The Eight Dimensions of Wellness
Click/Tap each icon for information about each Dimension of Wellness and related resources
For immediate help, students can call the UNC Counseling and Psychological Services 24/7 helpline at 919-966-3658.
Faculty and staff can call the Employee Assistance helpline at 877-314-5841.
For additional crisis and COVID-19 and Return to Campus Well-being – specific resources, see the links at the bottom of the page.
There are eight major dimensions of life that impact your overall wellness, and it is important to pursue or maintain healthy habits in each of these areas. Each dimension of wellness plays a role in your personal satisfaction and sense of well-being, and these dimensions are interconnected.
The experience of being human is a dynamic process, unique to every individual. It’s a personal journey evolving over a lifetime. Optimum wellness results from the intentional integration of eight fundamental dimensions of wellbeing, all of which require sound personal health choices relative to your own goals and values. By taking a mindful moment daily, weekly, or monthly to consider whether you are taking the necessary actions, and knowing at any point where one may be doing well and where one may need additional attention, we are more likely to find the balance and optimal wellness for which we are striving. Adjustments are often best achieved in small increments, not ‘all or none’ approaches. Making a change one or two steps at a time or making small incremental changes followed by self-evaluation is usually a process that works best for most of us. Try to remember the mantra, “progress, not perfection, is what I am striving for.”
Emotional wellness is a broad dimension that incorporates self-care, stress management, and self-regulation with one’s emotions.
- Understanding one’s self and adequately facing the challenges of life.
- Managing emotional reactions such as anxiety and depression (when they begin to limit one’s ability to function with confidence).
- Learning to manage emotional reactions to stress is critical in attaining emotional balance and well-being.
- Identifying an emotional area of concern and employing coping, persistence, and resilience skills when possible is an important factor to achieving wellness.
Health and wellness resources provided by WHO.
The following are articles published by the Greater Good Magazine at UC Berkeley:
Social wellness relies on developing healthy relationships with your family, friends, and community.
- Ability to successfully interact with people in our world.
- Participating in and feeling connected to your community.
- Enhanced by establishing supportive social networks through meaningful relationships with family, friends, and colleagues.
- Includes making friends and having fun in a safe and healthy way while using social skills (active listening, relating to others, expressing compassion and empathy, community engagement, expressing genuine interactions with others) –to make ourselves feel safe, included and supported.
- Important to realize we each have different personalities, previous life experiences and different likes/dislikes that may inform how, when, and where we prefer to interact with others.
- Regardless, it is important to take time to reflect on and understand what your own unique social preferences are and to appreciate and value those.
- It is helpful and healthy to stretch and challenge ourselves socially –but we all benefit from not trying to be something we simply are not.
Ideas for connecting with others, in person when possible or virtually:
- Work and study dates
- Dinners and happy hours
- Book clubs
- Hiking outdoors with friends or family
A website where you can find and participate in local in-person events and activities to find friends, share a hobby, or network.
Discover local events in your area.
Learn about 7 strategies for improving your social health including how to make connections, bond with your kids, build healthy relationships, shape your family’s health habits, etc.
In 2020, the Greater Good Science Center partnered with NationSwell and Einhorn Collaborative to produce a series of videos about some of the most exciting, science-based solutions to our social and political divisions. Here are some highlights from that partnership.
Spiritual wellness is composed of one’s personal beliefs and values – but does not necessarily have to be affiliated with a religion. This dimension of wellness aids us in the search for purpose in our lives.
- Recognizes our search for purpose in human existence.
- Involves cultivating meaning in life and finding connections to the world outside yourself.
- Works to align actions, beliefs, and values to promote wellness.
- Religion may play a part in spirituality but there are many different ways to explore and express spirituality depending on personal beliefs, cultural contexts, and upbringing.
- It is better to ponder the meaning of life for ourselves and to be tolerant of the beliefs of others.
- It is best to live each day in a way that is consistent with our values and beliefs –this promotes wellness and being true to oneself.
Audio with instructions to help you meditate. Paid mindfulness sessions also available.
