What are the 9 Wellness Dimensions?
We believe there are 9 dimensions of wellness that impact human life.
These wellness dimensions are: social, emotional, financial, environmental, creative, physical, intellectual, career and spiritual. We use a wellness wheel model to demonstrate how all of these dimensions play a role in a person’s life. In the center of our wheel is an inner circle, which says, “You,” this represents all the identities that a person brings with them as they navigate life (ex. athlete, female, first-gen college student, oldest sibling, HIV+, etc.). These identities impact how a person experiences and interacts with the wellness dimensions, and likewise, how the wellness dimensions may shape a person’s ability to express themselves through one or more of their identities.
We’ll discuss more about wellness below, but you may also be interested in jumping directly to our descriptions for each of the 9 wellness dimensions or learning more about the resources available to you for improving your wellness in these areas.
It is normal to not be 100% well in every dimension all the time.
It is possible to be “well” in one dimension but not be “well” in another, but that does not mean a person is “unhealthy,” however being less “well” in one dimension may make it harder to be “well” in another dimension. No dimension is more important than another dimension, and a person’s identities are at the core of who they are. Wellness ebbs and flows throughout a person’s life so it is possible to improve one area of wellness and maintain that new level, but it is also possible that a life event (ex. moving) may impact a dimension of wellness (ex. career wellness). We want to provide students with the education and access to resources so that they have the tools necessary to manage their wellness throughout their lives.
Each wellness dimension is distinct even though all nine work in concert together.
Most things we do in life involve multiple wellness dimensions overlapping. For example, a professional athlete needs to manage physical wellness (to be able to play their sport), emotional wellness (to manage getting over setbacks and losses), social wellness (to cooperate with teammates) and career wellness (when faced with being drafted to a new team). What wellness dimensions do you feel are at the forefront of your college experience? For some students it may be intellectual, career and financial wellness, but for others it may be social, emotional and environmental. Regardless of what dimensions are at the forefront of your college experience, you’ll need to be aware of how your wellness in each dimension impacts you and your time at UD overall.
We’re here to help you on your wellness journey.
Our aim is to assist students in identifying what areas of wellness they would like to improve in, and how to go about improving in those areas, while also recognizing in what areas a student may already have a higher level of wellness, and assisting those students in maintaining these levels and celebrating these strengths.
A socially well person strives to interact and communicate harmoniously with the world around them, develop and maintain healthy relationships, and build a strong support network. Social Wellness enables a person to feel empowered to connect and contribute to their community, respect oneself and others, and improve their wellbeing through a healthy social network.
An emotionally well person strives to cultivate awareness, acceptance and management of a full range of thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Emotional Wellness enables a person to feel empowered to engage in self-care, ask for help, grow from experiences, develop autonomy and improve executive functioning.
A financially well person strives to live within one’s means and be equipped with the skills necessary to address financial emergencies. Financial Wellness enables a person to feel empowered to achieve realistic goals through an accurate awareness of one’s financial state and the ability to budget.
An environmentally well person strives to practice respect towards one’s surroundings. On a macro scale this represents our planet Earth. It also extends to the space we share with others and the space we occupy ourselves. Environmental Wellness enables a person to feel empowered to be a conscientious steward of available resources and to pursue a harmonious relationship with the natural world.
A creatively well person strives to further their appreciation of the world through innovation and exploration. Creative wellness enables a person to feel empowered to explore the diversity of thought, culture and the arts that represent human experience, and to contribute to this collection by using one’s own unique ideas to create something new.
A physically well person strives to nurture a healthy connection with their body. This connection is maintained and improved through regular exercise, balanced nutrition, good hygiene, recognition of the body’s warning signs, proper illness care, quality sleep and safer sex. Physical wellness enables a person to feel empowered to be responsible for one’s personal health, identify areas for realistic improvement and celebrate areas of success.
An intellectually well person strives to pursue lifelong learning and to share this knowledge with others. Intellectual Wellness enables a person to feel empowered to enhance critical thinking skills, engage in mentally stimulating activities, expand one’s worldview and communicate ideas, beliefs and values.
An occupationally well person strives to achieve satisfaction, seek enrichment and find meaning through work. Occupational Wellness enables a person to feel empowered to maintain a healthy work-life balance, foster positive workplace relationships and make valuable contributions in one’s chosen career(s).
A spiritually well person strives to practice mindfulness, acceptance and gratitude. This is achieved through time spent alone for self-reflection, as well as time spent engaging in respectful dialogue with others about values, morals and principles. Spiritual Wellness enables a person to feel empowered to appreciate and value the world around them while finding balance and harmony in that world.
Resources for Improving and Maintaining Your Wellness
Click the Wellness Dimension buttons below to view an assortment of on-campus, off-campus and virtual tools, services and other resources to support your wellbeing. Please note: the links to off-campus (non-UD affiliated) resources include content that expresses ideas and opinions that are unique to the authors and do not necessarily represent the University’s beliefs or views.
We encourage students to read this content mindfully, recognizing that although sometimes a specific population is addressed or a specific audience is targeted, most of the materials shared in the sections below can be applicable and useful to many people for a variety of reasons depending on their own personal experiences and where they are in life’s journey. Remember the Wellness Wheel — that YOU in the center is representative of ALL your identities (graduate student, sibling, friend, singer, video gamer, book lover, sexually active, in recovery for substance use, Asian-American, gender non-conforming, Jewish, Starbucks Barista, HIV+, etc.). You may find that some content does not fit for you now, but it may become important later, so be sure to return to these resources when you are struggling with a certain wellness dimension.
Keep in mind some materials may never resonate for you, but they are very helpful to someone else — that is why we’ve listed so many different resources! So, feel free to try substituting words to get to the crux of the material so that it can become relevant for you. For example, this article about resume tips for athletes actually has a lot of great information for anyone looking to learn how to think about the skills they’ve acquired in one field and how to pivot into a new career path by highlighting the ways in which those skills are transferable. As you review the resources and materials below focus primarily on what topics, skills or strategies are being discussed.