Andrea Downes Silva Writes About Wellness

It has been a few months since I have posted a blog. If you remember reading my previous blogs you may recall that in November I ran my eighth marathon. I was getting back into the swing of things – I was, running, lifting weights, and spinning again.

However, a few weeks after the marathon my husband and I found out we were expecting another baby. Knowing that the pregnancy was considered an automatic high-risk given I gave birth to our first daughter at 23 weeks and 5 days, my active lifestyle immediately came to a halt…again. Even my collegiate teaching career was put on hold again to help me be as stress-free as possible in hopes of having a much longer pregnancy.

As excited as we are to be expecting again I have to admit I was (and still am) super bummed that I can’t even take our daughter on walks right now. I know firsthand the issues that can arise from having a premature baby but I really identify myself as being an “active” person and have been struggling with my “lack of athletic identity” since early December. So here I am – supposed to be the support for other parents and caregivers of preemies advocating an active and healthy lifestyle and I am unable to actively participate in any of my recommendations and I have really struggled with that the last few months (hence the lack of posts). For me personally, being active is a huge part of my (unpregnant) life. Then it dawned on me, there is more to a healthy lifestyle and being “well” than just being active. Being healthy is just a small part of wellness.

According to researchers (Corbin, Welk, Corbin, and Welk; 2006, p. 5) WELLNESS is:

The integration of many different components…that expand one’s potential to live (quality of life) and work effectively and to make a significant contribution to society. Wellness reflects how one feels (a sense of well-being) about life as well as one’s ability to function effectively…

Being “well” is individual – meaning everybody’s ideal concept of wellness is different. We all have limitations and as well as strengths all of which differ from person to person. What is pivotal to wellness is knowing and using your strengths and learning how to work with your weaknesses.

For example, I am very detailed oriented. Telling my husband exactly how I want something done has always been a bit of an annoyance to him until our daughter came early. He quickly found that my skill of extreme detail was a huge asset to the quality of care our daughter receives. I have diligently kept track of every single morsel of food my daughter has eaten since she came home from the NICU almost two years ago. I have detailed notes of all her doctor’s appointments as well as her therapy session notes. I keep copious notes regarding her insurance benefits, claims, bills, and all correspondence with insurance representatives. Bottom line…What was once thought of as an annoyance my husband has realized has been crucial when caring for our daughter and we have focused on that strength in continuing to care for her and now preparing for our second child.

Likewise, a weakness I had to work on was sharing my opinion to doctors and specialists about my daughter’s care once she was out of the NICU. Once my daughter’s g-tube was placed we followed the nutritionist’s advice very carefully. However, when my daughter wasn’t making any progress getting off the tube I quickly realized I needed to speak my mind and share what I knew my daughter was capable of doing and it was only then that I began to see her making strides towards getting off the tube. It has been a long 18 months with the g-tube but I am happy to say that we haven’t had to use the tube the last three days!!

We all have strengths and weaknesses, that’s a given. Part of the wellness concept is just figuring out what they are and using them to your advantage!

For the best possibility of wellness it is essential to find positive feelings about each wellness dimension (see dimensions below) and in the next few months I will be highlighting these various dimensions of wellness and sharing how to attain a healthy picture of wellness!

The Dimensions of Wellness
Negative Wellness Dimensions Positive
 Depressed Emotional-mental Happy







Lonely Social Involved
Unfulfilled Spiritual Fulfilled
Negative Total Outlook Positive

Image: Corbin, Welk, Corbin, and Welk; 2006, p.5

Complete reference: Corbin, C.B.; Welk, G.J.; Corbin, W.R.; and Welk, K.A. (2006). Concepts of physical fitness: Active lifestyles for wellness. McGrawHill, New York, NY.

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About The Author: Andrea Silva