life.

The more time you spend researching, the more broad the idea of wellness becomes. Some experts cite it as prioritizing a balanced mind and body, while others revere it as a form of enlightenment.

Either way, it is painted as a beautiful, mystical, and superior lifestyle.

How is Wellness Obtained?

In Western countries, quite often we do focus on the pursuit of happiness as if happiness is something that we have to go out – an object that we’re supposed to get, or maybe many objects.

Source: Measuring what makes life worthwhile | TedTalk

UCDavis states there are eight dimensions of wellness:

Emotional Wellness

XtaSeay and Burgundy Bug kissing

Source: 3.19 // Previews | Penelope Peru Photography P³

Emotional wellness is the ability to identify, accept, and approach your emotions rationally,according to the University of California Riverside (UCRiverside).

An emotionally-well individual is decisive, communicative, balanced, and appreciates a healthy amount of conflict without getting bogged down by stress.

While this seems easier said than done, it all starts with one seemingly simple step: identifying your emotions.

Don’t get me wrong – it can be hard to figure out your feelings. The reality is we often feel multiple emotions at once, which can make things even muddier.

Emotional wellness isn’t about psychoanalyzing every thought that presents itself. Rather, it entails accepting your thoughts and understanding what helps you cope when push comes to shove.

Physical Wellness


Source: Tomatoes 01 | Penelope Peru Photography P³

Physical wellness pertains to taking care of your body, according to the University of Victoria.

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

Source: WHO remains firmly committed to the principles set out in the preamble to the Constitution | World Health Organization

Everyone is entitled to physical wellness, as it is attained through:

  • Staying nourished and hydrated
  • Getting proper rest
  • Avoiding substance abuse
  • Practicing safe sex
  • Moderate exercise
  • Regularly visiting your primary care provider

“The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition,” the World Health Organization writes in their constitution.

Social Wellness

Dancing at WCU’s Open Mic Night

Source: WCU Open Mic Night 2.7.19 // HIGHLIGHTS | Penelope Peru Photography P³

Social wellness is founded upon your relations and interactions with others, according to UCRiverside.

Although many principles of wellness pertain to caring for yourself, in no way does it imply behaving selfishly. After all, you must take care of yourself before you can care for others.

A socially-well individual is able to live harmoniously in their community and makes a point to contribute to the common welfare of society.

Environmental Wellness

Post and foliage

Source: Down the Post | Penelope Peru Photography P³

Environmental wellness is defined by Iowa State University (IAState) as lifestyle choices aimed towards sustaining the environment.

This involves recycling, carpooling and taking public transportation as much as possible, turning off the lights when you leave the room, and electing politicians who prioritize the environment.

We touched upon environmental sustainability a bit last week in our article What’s the Deal with Climate Change? A guest blogger of ours, Mel, also discussed the impact of our ecological footprint in her article, Step Up on Climate Change.

Intellectual Wellness

Encyclopedia Britannica

Source: Knowledge is Power | Penelope Peru Photography P³

Intellectual wellness doesn’t necessarily refer to how intelligent you are. Instead, intellectual wellness is achieved through pursuing activities that expand your skillset, knowledge, and gets you involved with your culture, according to the University of Vermont (UVM).

An intellectually-well individual is driven by their interests, challenges themselves, and understands their values.

Get involved in your community, participate in extracurricular activities, and pick up a copy of the paper if you feel in need of a little intellectual wellness.

Occupational Wellness

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Mid Life Crisis Kid:

Source: Quickie Comic 8.16.18 // Work Experience | Penelope Peru Photography P³

Occupational wellness is the balance between work and leisure, according to the University of Pennsylvania.

Occupational wellness is obtained by doing what you are passionate about for a living. It is maintained by pacing yourself with breaks and relaxation throughout your routine.

Financial Wellness

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Source: Traditional Art | Penelope Peru Photography P³

Financial wellness is more than a credit score or a retirement plan, according to Forbes. It is a level of financial comfort and stability.

81% of young adults reported money as their main source of stress, according to the Stress in America 2018 Survey, which isn’t good for your physical or emotional wellness.

Financial wellness can be obtained through budgeting and forming sensible spending habits. It also goes hand in hand with occupational wellness; if you earn a living doing what you love, your income feeds into your financial wellness.

How Student Debt Can Affect Wellness

At least 42.2 million Americans are grappling with student debt and at least 2.7 million are owe more than $100,000 on their college loans, according to Careful Cents.

Having $100,000 in student debt looming over your head, on top of a car loan, a mortgage, or simply in addition to everyday living expenses can cause a great deal of distress. Not only does this hinder your financial wellness, but the stress affects your emotional and physical wellness.

Student debt turn achieving intellectual wellness into a double-edged sword. While intellectual wellness can be obtained through other educational pursuits, pursuing a college degree is an avenue many take to enrich their wellbeing – but at what cost?

You can learn more about student debt and the stress it causes in Careful Cents statistic-driven analysis.

Spiritual Wellness

Inner Voice Zen Tarot Card

Source: [$5 ZEN TAROT CARD READING] Paradox 01 | Penelope Peru Photography P³

Spiritual wellness is being in tune with your morals and ideologies, according to UCDavis.

Spiritual wellness is not confined to religion – although religion can be an element of spiritual wellness for some. It is finding the meaning in how you live and establishing a sense of inner peace.

What Happens When Wellness Becomes a Buzzword

Sharing Zen Tarot Card

Source: [$5 ZEN TAROT CARD READING] Paradox 03 | Penelope Peru Photography P³

It’s no surprise that wellness has plastered itself on the signs of every street corner, on the label of every herbal supplement, and in the byline of every blog. Wellness was a $4.2 trillion industry as of 2018, according to the Global Wellness Institute.

However, when wellness becomes a buzzword it becomes diluted. It loses its meaning and undermines the importance of self help.

There is nothing wrong with brands adapting the term as their own as long as we don’t allow it to cloud our perception of it.

Instead of dismissing wellness as another trend, we should embrace it. Doesn’t everyone deserve to feel emotionally, physically, socially, and spiritually fulfilled?

Embracing wellness doesn’t require you to rearrange your entire life. All you have to do is dedicate a little time towards taking care of yourself and the world around you.

I was so happy, simply to exist

Source: Traditional Art | Penelope Peru Photography P³

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burgundy bug


A cynical optimist and mad scientist undercover, burgundy bug is the editor, graphic designer, webmaster, social media manager, and primary photographer for The Burgundy Zine. Entangled in a web of curiosity, burgundy bug’s work embodies a wide variety of topics including: neuroscience, psychology, ecology, biology, cannabis, reviews, fashion, entertainment, and politics. You can learn more about working with burgundy bug by visiting her portfolio website: burgundybug.com

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