The Five Keys to Wellness

Apr 1st, 2020

These days, we’re all understandably stressed over unforeseen circumstances we have no control over. Here at the hospital, we’ve been working long hours to prepare for a potential surge of patients should COVID-19 impact our community in a significant way. I’m happy to say that we are now as prepared as we can be. Throughout the month of March, which was so busy with planning and preparations, I’ve personally found comfort in using my favorite health maintenance system: The Five Keys to Wellness.  

We have many staff and community members who are “Wellness Ambassadors” having graduated from Wellness University™, which the hospital sponsored. I’m providing a link to the workbooks we used for all to access, and hope you find the information  inspiring and helpful.  As a quick overview, Wellness is maintained by paying attention to our daily lives on four levels:  Physical, Mental, Emotional and Spiritual Health. To accomplish this, there are five simple keys or exercises: Self-Love, Breathing, Positive Choices, Balance and Trust. Let’s look at each.

Self-Love – We start with the most challenging key as our level of wellness is often revealed in our thoughts and words. Try to use only positive words and catch any negative thoughts.  When you catch a negative thought or word, flip it. Notice your use of “shoulda, woulda, coulda and have to’s“ and flip those thoughts. For example, instead of saying “I have to do my laundry,” flip it to say, “I love having clean, fresh clothes to wear.” (Mental & Spiritual Health)

Breathing – The easy, quick solution to reducing anxiety and stress is practicing deep breathing, or belly breaths, on a regular basis. For example, inhale for 6 counts, hold for 7 and exhale for 8.  Do this three times and you will find that it is physically impossible to be stressed when you are deep breathing. (Physical & Emotional Health)

Positive Choices – Every moment we make a choice, so ask yourself, does that choice add to your health or subtract from it?  Check in each day on major choices of Self-care, Intake, Movement, Environment, People and Sleep and, if you don’t feel well, make fewer negative choices. (Physical & Mental Health)

Balance – The 24 hours in each day are a gift and, when you are balanced, you will find that time is plentiful and life is often enjoyable (Even when working!)  Balance is paying attention to what you do with your time and not OVERDOING. For example, sitting and screen time can be balanced with walking outside or stretching to music. Try to keep track of each hour of a 24-hour day and notice if you are overdoing something and, if so, simply re-balance it with another activity. (Physical & Emotional Health)

Trust – When we hold a belief that we are evolving with every experience, we realize that the challenges we face help us to grow. The best exercise to increase trust is to practice gratitude. I, for instance, am incredibly grateful for our hospital team each and every day, but especially during this pandemic. (Emotional & Spiritual Health)

Many are doing all we can to stay safe and it is very much appreciated!  I hope this also helps inspire us to stay well.

In good health, 

Kelly Mather 
CEO
Sonoma Valley Hospital

Sonoma Valley Hospital Foundation