Mindfulness and breathing exercises available online, at a reduced/free cost for students.
20-minute mindfulness sessions offered Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays at 12:15 pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8 am and 4 pm.
Mindfulness recordings for deep breathing and relaxation, guided imagery and visualization exercises, meditation, and progressive relaxation exercises.
Occupational wellness involves balancing your work, school, and home life, as well as gaining a sense of fulfillment with the work that you do.
- Personal satisfaction and enrichment through work/occupation.
- Fulfillment from the chosen career field while maintaining balance in life.
- The desire to contribute to a career to make a positive impact.
- Contribute unique gifts/skills/talents to work that is personally meaningful and rewarding
Self-paced course to help guide work-life balance.
Free tutoring services are available for Pharm.D. students through the Office of Curricular and Student Affairs and the Rho Chi Honor Society. It is highly recommended that students seek help from their course TA and Course Director if they have a grade lower than a B in any class.
Note: This is a free on-demand webinar. Registration is required to view the on-demand session.
In this webinar, two librarians and a counselor educator shared strategies for personal responses by individuals, allies and up-standers, and discussed ways to change workplace culture.
Free webinar series aimed at providing the latest research and case studies for protecting the safety and health of workers everywhere. Includes a variety of topics like Advancing Working Family Well Being, Sedentary Work, and Workplace Stress. Created by The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
Financial wellness involves being aware of your financial situation, including creating a plan for the future and understanding how different aspects of finance work.
- Acknowledges that everyone’s financial circumstances are different.
- Involves setting and achieving short and long-term personal financial goals within the context of resources available to us.
- Regardless of financial situation, we all benefit from thinking critically about what are our actual needs, versus wants, versus extras.
- Student loans can impact wellness –mounting student debt can be a stressor –so learning more about finances and repayment options is key.
- Credit cards can be a risk for students and the high interest they charge –students should only charge what is essential.
Free online financial education course.
Financial blog catered to medical professionals.
Budget tracking and planner app to help you manage your spending.
Video on financial and loan management. Note: ONYEN required to view.
Environmental wellness involves understanding how humans impact the environment and making choices that keep our planet healthy. Environmental wellness can be improved in a number of ways, such as by adopting environmentally-friendly or sustainable living practices, or by spending more time in nature.
- Achieved by gaining an understanding of the relationship between humans and their environment.
- Environmental circumstances can impact our health and wellness.
- The arena in which people interact with others through personal interaction or electronically.
- Example of a negative environment: peer pressure –bullying, character assassination, body shaming, personal attacks can have a negative effect
- Example of a positive environment –praise, compliments, and empathy can have a positive impact.
- How we set up the area we live, study, and socialize in.
- The area that we have the most control. §Our home can be our retreat and respite place and can turn there for relaxation/renewal.
- Important to make our living environment comfortable.
- The ecosystem around us –air, water, earth, plant life, wildlife–impact our health and wellness.
- Getting outside and experiencing nature in various ways is essential to well-being.
- Particularly connected to physical and emotional health
Learn about 7 strategies for improving your environmental health. More resources are available here too.
Work alongside other members of the Chapel Hill community to yield fresh sustainable produce.
Volunteer with other students at UNC to grow food that will be recirculated back into the Carolina Community.
Physical wellness consists of nutrition, exercise, and health care choices. There are a variety of ways to improve one’s physical wellness.
- Not considered a “one size fits all” when considering physical health, activity levels, and body size.
- Involves maintaining a healthy quality of life that allows us to get through our daily activities without undue fatigue or physical stress.
- Not only the absence of illness but also living a thriving, active life –whatever that means for the individual.
- Adopting healthy habits (e.g. routine medical exams, immunizations, balanced diet, daily exercise, sufficient rest, managing stress).
- Avoiding or minimizing higher risk choices and behaviors (e.g. tobacco, drugs, alcohol).
Track calories, exercises, and break down ingredients in foods with this app.
Information for popular hiking spots across NC.
Run with friends, and track your progress.
