Dimensions of Wellness

Wellness Wheel (Updated)


The wellness wheel illustrates a wellness model with eight dimensions: social, physical, emotional, occupational, spiritual, intellectual, environmental, and financial. All of the dimensions are interconnected and important to a well-rounded and balanced lifestyle. It reminds us we need to work in different aspects of our lives to increase our sense of well-being, focusing on just one area is not enough. 

When you lose balance within or between dimensions of the wheel, your sense of well-being decreases, and you can experience distress. The current situation with COVID-19 has the potential to take you out of balance. Luckily, bringing greater attention to one or more areas can also help us restore balance in others. For example, it can be easier to feel emotionally balanced when our sense of social connection or physical wellness are maintained.

You may have a usual set of strategies to keep your balance during the school year that help you meet your external and internal demands. The current situation with COVID-19 may impact some of those strategies. Here are some tips to help you develop new strategies to assist you in meeting the demands of this challenging situation.

Using the wellness wheel

Learn about each dimension of wellness and related resources to help you take action:

Social Icon

What is it?

  • Emotional connections and healing interactions with others.
  • Meaningful relationships and interactions with others help you feel you are part of a greater community and not alone.
  • We're all in this together.

How your well-being can be impacted

  • Social distancing can make you feel isolated, alone, and disconnected. Not having regular meetings, going out with friends, and missing out on visits with family can make you feel disconnected and alone.
  • We encourage you to maintain meaningful interactions with your social supports while practicing social distancing.

Resources to maintain and restore your well-being
Feeling emotionally connected and having meaningful interactions is healing!

  • Use technology! You do not have to be constantly around your loved ones to foster emotional connections. Reach out through video calls, texts, and social media. Posting on social media is one thing, but having meaningful interactions with others through that platform is different. Think about how you can make interactions meaningful.
  • Article: How to build meaningful connections
  • LGBTQ+ Culture: Visit the Queer & Trans Resource Center to find real-time support and connection with the LGBTQ+ community at SF State. 
  • If you’re facing an issue that is affecting your ability to succeed at SF State, you can get help from a Student Advocate. Email the office to get in touch with an advocate who can remotely provide assistance and support. 
Physical Icon

What is it?

  • Taking care of your body – involving physical activity (not only going to the gym, this is an umbrella term for anything you do to create movement), making sure you have a balanced diet, increased awareness of physiological signs of stress.
  • Health and safety, movement, nutrition, and sleep.

How your well-being can be impacted:

  • If your physical exercise routine was outdoors, in the gym or in groups, this has likely been limited by recent events.
  • It can be especially hard to create a new routine of physical activity when you need to stay at home. It could feel so overwhelming that you just decide not to try. That feeling is normal!
  • Also, check-in with yourself, you could be experiencing stress symptoms such as muscle tension or rapid and superficial breathing.

Resources to maintain and restore your well-being:
Physical exercise can be anything that makes your body move.

Health and safety

  • Have a health concern? The Student Health Center medical clinic is available to all students. The health center gives you access our highly skilled providers from the comfort of your home. You can use a virtual visit for many common concerns which might include, but are not limited to things like as acne, allergies, athlete’s foot, heartburn, etc. This is an easy way to connect with campus health resources, even though you might not be in San Francisco. Make an appointment by calling 415-338-1251 or visiting the website.
  • You might use nicotine products to cope with stress from school, work, or family expectations. The Student Health Center’s tobacco and vaping cessation counselors can help you kick the habit. Services are free for all SF State students. 



  • With sudden changes in routines and outside stress, it can be hard to eat right. The Student Health Center can help you take charge of healthy eating. Make an appointment by calling 812-855-7688. Your first appointment is free and virtual visits are available.
  • There are lots of online tools to help you make the best food selections based on your dietary needs and preferences. Check out MyPlate.
Emotional Icon

What is it?

  • Has to do with your emotional life - being aware and validating your feelings and emotional reactions to different situations.
  • Includes your ability to cope with stressors and difficult circumstances. 
  • Resilience in times of uncertainty. 

How your well-being can be impacted:

  • The current situation can be uncertain at times, feeling fearful or experiencing a sense of loss of your previous routine and plans is expected.
  • Watching the news constantly does not help decrease the uncertainty, it could actually make your fear even more intense. It’s important to strike a balance between staying informed and not obsessing over media.

