Wellbeing is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as: “the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy.”
You will, no doubt, have heard how you should pay more attention to your well-being, particularly over the last couple of years, but it can be all too easy to just ‘carry on’ because your sense of something within yourself not feeling right might be put down as being a ‘blip’ and therefore will ‘blow over’ or ‘get better with time’.
The notion of ‘just carrying on’ may feel stoic and often required by the person who has taken that decision, however, they are doing a huge disservice to themselves and all those around them.
Things worthy of your attention requires investment, whether it is your time, money or attitude.
An alteration to time and attitude to your well-being will improve every aspect of your life in which the normal challenges you face feel easier and the time spent on your own well-being as an opportunity for growth.
What is well-being?
Once you have recognised that you are ready to change the current way of looking after your well-being, it is important to understand which area of well-being needs more focus.
Everyone is different and, whilst many people need to evaluate their well-being in all areas, some may have a handle on certain aspects.
Well-being is not defined as just one factor.
Well-being is an amalgamation of a person’s mental, emotional, physical and social components that is complex and unique to every individual.
Whilst one person may feel emotionally ’off’, another person facing a similar challenge may feel they have control of that particular situation.
The four elements that define the state of a person’s well-being can be broken down further to ascertain if they are being looked after, even nurtured, adequately in order to ‘be well’.
If any of these four components is neglected, a person’s well-being is negatively affected, which will directly result in a consequence to their well-being.
Any way in which well-being can be improved can be considered and implemented relatively easily.
Mental health is not part of well-being that you can switch on or off. It will change as your overall well-being does.
Let’s use a seesaw as an example.
Picture a seesaw in the distance which holds your well-being on it, in boxes or bags placed at each end.
The left end is the passive, less active, maybe even calm, end.
The right is the energetic, ‘doing’, maybe even manic, end.
The idea is that if your mental well-being remains in a positive state, with the right amount of active and less active elements of your life and well-being, the seesaw will balance almost perfectly in an state of equilibrium.
It will constantly tip from side to side but if the seesaw tips too far, the boxes or bags in which you need to approach all aspects of life positively, with well-being in mind, should never slip down the seesaw or end up on the ground.
The benefits of good mental health are endless, however, might include:-
Improvement in moods
Reduction in anxiety
Better physical health with less ailments
Improvement in relationships
A greater sense of calm and inner peace
Reduced risk of depression
Whilst the list above is not exhaustive, it provides food for thought so that you can consider what you might need to focus on in order to achieve an overall sense of well-being.
Whilst mental health is a complex subject, provided you can break down exactly how you are feeling and why, the process becomes more simplistic for you, as a unique individual, to tackle the elements that are affecting your overall well-being.
The next three factors that make up your well-being: emotional, physical and social, play a major part in keeping your mental well-being perfectly balanced on the seesaw.
Different situations affect each person differently and there is no right or wrong as to how you feel emotionally.
The main point is that, provided you feel emotionally sound or stable, or even recognise why you feel a particular way, you can manage your emotions and maintain a positive emotional well-being.
Ways in which you can do this include:-
Practise something you are good at
A meaningful activity allows you to boost your confidence, believe in yourself and value your worth.
Asking for help when it is needed
The phrase ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ has merit. If you were able to thrash ideas, challenges and problems out with another person that you trust, another perspective can manage a troublesome situation more easily.
Take time out for yourself
It is easy to put people ahead of yourself and within the busy lives we lead, we can get into a habit of doing so. This might lead to you feeling resentful or even burned out so it is important to carve out some time for something that you enjoy doing, physically active or more reflective and calm.
Accept yourself for who you are
Do you really know who you are? Self-belief is one of the most valuable skills you can possess and the good news is that, with time, you can strengthen your own self-belief.
Being kind to yourself, not being overly critical and learning from the mistakes you make can only make you stronger and develop your growth as a person.
Keeping physically and mentally active and taking exercise regular exercise is released endorphins and so a physical benefit is realised. From that, you feel a sense of achievement and, in time, reward
“You are what you eat!”
By eating and drinking sensibly, paying more attention to the nutritional content of your diet provides you with the correct amount of fuel required for the level of activity in your daily life.
I have never believed the ‘bad’ food and drink should be cut out of anyone’s life - if you enjoy something, it can make you feel better but moderation is key.
I recall my ex-headmistress telling us, as we were approaching a period of revision for GCSE’s and A Levels, to make sure of one thing; and that that we had a good supply of chocolate! She was a very clever lady.
We all know how we feel if we are sleep deprived and whilst people have different requirements for sleep, it is important that we get enough for ourselves and that it is as undisturbed as possible in order to achieve a ‘deep’ sleep.
Managing stress effectively is a key skill that will reap dividends in your physical well-being. Finding the best way that you, personally, decompress is important so that in itself does not become a contributing factor of your stress.
When not managed, physical signs of stress can include: gastrointestinal issues including stomach upsets, high blood pressure (and the effects caused by it), headaches, chest pains and problematic sleeping patterns including insomnia.
Stress can also accelerate or worsen some symptoms in diseases or even bring stress on.
Maintaining friendships and involving yourself in a community is important to remove the chance of feeling isolated. As life has become more virtual, it can be easy to keep people ‘out of sight, out of mind’ and so extra effort should be placed on diarising regular time to interact with people that make you feel better.
Putting a date in the diary with someone can keep you accountable and allow yourself to look forward to something social in your life.
Sharing your feelings with someone and, in turn, being caring towards others allows a trusting relationship to form and strengthen. These interactions are likely to empower you and make you feel closer to people in general.
If you concentrate on one aspect of your life, it may benefit you in the short-term, however, for you to thrive and follow a wholly healthy and balanced life, you need to pay attention to your mental, physical, emotional and social well-being.
Without positive well-being, you, as a person, cannot function optimally.
You are not giving yourself what you deserve and, in doing so, you are doing a disservice to yourself and those around you.
What will you do to improve your well-being?
If you are ready to become more productive in all aspects of your life, you need to prioritise your well-being first.
Get in touch to discuss how I can help.