What is it?
As with most wellness related topics, intellectual wellness is defined in several different ways and can mean different things to different people. I’m partial to Northwestern’s simple and sweet definition: “recognizing one’s creative abilities and finding ways to expand knowledge and skills.”
I like this definition because it doesn’t focus solely on technical or factual knowledge/skills. The mention of creative abilities is important to me because I’m a strong proponent of the power of creating/making things as a therapeutic part of anyone’s wellness. Whether you like to paint, take pictures, act, cook, make furniture, or anything else, creating something is an invaluable part of wellness that can provide a healthy outlet to process emotions, a side hustle, or simply a fun hobby to relieve stress.
In addition, knowledge and skills in the more classical sense, are important parts of your personal growth. If these are stagnant, chances are you won’t feel like you’re making very much progress in your life and in your goals. Conversely, those who are constantly learning and invest in a lifetime of learning tend to be much more well rounded, healthier, and interesting individuals. So don’t stop learning kiddos.
Intellectual Wellness Inventory
Let’s get to my favorite part of these blogs: conducting our inventory! This is basically an assessment of each facet of your wellness. All you need is some time to think, and a couple of questions to ask yourself.
**Disclaimer** This only works if you’re honest with yourself. So, while the answers might not be ideal or nice to hear, you’ll want to get an HONEST idea of where you’re at in order to level up your intellectual wellness. Get it girl.
Do you have and make time for hobbies?
Do you have personal growth goals?
When was the last time you learned a new skill? Do you regularly learn new skills or expand on your existing ones?
Do you stay informed on current affairs?
Do you have a variety of interests?
Do you feel confident in your ability to engage in intellectual discussions?
Building Your Intellectual Wellness
- Check out an Online Learning Platform – SkillShare is an online database compiled of thousands of classes specializing in creative skills such as writing, painting, drawing, photography, and much much more. Udemy and Coursera provide an even more extensive library with a HUGE variety of courses that cover academic pursuits, technical skills, soft skills, and even entire degrees or certifications. Investing in a membership to an online learning platform is a great way to ensure you have constant access to continuous learning to create new knowledge, new skills, or simply build on existing ones.
- Read – Yes, one word. Whether you like fiction, non-fiction, or a mixture of both, reading is probably the BEST way to care for your intellectual wellness daily. You can read the news for as little as 5 minutes a day in the morning, read a fantasy book before bed for 20 minutes, or read a professional development book as part of your career growth. Whatever your tastes, make sure you’re reading every day, or at the very least every week.
- Keep up with the news – I know, I already mentioned the news. However, reading is not the only way to keep up with current affairs. In this digital age there are soo many ways of consuming the news, that there really is no excuse not to stay informed. Podcasts, tv, radio, Applenews/WSJ, etc. There’s no shortage of ways to keep up with what’s going on around you. This is important so that you can not only converse with others, but make informed decisions.
- Find and partake in a variety of hobbies – Hobbies might not seem like a necessity at first, but I am a HUGE proponent of making them a priority in your life. I believe you should have a hobby that gets you moving, a hobby that utilizes your creative brain, and a hobby that relieves stress. Overlap is fine! But take this as a place to start.
Intellectual wellness is an important facet of your wellness, and a primary way to care for your mind. When it comes to personal or professional growth, you simply CAN’T neglect this aspect of your wellness. However, I want to stress one thing. This should be fun, not stressful. There’s enough stress in the world. Find things that excite you, and ignite a passion for learning and development in you.
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