I don’t know about you, but when I think of wellbeing – yoga retreats, mindfulness, eating well and green tea spring to mind. That is the wonderful power of marketing (OK, with a dash of research thrown in). While this is exactly what constitutes wellbeing for some; others couldn’t think of anything worse (my husband being one of those people).
The Oxford Dictionary defines wellbeing as ‘general health or happiness’. So, being healthy and happy. Naturally, businesses are responding to this as there is an increase in people striving for wellness.
To me, wellbeing is also a feeling of contentment, or inner calm. Wellbeing is about what makes us feel, well. If you make a note of things (or indeed, places such as that in the image) that give you a sense of contentment or inner calm, your list may be different to anyone else’s. Wellbeing is subjective; it is personal and individual to you, and you alone.
This reminds me of a conversation I had with a group of undergrad students last year. We were discussing strategies for relieving stress. I explained how much I loved being high-up in the mountains and professed ‘it is good for the soul’. They responded, ‘but there is nothing to do?’ My immediate thoughts were, ‘that is exactly why I go there!!’
Take a moment to consider what wellbeing means to you. What makes you feel content, healthy, and happy?
For me, my thoughts lead to being outdoors either in the mountains or by the sea; the wilder the better. Though unfortunately, I cannot spend everyday mountaineering.
I also feel a sense of contentment when I feel healthy. For me, this is achieved by eating good homecooked food and staying hydrated. Taking time to prepare and cook also gives me a sense of wellbeing. Oh, and baking (and eating) cakes. That is also good for the soul. Although sometimes there is nothing better than sitting at home in front of a good film with a take away. For me, it is all about balance.
However, my sense of wellbeing is more than this. It comes from having a good group of friends (even if I don’t see them often), knowing my friends and family are OK, a long conversation with a friend I haven’t spoken to for a while, socialising, feeling like I have had a productive day at work, and challenging myself. By acknowledging this, I can easily break down what I need to do to maintain a sense of wellbeing in my daily life:
- Create a space specifically for work, if working at home.
- Make a tangible task list to help feel more productive.
- Create a space around the home where you can switch off (the garden, a favourite space to read in).
- Go for a walk outside, whatever the weather.
- Challenge yourself- read or learn something new.
- Make time to catch up with friends and family.
- Take time to prepare good food.
- Eat your meals at the table with the family.
- Bake (and eat) cake.
Remember, this list is subjective. Your list may be completely different, there is no wrong answer.
So, if you are reading this trying to inject a greater sense of wellbeing into your own life, I urge you to make a list of what makes you content. Then, write down what steps you can take each day to achieve that sense wellness. While yoga, mindfulness and green tea may help towards wellbeing, your strategy for wellness needs to focus on what constitutes wellbeing for you on a personal level. It seems simple. It is; it doesn’t need to be complicated.
I understand it is not always as easy as it sounds. There are sometimes circumstances beyond our control, and sometimes we come across people or situations which are best described as negative influencers. You may not be able to control someone else’s behaviour or a life situation, but you can control your reaction to it. If this sounds familiar, take some time to reflect how you can respond to the situation. That doesn’t mean to say you should be confrontational. Consider: what can you do at a personal level? Sometimes, just taking time to do something you enjoy can make all the difference and help put things into perspective; think about those suggestions you put on your action list.
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