How Are Wholistic Wellness and Community Related?
Naomi Adjei, Prayer and Care Associate Director at Good News Church, Omaha, Nebraska
How a counselor found a connection between wholistic wellness and community
By Adriana David
OMAHA, NEBRASKA – Growing up in the West African country of Ghana, family and community were always central to Naomi Adjei’s life. Although Naomi only has one biological sister, she grew up in a communal setting. Everyone from Naomi’s aunties to cousins were involved in her life, and she spent every summer with her grandmother.
But it wasn’t just family who was a part of this style of living. Their home was always open to anyone who needed help.
Naomi remembers a time when pastors from other areas would come to live with her family. Many times these pastors were poor, but Naomi’s family was always excited to show them hospitality.
From the time she was young, Naomi’s faith in God has also made her who she is. Being rooted in Christ spurs on Naomi to go the extra mile and build strong community inside and outside of the church.
With Naomi’s mother being a daring prayer warrior and her dad being extremely ambitious, they have both influenced Naomi in unique ways. Although Naomi’s parents remain back home in Ghana, she maintains a great relationship with them.
Naomi originally came to the United States to attend Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. While studying there, she came to find her church home at Walnut Creek. This church impacted and blessed her in many ways.
She mentions how Campus Fellowship at Drake was so refreshing for her spirit. After graduating from Drake with her degree in Biology in 2010, Naomi went on to earn her Master’s degree in Counseling from Grace University in Omaha.
One takeaway from Naomi that everyone can benefit from is learning to see yourself as a body, soul and spirit, all of which make up who you are as an individual.
Too many times, people see themselves as just one of the three components, and not all three as a whole. When we begin to see ourselves and others as a whole person, we are able to love others better. When we see ourselves as three parts, we live with what Naomi calls wholistic wellness.
Naomi’s grandmother surrounded by her grandchildren in Ghana in August 2017.
Naomi’s experience with wholistic wellness
Because she knows that looking at the entire person is important for wholistic wellness, Naomi is now a Licensed Mental Health Counselor at Good News Church in Omaha, Nebraska.
Naomi’s faith, love of building strong communities, and love for counseling others led her to start a lifestyle Instagram page called “Wholistic Care,” which is focused on having a healthy spirit, soul, and body.
Naomi stresses that having a complete picture of these three human components is crucial for wholistic wellness.
Wholistic wellness: The soul
Naomi points out that building great community and going to see a mental health counselor is extremely important for the soul.
Naomi is also an advocate of maintaining healthy boundaries in relationships. In addition, Naomi strongly promotes taking rest, gratitude practices, and doing relaxation practices whenever she is able to.
Wholistic wellness: The body
Naomi, a proponent of keeping your whole self well, advocates keeping the body well, in addition to the soul and the spirit. Being physically well directly impacts your daily life.
For the keeping the body well, Naomi recommends the following:
- Eat healthy. Healthy eating habits can be immensely beneficial for wholistic wellness.
- Start with simple exercises, such as lifting light weights.
- Try for a 20-minute workout time, such as a walk around the neighborhood, at least three to four times per week.
Sharing exercise tips, healthy recipes, and other wellness information about the three human dimensions over the Instagram platform is important to Naomi.
Ultimately, in light of her life experiences, Naomi chooses to live her life by putting her focus on being intentional with others.
She is purposeful when it comes to exemplifying a healthy, wholistic life to others. She is not the type of person who just preaches what she doesn’t practice herself.
Naomi with her mom and sister.
Wholistic wellness: The spirit
Naomi is also an advocate of keeping the spirit well. Keeping the spirit well will impact your relationships with others. When the spirit is well, communities become stronger.
For the spirit, Naomi recommends a variety of basic ways to build community in the church specifically. Her list includes the following:
- Take charge and connect with someone new at church each week. “This could be as simple as a smile,” Naomi says.
- Serve on a ministry team, such as a prayer or worship team. Helping others in a group setting connects people and makes them stronger.
- Go to a small group, which can be a non-threatening way to get involved with other church members.
- Host events in your home for people you know from your church. “I personally love Hallmark nights,” Naomi says.
- Be bold about asking a congregant of your church out for lunch or coffee. “Face-to-face conversations are powerful,” Naomi says.
- Form a relationship with someone older than you in the church and be dedicated to not only helping them but also learning from them.
- Attend prayer meetings if your church holds them. Prayer is an extremely powerful tool.
- Host or attend baby showers and bridal showers for a church member. “Celebrate others well,” Naomi says.
- Take a trip with fellow church members or go on a church retreat.
- Text Bible verses and prayers to church congregants who may be in need of encouragement.
Naomi’s hopes for the future of wholistic wellness
In terms of the future, Naomi hopes to turn “Wholistic Care” into a non-profit and intends to hire coaches to act as mentors for clients. In addition, Naomi would love to start a Christian retreat center, where people come to learn to journal and other healthy habits.
When Naomi obtains her Ph.D., she wants to start an outreach for elderly people.
Like many others, Naomi notices that elderly people seem to be overlooked in society oftentimes. She also would love to help caregivers of elderly people feel more wholistically well.
Overall, her goal in life is to help others “live life better.”
Naomi will embark upon a new chapter in her life when she begins her PhD in Gerontology in August 2020. She plans to obtain her degree from the University of Nebraska Omaha.
Adriana David is a 2018 Journalism graduate of the University of Nebraska Omaha. She has had unique and irreplaceable experiences inside and outside of the church. She also is interested in the areas of diversity, disability, and international affairs.