Why our wellbeing is so important
Looking after our wellbeing
Our wellbeing should be important to us but has previously not been our priority. Since the pandemic we are rethinking and reordering our priorities. This has meant that we are now making our wellbeing a priority and by putting our wellbeing first, we are concentrating on our physical and mental health.
The four areas of wellbeing are: Spiritual, Emotional , Physical and Social.
Social well-being is about the meaningful relationships we share with others to make us feel valued and value others in return and gives us a sense of belonging.
Our meaningful relationships with our family, friends and colleagues build our support network. Our family and friends are the people we rely on for love and support, but we also get this from our work colleagues who are sometimes the people we see the most! Our support network see you when stressed or in a bad mood and lift you up.
Some tips to help us improve our social well-being are:
- Take time each day to be with your family. Trying to ensure you have dinner together is a great way to catch up and be together and chat about your day.
- Get dates in the diary to meet up with friends and stick to them.
- Switch off the TV and talk or play a game.
- Have lunch with a colleague
- Be there for family and friends who need support or assistance.
Emotional well-being is influenced by environmental factors, relationships, physical health, self-awareness, and stress. Being emotionally healthy does not mean being happy all the time, for us to be emotionally healthy we must experience both positive and negative emotions.
Some tips to help us improve our emotional well-being are:
- Give to others and be kind
- Check in on friends and family and colleagues, especially if you think they are struggling.
- Take up a new hobby.
Physical well-being: is about maintaining a healthy quality of life by maintaining a balanced healthy diet, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, keeping hydrated, getting out in the fresh air, getting enough rest, and regular good sleep. It has been proven that not only does physical well-being help with our physical health but also our mental health.
Some tips to help us improve our physical well-being are:
- Find free activities which you can get involved in which can help you to get fit
- Go for regular walks
- Start running. The couch to 5k training plans are a great way to get started if you are new to running.
- Look out for classes which you would find fun like tap dancing or Zumba.
- Take up swimming.
Spiritual well-being: Spiritual well-being is our sense of purpose and meaning in life. This includes our morals and ethics and can include religious activities but doesn’t have to. Our spiritual wellness helps us reduce stress, depression and anxiety. It lowers blood pressure and risk of hear disease. It strengthens our immune system and helps with our concentration and memory.
Some tips to help us improve our spiritual well-being are:
- Be present and pay attention to your thoughts, feelings and the world around you.
- Be mindful. Mindfulness can help you to enjoy life more and positively change the way you approach challenges.
- Spend time in nature
Leading a well balanced lifestyle were all aspects of our lives: relationships, work, fitness, health and emotional well-being, are balanced and taking time for ourselves means we can keep up with our responsibilities. Try to see your life as a whole instead of trying to compartmentalise each aspect. Allowing yourself to let go of control can help you find the right balance for you.
It is common to feel anxious or scared sometimes, most people experience these feelings from time to time. When it starts to affect your life and how you are feeling both physically and mentally, it is time to get help. It's not always easy to recognise when anxiety is the reason you're feeling or acting differently.
These are some of the physical symptoms of anxiety:
- faster, irregular or more noticeable heartbeat
- feeling lightheaded and dizzy
- chest pains
- loss of appetite
- feeling hot
These are some of the mental symptoms of anxiety:
- feeling tense or nervous
- being unable to relax
- worrying about the past or future
- feeling tearful
- not being able to sleep
- difficulty concentrating
- fear of the worst happening
- intrusive traumatic memories
- obsessive thoughts
The NHS recommend doing these to help reduce anxiety:
- try talking about your feelings to a friend, family member, health professional or counsellor. You could also contact Samaritans if you need someone to talk to
- use calming breathing exercises. Here are some examples the NHS suggest.
- exercise – activities such as running, walking, swimming and yoga can help you relax
- find out how to get to sleep if you're struggling to sleep
- eat a healthy diet with regular meals to keep your energy levels stable
- consider peer support, where people use their experiences to help each other
Meditation can give you a sense of calm, peace and balance that can benefit both your emotional well-being and your overall health. You can also use it to relax and cope with stress by refocusing your attention on something calming. Meditation can help you learn to stay centered and keep inner peace.
Through meditation, you are essentially deactivating your sympathetic nervous system. Initial studies have found that over time this practice can help reduce pain, depression, stress and anxiety.
Meditation comes in many forms and can be practiced almost anywhere, so long as you can be aware of your body and surroundings. Types of meditation vary throughout each person’s practice and can include breathing-based meditation, mindfulness practices, nature-based visualization, mantra and spiritual meditation. Meditation can be practiced alone, in a group or with a coach or therapist.
Health Benefits of Meditation
- Stress Reduction
- Anxiety Management
- Depression Management
- Lowers Blood Pressure
- Strengthens Immune System Health
- Improves Memory
- Regulates Mood
- Increases Self-Awareness
- Helps With Addiction Management
- Improves Sleep
If you are feeling stressed the first step to help yourself feel better is to identify the cause of your stress. What you should try to avoid is turning to something unhealthy such as smoking or drinking to help you cope.
