When we think of wellness, we tend to think of it in terms of our physical health. But in 1976, Dr. Bill Hettler introduced us to the idea that wellness encompasses every aspect of our lives. He came up with the idea of multiple dimensions of wellness, such as physical, social, mental, and emotional health.
Since we now think of health as something with multiple aspects, it makes sense to think of self-care in the same way. And for those with health conditions that leave them wheelchair-bound, this full view of self-care is especially useful. Ahead, we’ve collected our top self-care tips for wheelchair users.
Exercise is a foundational part of physical health. Beyond that, it helps produce the feel-good hormones called endorphins. In other words, moving makes you feel better. And though to the outside world, exercise seems like an impossibility for wheelchair users, this is far from the case. There are plenty of fun and interesting ways to get moving from a wheelchair, including:
- Joining a wheelchair-friendly sports club
- Chair yoga
- Wheelchair dance lessons
Additionally, personal trainers can lead you through seated exercises perfect for your mobility level.
Human beings are social creatures. This is evidenced by the fact that isolation can lead to increased risks of heart problems, anxiety, and even early death. Sometimes, the best thing we can do for ourselves is spend time with other people. Unfortunately, this is often easier said than done. If your social circle is small, here are a few ways to bring new people in:
- Start a class or activity.
- Become a regular at a local restaurant or shop.
- Join a faith-based organization.
- Go to local events like farmers markets or festivals.
- Talk to people at places you visit regularly, like grocery stores.
The key is to get out and be surrounded by people, even if you aren’t actively talking to one person. But when you’re out and about, simply saying hi to those around you can lead to deep friendships later.
For some, self-care means a quiet night in. But as a wheelchair user, you’ll find that you’ve spent a lot of time inside four walls. The best self-care for wheelchair users is to get out and explore someplace new. If you can, invest in a wheelchair-accessible minivan and try to see some new sights.
This doesn’t have to mean a road trip across the country. Simply visiting a local museum, taking yourself to a nail shop, or going to a park can be enough. The goal is to break up the monotony and remind yourself that you’re capable of seeing the world. That’s the kind of self-care that will help you when you return to the everyday grind.