Resources to maintain and restore your well-being:

SF State Resources

  • Make a 30-minute virtual appointment with a Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) counselor. Schedule by calling 812-855-7688. 
  • The Equity Programs & Compliance Department provides support to students who are impacted by sexual assault, harassment, discrimination, relationship violence, stalking, or other threats to personal safety. Get in touch with a Confidential Victim Advocate (CVA) by email or call (415) 338-2032
  • SF State's Health Promotion & Wellness offers a safe, judgment-free space for drug and alcohol use and recovery support through co. To connect with the team, call 812-856-3898 or email.

Community Resources

  • Community Behavioral Health Services provides mental health and substance use disorder treatment, education and support to communities. Get in touch by calling 800-355-6310.
  • Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital offers a wide range of services to support people with behavioral, psychiatric, and psychological needs. Learn more by calling 800-248-1199.
  • SF Services provides shelter, advocacy, housing, and legal services to survivors of domestic/dating violence, human trafficking, and sexual assault. Reach the 24/7 crisis line by calling 988.
Occupational Icon

What is it?

  • Has to do with making career and professional choices that could help you build an individual sense of fulfillment, and at the same time feeling you are contributing to the general society.
  • Continue contributing to your unique talents.

How your well-being can be impacted:
If you are close to graduation this situation may be activating stress because it is not clear how this will impact your short-term future. It may feel a lot of aspects of your next step are out of your control, and some are...

Resources to maintain and restore your well-being:

  • Keep perspective. One of the main characteristics of resilient people is that they maintain a “whole picture” perspective and avoid seeing crisis as insurmountable obstacles.
  • Here are some tips to foster and develop your resiliency
  • Continue to reach out to your academic and career advisors via Zoom.
Spiritual Icon

What is it?

  • Be a part of the common good.
  • Purpose and living a life that has your values as the main compass to make decisions and choices.

How your well-being can be impacted:

  • Your sense of purpose and values could be impacted by how you perceive other peoples’ choices, behaviors and realities during this time.
  • Reconnecting with your sense of purpose when so much has changed in such a short time can be challenging.

Resources to maintain and restore your well-being:

  • Two words: Viktor Frankl. This psychiatrist created Logotherapy after he survived the horrors of a concentration camp. His insights about finding purpose in the middle of adversity are inspiring, validating, and empowering.
  • Meditation can help reduce stress and calm anxiety. Try one of these free mobile apps to get started: Breathe2Relax, Headspace, Calm.
  • Get a coloring book
  • Yoga
  • Practice positive self-talk and thinking
  • Take care of yourself
Intellectual Icon

What is it?

  • The ability to engage in creative and critical thinking.
  • How much you value learning and intellectual curiosity.
  • Stay informed.

How your well-being can be impacted:
The impact of stress in our cognitive abilities is real. You could be experiencing difficulties concentrating, increased procrastination, and loss of interest in schoolwork.

Resources to maintain and restore your well-being:
Some tips to “jump start” intellectual well-being when your academic life has changed so much (moving to online classes, cannot meet with study groups, cannot attend office hours) are:

  • Create a soothing workstation
  • Contact classmates and set-up virtual study sessions
  • Contact your instructor to problem-solve obstacles
  • Stay informed by reading news from a trusted, reliable source like the CDCWHO, or California Department of Public Health.
Environmental Icon

What is it?

  • An understanding of environment in a comprehensive way.
  • It includes your immediate physical environment, as well as your community and broader environment.
  • Make your workspace work for you.

How your well-being can be impacted:
Currently, one prominent worry is for the whole community.

Resources to maintain and restore your well-being:

Financial Icon

What is is?

  • Current financial situation and resources.
  • Navigate through difficult times.

How your well-being can be impacted
You may be worried about funding, your current or future job, and upcoming bills. You may be also worried about your family and friends' financial situations.

Resources to maintain and restore your well-being

  • Problem-solving out loud with a supportive person can help decrease overwhelming feelings triggered by fear.
  • Explore how you can help others! Solidarity is healing.
  • SF State x iGrad Financial Wellness
  • SF State Basic Needs has funding available to assist students who qualify and are facing a critical financial crisis. Apply for help.

Are you in need of food resources?

Any questions, comments or concerns can be directed to our Wellness Student Managers at gatoroutdoors@sfsu.edu, our Accessibility and Inclusion Coordinator Sachi Sakamoto at ssakamoto@sfsu.edu or our Fitness and Wellness Coordinator Sabrina Sousa at ssousa@sfsu.edu


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