As we finally move out of the pandemic it’s hard not to look back on some of the many things we have hopefully learned from this crazy experience. One thing I observed early on ties in with one of my favorite health lessons to teach.
One of the introductory lessons for several of my health classes was on the dimensions of wellness. I discussed six of these dimensions: physical, psychological, social, intellectual, spiritual and environmental. You may also see additional dimensions: occupational, financial and sexual. The idea is these different dimensions work together to keep us healthy and well. If one or more of these dimensions is suffering, our overall health and wellness is also likely to suffer.
My favorite discussion with the class was to ask what they thought was the most important dimension and why. I always enjoyed hearing why students would choose the dimension they did. The idea is there is no right answer and you can make an argument for each dimension. Most of the time psychological was the consensus most important dimension.
I always thought it was debatable between psychological and physical. One dimension I often didn’t recognize was social. It wasn’t until we had to isolate ourselves during the pandemic that I realized just how important the social dimension is. I missed people. I couldn’t see my dad or brother for months. I didn’t see my friends in person for over a year. Even just walking around a grocery store and seeing people seemed like the greatest thing once I finally ventured out again. We need that human interaction outside of our families. It was then I realized how important the social dimension of wellness was and I had never considered the significance of this dimension until the pandemic hit.
So besides sharing my favorite lesson (can you tell I miss teaching classes?) I share this to make sure to remember to take care of all these dimensions of your health and remain social. While yes there are times people are annoying and we joke I want to just be left alone, we need each other to thrive and survive.
One of the hardest or strangest things about work during the pandemic was the literal remoteness of it. It was weird to interact with coworkers via zoom rather than in person. That’s another reason I did enjoy going back to work in person. I got to interact with people daily. It was so nice to see my staff and see the pool and fitness center members who came back when we reopened. I actually wanted to talk and see our members on a daily basis….as the manager of a facility you often don’t want to see members because you get a lot of complaints. And when I say a lot I mean a lot. But no I missed people and realized I cared and wondered if all my members were ok. We have a lot of older community members at both of our facilities and it was sad that some never came back.
The social aspect of working out had changed. Locker rooms remained closed for a year. You were encouraged to just swim or work out and leave, no congregating. But the reality is working out at a facility is social and that’s one of the appealing factors of it. We want to talk to other members, we want the motivation of others also working out.
And that’s where all those dimensions become connected. Physically people were less active because gyms were closed, which likely lowered mood. Socially we didn’t see each other at the gym or pool. This is all because the environment we were in was affected by a pandemic.
Even though I couldn’t see family or friends I stayed in touch and that is the minimum we should be doing. But now that the pandemic is ending, go out and see people. Enjoy the physical presence of each other because one small lesson I learned from the pandemic was that we need people and each other more than I think any of us realized before.