YouTube playlist featuring guided mindful meditation, yoga, strength and cardio workouts, dance parties and more.
Join the movement for free to get easy tips and tools to build healthy habits for life including tasty recipes, shareable tips, videos and hacks.
Free combinations of workouts for quick exercise throughout the day ranging from yoga to arm exercises to leg exercises to self defense and more.
Intramural Sports offer the opportunity for participants to compete against their peers in a friendly and structured environment through a variety of team sports and individual/dual activities that fit their needs.
Intellectual wellness is fostered by keeping your brain active and by continually learning.
- Involves opening our minds to new ideas and experiences (“growth mindset”) that can be applied to personal decisions, group interactions, and community betterment.
- Includes learning in and out of the classroom and using knowledge to inform future decision-making.
- Acknowledges that you are here to grow and develop your mind for both a solid experience and for your future career.
Become trained for psychological first aid.
A free online course by Yale Professor Laurie Santos that will engage in a series of challenges designed to increase your own happiness and build more productive habits.
Access online courses with subjects ranging from computer science, language, humanities, business and finances, etc. Most classes can be audited for free, or you can pay to receive CE credits or a certificate.
Campus Health appointments are being made by phone 919-966-2281 or you may request an appointment on the Healthy Heels Portal and a scheduling staff will call you back.
Eshelman Care Line
Call to speak to an OCSA representative:
CAPS (24/7 Phone Line)
Counseling and Psychological Services
Crisis Text Line
Text HOME to 741741 to connect with a Crisis Counselor
These resources are designed to be used as an initial “bridge” of support until you can establish yourself at a long-term care provider.
Office of Curricular and Student Affairs
The Office of Curricular and Student Affairs has student support (OCSA Student Support) and a virtual space for Pharm.D., Ph.D. and MS students, which can be accessed for immediate service. If you would like to speak to a member of OCSA, you may do so by clicking this link: OCSA Virtual Office between the hours of 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and from 1:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m.
Counseling and psychological services, addressing the mental health needs of students. Please only visit Campus Health after calling first (919-966-2281) and scheduling an appointment.
EAP is a program is for UNC employees that provides confidential counseling by phone (877-314-5841) 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You or family members may call or visit guidanceresources.com. at any time to receive counseling.
- First time users can create a free account using Web ID: TARHEELS
- On the go? Download the “GuidanceResources Now” app with web ID: TARHEELS
Peer2Peer is a student-led group that advocates for the mental well-being of the members within our community through peer support. We offer free one-to-one sessions to talk with a peer responder with the option of remaining anonymous. Open to any graduate and undergraduate students at UNC.
At Student Wellness, our focus is helping students excel academically and socially as they face many opportunities and challenges.
- Meet 1 on 1 with a professional coach as often as you request (usually weekly or bi-weekly)
- Sessions last 45-60 minutes and are private and virtual
- Coaching partnerships are long-term and can last anywhere from 3 to 6 months (or beyond)
- Areas of focus can include, but aren’t limited to: stress management, self-care practices, sleep hygiene or refining your life vision and values.
Provides resources and tips for protecting mental health and supporting each other during the COVID-19 pandemic
The following are articles published by the Greater Good Magazine at UC Berkeley:
The following podcasts have been released by the Greater Good Foundation from UC Berkeley:
Article providing tips to overcome fatigue from daily Zoom classes and meetings
Article providing tips on how to properly set up your home office
Provides helpful tips to staying focused during the quarantine.
A video from UNC regarding working from home.
At-home exercise and meal prepping videos.
Visit popular museums from across the world virtually.
Watch concerts online live.
Explore famous sites and watch live performances.
Article on emotions with returning to work and ways to deal with anxiety or safety concerns
Information with ways to ease the transition process into the office and self-care guidance
Short video on how to handle the workplace and deal with colleagues
Information geared for college students looking for ways to cope with returning to college and ways to handle feelings of nervousness and anxiety. NOTE: While originally written in Fall 2020, specifically sections “Are You Anxious About Returning to Campus,” and “How to Reduce Your Anxiety Next Semester.”