The 5 Pillars of Wellbeing

It is useful to look at wellbeing as being made up of 5 sections; physical, mental, financial, social and environmental.

Leah Heath

Wellbeing Advisor

June 21, 2021

Wellbeing is becoming a buzzword in the business world. Whether your company is offering yoga sessions before work or signposting you to your Employee Assistance Programme, more and more are claiming to be doing all they can to improve employee wellbeing.

But wellbeing is not simple, it is made up of several different aspects. These facets interweave with one another and work together to create a person’s overall wellbeing.

It is useful to look at wellbeing as being made up of 5 sections; physical, mental, financial, social and environmental. You might have seen different variants of this model on LinkedIn or from your management team. However, something important to note is that this model is not all-encompassing, set in stone, or the only way to consider wellbeing. Like any good project, it is agile, open to interpretation and will naturally evolve as we learn more about what contributes to a person’s wellbeing.

So with that being said, let’s look at each section a little bit closer…

Firstly, there is physical wellbeing. This is what is usually thought of when discussing traditional physical health. Taking care of your physical health ensures that your physical wellbeing is being provided for. Things such as getting the right amount of exercise and ensuring that your diet is healthy contribute to positive physical wellbeing. Plus, exercising doesn’t only help you become physically healthy, you will also get a good dose of endorphins, the feel-good hormone!

Which relates to the second pillar, mental wellbeing. Mental wellbeing is very much at the forefront of conversations for many businesses, this is because it can severely affect people’s work. If someone has positive mental wellbeing they may feel happy, motivated and in turn, more productive. On the other hand, if it is negative, the opposite is true. Like physical, mental wellbeing is best taken care of proactively, but of course with reactive methods as a back-up in case they are needed.

Thirdly, a pillar we are very familiar with at WorkLife by OpenMoney, financial wellbeing. Financial wellbeing is becoming much more recognised of course, on its own merit but also due to the impact it can have upon the other pillars. Having financial wellbeing is having security and feeling as though you have enough money to meet your needs. Without this, your health and sense of wellbeing can be negatively impacted.

Fourthly, social. Social wellbeing comes from regular, positive social contact from specific persons or groups of people. This is everything from your friends and family to your colleagues. It can come from other groups also such as sports teams, churches and volunteer organisations. Ultimately, it is to do with relationships and feeling a sense of purpose in social groups. Having a good balance of dependence and independence also ensures positive social wellbeing.

Lastly, environmental wellbeing. This sector of wellbeing is not as well-known as some of the others. It is to do with the environment we are in and how we interact with it. Like other areas, environmental wellbeing can be extremely personal. It can be made up of how much light we have, whether we are spending enough time outside, if our workspace/house is cramped or cluttered, amongst other factors. This has been brought to light recently with many of us working from home.

It’s not difficult to see how each pillar might overlap, for that reason it is crucial to understand each aspect and the importance of caring for each one.

In addition to this brief introduction, we will be discussing the pillars of wellbeing in more detail in the first WorkLife Wellbeing podcast. Keep your eyes peeled for its release date!