How are you going? What do you think your family or friends might say about you? If you were to think about your own wellbeing, or even that of someone else, what might you consider? Have you wondered what wellbeing looks like? Here are some questions that may help you contemplate your own wellbeing:
- Do you experience a sense of contentment or peace?
- Are you able to find time for rest and play, not just for work?
- Do you feel you have the capacity to deal with adversity?
- Do you feel you have the flexibility to learn new things and adapt to change?
- Are you able to experience a sense of meaning and purpose?
If you feel you are missing any of these things in your own experience, here are some proven strategies you can try for yourself to help build and maintain your own sense of wellbeing:
- Seek to spend time outside and be active. Exercise can help relieve stress, improve your memory and help you get better sleep. It also stimulates your serotonin levels, which can lift your mood and energise you. You don’t need to be a fitness fanatic to benefit from this. So if this is something that hasn’t been a priority, simply start small and build it into your routine, like a taking a regular walk.
- Learn to manage stress. Stress is a part of life, not something that can to be eliminated. Positive stress can help us stay motivated and alert. But if we experience too much stress for too long, it can be detrimental to our health, including our immune system. So make leisure time and rest a priority. Deal with the concerns that you have control over, and accept the fact that there is uncertainty in some things. When you do relax, involve your senses, take time for reflection, and practice thankfulness.
- Eat well and enjoy recreational activities. What you eat and drink not only impacts your body, it can affect your mood and your energy levels (too much salt, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, refined carbs and fried food won’t do you any favours). Similarly, regularly taking time out to do recreational activities you enjoy will feed your soul. So take the time to develop some healthy eating and recreational habits.
- Get enough quality sleep. Prepare yourself for sleep with routine, and make sure your environment is conducive to sleep. By doing this you can keep your body clock working in your favour. Preparation for sleep is best done by ensuring you have down time before sleeping. This means time free from work related activity, stressful situations, and from screens (like television and social media). Quality sleep is good for both your mental and physical health.
- Find meaning and purpose in your activities. Be involved in things you care about. Take time to give to others, not only with your family and friends, but also in your work and in the wider community. Volunteering in schools, churches and charitable organisations can provide you with plenty of opportunity to enrich the lives of others as well as your own. Try to do things that challenge you and that you feel are productive.
- Lastly, but most importantly, work on your social connection – with family, and friends as well as people generally. As individuals we are all very different and have various social needs, but we all have one thing in common – we have been created for relationship with others, and with the world we live in. Having a quality face to face relationship, with at least one person who listens is stress relieving and mood enhancing. And when you find some relationships to be a source of stress, try to practise some Biblical wisdom: “if possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18).
I hope, as you invest into your own wellbeing, you might be enriched and that those around you might also be enriched.
Mrs Yvonne Crawford/ Counsellor