When I think of defining wellbeing, the description by the New Economics Foundation is a picture that speaks volumes:
‘Wellbeing can be understood as how people feel and how they function, both on a personal and a social level, and how they evaluate their lives as a whole’
Most people would agree that a strong sense of wellbeing is something to strive towards.
But once we look beyond the definition it can be difficult to drill down into what wellbeing really means to people day to day. There are a number of factors that may influence our wellbeing both internally and externally resulting in being unwell instead of wellbeing.
Our brains are incredibly powerful. As we go through life, we have experiences, life events and other people’s influences that have all fed into our subconscious mind impacting our wellbeing. Our current behaviours and how we evaluate our lives has all been modelled on what we saw growing up:
Age 0 to 7 years is where we imprint. Thus, our early experiences have already left a mark.
Age 7 to 14 years is where we model our behaviours by imitating others.
Age 14 to 21 is where we learn our socialisation skills which we then develop as we mature.
All of this has already shaped our view on ourselves, other people and; of course; our wellbeing. However, a few tweaks to a routine can transform mindset, break and create habits.
Consider what you do today to care for your health and wellbeing in the following areas:
1. Physical e.g. exercise.
2. Emotional e.g. journaling.
3. Psychological e.g. coaching.
4. Social e.g. networking.
5. Spiritual e.g. praying.
6. Financial e.g. saver or a spender?
7. Educational e.g. reading.
Once you are comfortable with your answers, grab yourself a pen and paper then answer the following questions:
How does your current behaviour benefit you?
Is there a cost to what you currently do as a routine?
Could there be something stopping you from prioritising wellbeing?
Magic wand moment - what would your ideal wellbeing routine look like for you?
What will you do to maintain your practice?
Who can help you on your wellbeing journey?
Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) a few years back introduced the theme of Connecting Back with Nature. MHAW stated: ‘Nature is so central to our psychological and emotional health, that it’s almost impossible to realise good mental health for all without a greater connection to the natural world.’ It has also been proven that spending time outside has increased creativity, better concentration and greater sense of wellbeing.
When was the last time you were out in nature?
Spending time in nature offers a wide range of physical, mental, and emotional benefits, which is why it's considered highly beneficial for your overall well-being. Here are some of the reasons why getting out in nature is good for you:
Reduced Stress: Nature has a calming and soothing effect on the mind. Exposure to natural settings has been shown to reduce the production of stress hormones, lower blood pressure, and promote relaxation.
Improved Mental Health: Spending time in nature can reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. It provides a natural escape from the demands and pressures of modern life.
Enhanced Mood: Nature releases endorphins and boosts the production of serotonin, the "feel-good" neurotransmitter. This can lead to an improved mood and increased feelings of happiness.
Increased Creativity: Natural environments stimulate creativity and problem-solving abilities. They allow the mind to wander, fostering creative thinking and innovative ideas.
Boosted Immune System: Exposure to nature can enhance the immune system's function, making your body more resilient to illnesses and infections.
Physical Health Benefits: Activities like hiking, walking, or simply being outdoors encourage physical activity, leading to better fitness and overall health.
Enhanced Concentration: Nature can improve concentration and focus. It provides a restorative environment, allowing you to recharge and return to tasks with a clearer mind.
Social Connection: Nature often encourages social interaction, whether through group hikes, picnics, or simply spending time with friends and family outdoors. Strong social connections contribute to overall well-being.
Mindfulness and Presence: Being in nature encourages mindfulness and a greater sense of presence. You can fully engage with the sights, sounds, and sensations around you, which can reduce rumination and worries about the past or future.
Connection to the Environment: Spending time in nature can foster a deeper connection to the environment and a greater appreciation for conservation efforts. It can inspire more sustainable and eco-friendly choices.
Rejuvenation and Relaxation: Nature provides an opportunity to disconnect from the constant demands of technology and daily life. This break allows for mental rejuvenation and relaxation.
Better Sleep: Exposure to natural light during the day, especially in the morning, can help regulate your circadian rhythms and improve sleep quality.
Incorporating regular doses of nature into your life, whether it's a walk in the park, a weekend hike, or simply spending time in your backyard, can significantly contribute to your overall well-being. The benefits of connecting with the natural world are numerous and can lead to a healthier, happier, and more balanced life.
Someone once said to me ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup.’ If we don’t look after ourselves, we will not be functioning at our best.
Make your wellbeing a priority. No matter how small the step, I promise you it is worth it.