According to Professor Cary Cooper (an occupational health expert at the University of Lancaster), the key to good stress management are building emotional strength, being in control of your situation, having a good social network and adopting a positive outlook.
These are Professor Cooper's top 10 stress-busting suggestions:
Be active: Exercise won't make your stress disappear, but it will reduce some of the emotional intensity that you're feeling, clearing your thoughts and letting you deal with your problems more calmly.
Take control: There's a solution to any problem. "If you remain passive, thinking, 'I can't do anything about my problem', your stress will get worse. That feeling of loss of control is one of the main causes of stress and lack of wellbeing."
Connect with people: A good support network of colleagues, friends and family can ease your work troubles and help you see things in a different way.
"If you don't connect with people, you won't have support to turn to when you need help. Talking things through with a friend will also help you find solutions to your problems "
The activities we do with friends help us relax. We often have a good laugh with them, which is an excellent stress reliever.
Have some 'me time': Here in the UK, we work the longest hours in Europe, meaning we often don't spend enough time doing things we really enjoy.
"We all need to take some time for socialising, relaxation or exercise,"
Challenge yourself: Setting yourself goals and challenges, whether at work or outside, such as learning a new language or a new sport, helps build confidence. This will help you deal with stress and by continuing to learn, you become more emotionally resilient as a person.
Avoid unhealthy habits: Don't rely on alcohol, smoking and caffeine as your ways of coping.
"Men more than women are likely to do this. We call this avoidance behaviour," says Professor Cooper. "Women are better at seeking support from their social circle."
Help other people: Evidence shows that people who help others, through activities such as volunteering or community work, become more resilient.
"Helping people who are often in situations worse than yours will help you put your problems into perspective,The more you give, the more resilient and happy you feel."
If you don't have time to volunteer, try to do someone a favour every day. It can be something as small as helping someone cross the road or going on a coffee run for colleagues.
Work smarter, not harder: Working smarter means prioritising your work, concentrating on the tasks that'll make a real difference. Leave the least important tasks to last and accept that your in-tray will always be full. Don't expect it to be empty at the end of the day."
Try to be positive: Look for the positives in life, and things for which you're grateful. People don't always appreciate what they have, try writing down 3 things that went well, or for which you're grateful, at the end of every day.
Mindful start to the day
Starting the day mindfully isn’t always an easy feat. In between hitting the snooze button for the fifth time and downing a strong coffee, there doesn’t seem like much time for a leisurely breakfast or meditation session. Taking a little extra time to create a meaningful morning routine really work wonders on our creativity, productivity and energy levels.
According to Mindful Chef these are the 6 morning rituals which will give you a mindful start to the day.
Get up early:
The only way to kick those bad morning habits is to get up earlier – after all, there’s nothing mindful about racing out the door, breakfast in hand.
This doesn’t mean waking up at the crack of dawn. Just setting your alarm for 30 minutes before your usual wakeup time can give you a few peaceful moments before anybody else wakes up. Whether you dedicate that time to meditation or a personal passion project, you won’t regret it.
Have a mindful check-in: If you can’t quite drag yourself out of bed as soon as the alarm clock rings, do not fear. Use this duvet moment as an opportunity to have a mindful check-in.
Take the time to ask yourself a few questions:
Is there anything worrying you? What do you want to get out of the day? Is your mind calm or racing? Just a few minutes of mindfulness opens your awareness to the present moment, helping improve your focus and regulate your emotions.
Hit the h2o as soon as you’re up. When you wake from a long sleep your body is naturally dehydrated, so water should be the first thing on your mind.
Drinking a large glass of warm lemon water is the best – simply squeeze the juice of half a lemon into filtered lukewarm water. Just taking a few minutes to sip your drink slowly can have a profound effect on your feeling of wellbeing.
Squeeze in a yoga session:
Yoga is the go-to exercise of choice for mindful mornings. Not only does a daily practice wake up the body, but it invigorates the mind too – leaving you feeling energised from head to toe.
If you’ve never tried yoga before, take it easy – a simple 10 minute practice is enough to set you up for the day.
Eat a healthy breakfast:
Typical breakfasts are loaded with fat, grains and sugar – a combo that will spike your blood sugar, leaving you starving and sleepy within a few short hours. Instead set time aside in the morning to eat a nutritious breakfast. Whether you choose a cosy bowl of quinoa porridge or a veggie-packed omelette, starting your day with a meal full of protein, healthy fats and a liberal helping of fruit and veg is always a good idea.
Find time to be grateful:
Counting your blessings really can make you feel better. Whether it’s during your meditation session or while you’re waiting for the bus, taking a moment to express gratitude can make a world of difference to your day. Not only does this simple act help you to reflect on what you’ve achieved, but it gives you the motivation to continue on the right path.
Gov UK website