My university–like many others around the nation–will institute “Wellness Days” next semester instead of sending everyone home for Spring Break (which is canceled). My syllabus will include several of these “Wellness Days.” It’s such a fun phrase to consider. What would happen on your Wellness Day if someone gave you one?
As you know, I think about wellness and mental health every day; I say that managing mental health is a full-time job for some of us. I’m sure you know the usual rituals of wellness that include nutrition, exercise, sleep, relationships, gratitude journals, less social media, etc., but today I’d thought I’d offer some unusual rituals of wellness I’ve learned over the years. I add these to my wellness toolbox of journaling, gratitude, daily walking, nutrition, laughter, and prayer.
These practices create a kind of “soul wellness” that we often forget in our attempt to create physical well-being. Here are my top 5 Unusual Wellness Rituals that promise blessing and reward in the Bible:
- Forgive someone who has hurt you (Matthew 6:14).
- Bless other people with a gift or an act of service, especially your enemy (Luke 6:28).
- Do things “in secret” like prayer, giving, fasting (Matthew 6:4; 6:6).
- Sow peace instead of stirring up controversy (James 3:18; Proverbs 10:12).
- Share resources with others who need them (Isaiah 58:7-9).
Why are these rituals of wellness? Well, when we forgive, we cleanse our heart from bitterness that corrupts the soul. When we bless others, we take our eyes off ourselves and our needs and gain a special joy; we know as Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than receive.” Next, Jesus tells us how our Heavenly Father rewards “what is done in secret” in regard to prayer, giving, and fasting. We build up our inner life away from public perception and public performance. We also know that as we sow peace, we “reap a harvest of righteousness” and give our lives a break from constant tension and drama.
But perhaps most significantly, we read in Isaiah 58 how, if we meet the needs of those around us, we’ll experience a special kind of well-being. We read this: “Your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.”
So when I think about my “Wellness Days,” I remember to ask what Jesus tells us about a lifestyle that puts us on a path to well-being. When I enact the 5 Unusual Rituals of Wellness, I find greater and greater well-being that goes deep into my soul.