by Dr. Dana Seymour, C. Psych.
The Medicine Wheel is a great construct for overall wellness as it promotes taking care of your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health.
This Indigenous perspective focuses on a holistic approach to wellness by emphasizing taking care of and balancing these dimensions of health.
Each section of health is connected to the other areas and when one aspect of health is off, it has the potential to impact the others. You may be trying your best to manage stress, anxiety, or depression with different skills for your emotional health. But if you are not getting enough quality sleep, it will be harder to regulate your emotions because your physical need for sleep is not being met.
The Medicine Wheel helps you to be purposeful and intentional about overall wellness which helps to strengthen your resiliency against life's demands and challenges.
What you feed your mind is going to have an impact on your mental health. If you are consuming negative social media or television content it can significantly influence your mental wellness. This is very similar to what you feed your body, if you're continuously feeling your body unhealthy snacks, you're not going to feel your best. Same principle applies to your mental health.
Try feeding your mind content that you find motivating, inspiring, and interesting. It can come from books, social media, movies, and/or podcast. You can even habit stack and get your physical and mental health in at the same time by walking and listening to a podcast.
Your emotions are an integral part of your day and can impact how you see the world around you and how you respond.
It's important to learn how to acknowledge, label, and manage emotions.
Sometimes emotions such as stress, anxiety, or depression can feel overwhelming and impact other areas of the Medicine Wheel.
Talking to a therapist can help you learn to regulate your emotions.
Taking care of your physical health has such an important impact on your overall wellness.
The mind and body are connected and when you physically feel good your mental, emotional, and spiritual health feels good too.
You can optimize physical health by eating a nutrient dense diet. Exercise to prevent diseases and strengthen your muscles and bones. And, get quality sleep to help your body rest and restore. If you are struggling to catch your zzz's, here's an article to help you improve your sleep.
Spiritual wellness can vary in definition. For some people it's about connecting with a higher power and for others it may be about connecting with the universe or Creator. And some people don't believe in either.
Spiritual wellness is more about reflecting on your personal values, beliefs, and having a deeper meaning to life. It's about living in accordance with your personal philosophy. When people start to deviate from their value system and what they find fulfilling, life can feel distressing and unsatisfactory.
The Medicine Wheel is a great wellness tool to help keep you intentional about balancing your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health.
Sometimes life is going to be out of balance and it's important to be patient and compassionate with yourself as you strive to re-balance.
Therapy can be a sacred space to help you develop skills to re-balance, help you feel rooted and grounded, and help you get back to living the good life.
Dr. Dana Seymour, C. Psych.
I'm an Indigenous therapist, educator, and approved non-insured health benefits (NIHB) provider in Ontario. I focus on counselling for stress, anxiety, depression, and trauma for Indigenous people. I work from the framework of the medicine wheel and help you to feel balanced and grounded. If you are interested in therapy, I'd love to talk to you more about how I can help. You can connect with me here.