For many of us, the pandemic has underscored the importance of being healthy — both physically and mentally. Taking care of ourselves by eating well and being physically active are two steps we can take to boost our overall health and our happiness. On a related topic, let’s look back at one woman who has had such a positive impact on health and wellness: Michelle Obama.
Michelle Obama led the Let’s Move! Campaign
One woman that has made great strides by bringing the topic of wellness to the forefront of our culture is the former First Lady Michelle Obama. In 2009, Michelle’s “Let’s Move!” campaign sparked a real movement aimed at highlighting the problem of childhood obesity in America. The initiative had actionable initiatives to improve the health and wellbeing of kids and families.
One of the things that made this campaign successful was Michelle’s personal investment in the battle against obesity. She famously admitted that her two daughters Sasha and Malia were gaining weight in 2008.
Michelle made changes within her own family to improve eating habits and physical activity. That served as an inspiration to families across the US and in other parts of the world.
Michelle’s focus on health and wellness fostered conversations that led to real change, including improving school lunches. In 2010, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act was introduced.
This act was aimed at bettering school lunch food. The Let’s Move! campaign also led to an overhaul of nutrition labels that brought more transparency into what’s inside packaged foods.
By opening a national conversation centered around wellness, Michelle Obama left a lasting legacy on health in America. From her push-up challenge with Ellen Degeneres and a dance challenge with Big Bird, Michelle Obama made talking about exercise — and doing it — fun.
And while eating well and getting plenty of exercise are crucial to building a healthy routine, there are several other components that make up true overall wellness. One way to measure this is through the eight pillars of wellness.
The eight pillars encompass all aspects of health. It includes physical, nutritional, emotional, social, spiritual, intellectual, financial, and environmental wellness.
The 8 pillars of wellness
While the physical and nutritional pillars are fairly self-explanatory, the other pillars may not be as obvious. Here’s a little bit more insight into the six other pillars of wellness.
- Emotional wellness: This pillar covers your feelings and your ability to regulate and express them. Being in control of your feelings and emotions is a crucial part of your overall wellness and can help you maintain and nurture relationships with others.
- Social wellness: This pillar is about your relationships with others. True social wellness includes the ability to build connections with others and navigate conflict when it may arise.
- Spiritual wellness: While spiritual wellness will mean something different for each person, this pillar is about the traditions and values that guide us. Many people develop this pillar through prayer or meditation.
- Intellectual wellness: Your brain plays a crucial part in your overall wellness. Just like you exercise your body, you need to exercise your mind, as well. You can do this by reading more, joining a book club, playing brain games, and having deep conversations with others about the things you’re interested in or want to learn more about.
- Financial wellness: Being financially stable is one way to set yourself up to be able to build up the others pillars of wellness in your life. Living within your means and saving for the future decreases anxiety and helps you achieve your goals so that you can do the things that really matter to you.
- Environmental wellness: This pillar deals with your environment and the community that you live and work in. To build this pillar you can do a variety of things like planting a tree, carpooling with others, and volunteering to clean up a city park that you often go to.
It’s no small feat to inspire a nation to lead healthier lives by eating well and exercising, but the former first lady Michelle Obama did just that. By making these conversations a normal part of our national dialogue, it became easier to talk about weight and health with our friends and loved ones — and a big part of making a positive change is saying out loud that you’re ready to get healthy.
Infographic on the 8 pillars of wellness
To help you on your holistic wellness journey, Auraglow created this helpful infographic detailing the eight pillars of wellness and giving actionable tips for how you can improve each of the pillars in your own life. By implementing a few of these tips into your routine, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a healthier version of yourself.
Top photo credit: Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons