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Healthy Hokie Habits

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Dimensions of Wellness

Did you know that there are multiple components to wellness? It is important to consider these six dimensions in order to achieve optimal health. This guide provides information about each dimension along with healthy Hokie Habits you can implement to ensure you address each dimension of wellness in your daily life. We encourage all Hokies to engage in healthy habits each and every day.

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Mental/Emotional

The Mental/Emotional dimension focuses on your internal state, the ability to channel your focus, and regulate your feelings. This area addresses mental presence as well as taking time to stimulate your mind in areas that spark your interest.


  • Practice Gratitude: research shows that individuals who express gratitude have improved mood, increased happiness and levels of optimism and decreased stress rates.

    • Practice gratitude by keeping a daily log and writing down three things you are grateful for every day.

    • Try writing thank you notes to let people in your life know that you appreciate them.

    • Implement a few minutes of daily meditation, whether it's deep breathing or listening to a guided meditation, this practice can help clear your mind and help you re-center on what is truly important to you in the moment.

  • Limit Distractions: constant notifications and interruptions decrease your ability to concentrate, hinder productivity and make it difficult to live mindfully in the present moment.

    • Try turning off nonessential smartphone notifications while completing tasks that require your full attention.

    • Set specific times of day to check your email rather than constantly refreshing your inbox.

    • Avoid multitasking and give people speaking with you your full attention to show them that you value what they have to say.

  • Engage Your Mind: just like our bodies need physical activity to stay healthy, our minds need exercise too, and studies show that people who engage in hobbies report lower stress levels and higher overall mood.

    • Reading is a great way to engage your mind and is also a great practice to help increase your attention span.

    • Listening to music, playing an instrument and singing are all healthy habits that are linked to improved emotional management abilities.

    • Gardening is a healthy hobby that engages your mind, gets you time in fresh air and can help you achieve a healthy diet. Consider finding a community garden to participate in if you are looking for ways to improve your social and community dimensions of wellness.

    • Try learning something new every day. Being an active learner has been found to increase one’s self confidence and sense of purpose. Consider listening to a podcast on your commute, learning to cook a new recipe or signing up for a class at a community center to learn a new skill.

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Physical

Taking care of your body allows you to optimally utilize your energy in order to improve your quality of life both today and in the future.


  • Prioritize Sleep: experts recommend people ages 18-64 sleep for 7 to 9 hours each night for optimal health and functionality.

    • Disconnect from all electronics and screens at least a half hour before bed to reduce your bluelight exposure and allow your body to produce melatonin which creates a natural feeling of tiredness as day turns to night.

    • Avoid consuming caffeine and alcohol in evening hours close to when you are going to bed. These substances can make it more difficult to fall asleep as well as diminish your sleep quality throughout the night.

    • Create a sleep schedule and pre-bed routine. Creating a healthy routine to implement 30 to 60 minutes before you go to bed at around the same time each night aids your brain in recognizing it is time to sleep and can help decrease stress. Bedtime routine activities may include: meditating, reading, taking a warm bath, listening to calming music or drinking some caffeine free tea.

  • Move Your Body: physical activity helps strengthen bones and muscles, can reduce the likelihood of getting certain diseases, improves sleep quality and is linked to brain health and reduced depression and anxiety.

    • Consider walking or biking to work as a way to fit activity into your daily routine and reduce your carbon footprint.

    • Try going to the gym, participating in an exercise program or engaging in a recreational sport you enjoy a few days a week as a way to exercise and meet new people.

  • Consume a Healthy Diet: the food you eat to nourish your body has a major impact on your well-being and can affect your likelihood of experiencing chronic diseases as well as impact your mental clarity and brain functionality.

    • Eat healthy snacks throughout the day to stabilize your blood sugar level and provide a consistent energy supply as fuel. Try snacks with high protein and low sugar such as veggies and nuts.

    • Hydrate throughout the day. Water carries nutrients throughout your body and helps regulate body temperature, blood pressure and heartbeat. Individuals' daily water consumption recommendations vary, but general guidelines suggest consuming around 64 ounces or eight cups daily.

    • Limit or eliminate your alcohol consumption. Alcohol is linked to diminished concentration, mood and memory. Further, drinking alcohol can increase your likelihood of developing health issues including dementia, stroke, liver cancer and stomach cancer.

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Social

Creating and maintaining healthy relationships can help you create a support network and feel connected to those around you.


  • Build Healthy Relationships

    • Call the people you love to catch up, check in and maintain a positive relationship.

    • Make eye contact and actively listen to people you are speaking with in order to show them respect.

    • Honor the commitments you make to spend time with others and try not to flake on others; before making plans check your schedule and remember to budget time for self-care too.

  • Use Technology to Your Advantage

    • Participate safely in social networking sites to meet like-minded people.

    • Cultivate a healthy social media feed by unfollowing accounts that post content that may negatively impact your day and follow accounts whose posts add positivity to your life.

  • Participate: there are community activities such as VT Engage workshops and events.

  • Join a Club or Hobby Group: meet people with common interests.

  • Allow Yourself Opportunities: recharge your social battery so that you don’t get overwhelmed or burnt out. This can be done by spending time with yourself doing things like reading, listening to music, journaling, making art/creating something or simply allowing yourself to lounge.

  • Show Gratitude: Try to notice what you appreciate about the people in your life, and let them know the way you feel; this can be done verbally, with a handwritten note, in a text or through your actions. Actions to show gratitude include spending time with the people you care about or giving someone you appreciate a gift. Gifts can be as big or small as you’d like, some ideas may be flowers or a home-baked treat.

  • Work in Spending Time with Others:Try to fit in spending time with others into your daily routine in ways such as carpooling to work/commuting with a friend, finding a gym-buddy, or spending your lunch break with a coworker.

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Community

Having a sense of community provides opportunities to further your health in dimensions related to healthy relationships and a sense of purpose which all come together to ultimately allow an individual to reach optimal overall wellness.


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Financial

Your financial security related to savings, investments, credit and retirement as well as your ability to budget your spending and plan for your future are all affected by and play a role in your well-being.


  • Educate Yourself: learn effective money management techniques.

  • Test Out Altering Your Daily Spending Habits

    • Try a spending detox and set a duration of time for which you strive to only spend on the essentials (food, gas, etc) in order to see how much you can save towards your future financing needs.

  • Make a plan

    • Create a long term financial plan and be sure to review it and update it so that it remains relevant and achievable.

    • Set realistic financial goals that keep you motivated and accountable.

    • Create a budget and track your spending so that you spend your money diligently and ensure you maintain healthy credit.

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Purpose

This dimension of wellness centers around your personal values and what motivates you and brings meaning to your life each day.


  • Be Intentional

    • Try to set daily, weekly or monthly goals and reflect each day to evaluate if your actions align with your intentions.

    • Volunteer your time or work for an organization that you believe in; dedicating your time and skills towards an area you are passionate about is a great way to feel a sense of purpose in your life.

    • Ask yourself “why” before engaging in a task or project to define the meaning behind the activity before you begin in order to stay motivated on tasks that align with your values and reduce time spent on tasks lacking in purpose.

  • Recharge

    • Spend a few minutes each day doing something that renews your energy such as journaling, spending time in nature or meditating.

    • Engage in personal and professional development to expand your skills and increase your impact on the world. Consider reading books about an area you hope to grow or registering for a workshop.

    • Say “no” to opportunities that do not align with your values or that will drain too much of your energy. Try to embrace “the joy of missing out” as you renew your energy and spend your time on tasks more important to you.