“Your wellbeing must never become an afterthought. It must be your first act.” – Rasheed Ogunlaru on personal wellbeing
The world, I think it’s fair to say, feels like a tough place right now. There are only so many things we can do to help this. One thing that is undoubtedly in your control is tending to your personal resilience and personal wellbeing. If we are happier, more proactive, and more positive people, then we are better positioned to have a more proactive and positive impact on the world and the people around us.
One thing about our part of the world that isn’t so bad, is that tending to our happiness, mental health and personal wellbeing is becoming ever more important and normalised in both our professional and personal lives. The narrative around these things has become much more focused and much more out in the open, which is great!
We hear the term ‘wellbeing’ much more often than we used to. However, it’s not always entirely clear what personal wellbeing is and how to go about nurturing it. So, here we are, just reintroducing a few basic ways to boost your wellbeing.
1. Sleep Well
It’s not just about how much sleep you get, it’s about the quality of sleep and the consistency of your sleep schedule. The body is happier when it is in a routine. If your sleeping hours are erratic your body doesn’t know whether it’s coming or going! It’s stress your body simply does not need. Getting your sleep habits and sleep hygiene right will help you to become less stressed and more energetic.
Not sure what sleep hygiene is? Sleep hygiene is all to do with how you prepare for a night’s sleep and what environment you are sleeping in. Habits like, ‘no screens a few hours before bed’ and having a calming bedtime routine can do wonders for sleep quality.
2. Eat Consciously
It all very well saying ‘you must eat a balanced diet’. But not only is this easier said than done, I am not a nutritional expert, so I cannot officially vouch for the scientific benefits of the ‘balanced diet’. What I can say is that eating consciously helps my wellbeing a great deal. Eating consciously is about not having your diet be passive. Choose, I mean really choose, what you are eating. Consider whether it is going to make you feel good or not. Some days, a takeaway pizza is what my soul needs to feel happiness. Other days, if I make myself eat a pile of roasted vegetables, I feel amazing. Learn what makes you feel good and listen to your body. And most importantly, never punish yourself for eating. Food is not a treat, it is a necessity.
3. Be Active
I specifically say be active, because you don’t need focused periods of exercise to feel fit and full of endorphins. Again, it’s all about conscious choices. Maybe don’t drive if you can walk. Perhaps take the stairs and not the lift. Maybe stand if your task doesn’t absolutely require you to sit. These little choices make for a fitter more engaged body.
4. Be Social
Humans are social. You may not think a social life is essential. But let me tell you, after being indoors with a broken foot for two months, I can tell you, I really took my social interactions for granted. I thought I never would again after lockdown, but here I am. Go and see your friends.
5. Try Not to Catastrophize
Stoicism teaches that there is no point worrying about things you cannot control, so focus on the things that you can. We all catastrophize from time to time. We worry about things that might happen. Try not to waste energy on things that have not yet come to pass that are not in your control. If you cannot change the probability of them happening, why make yourself feel rotten over them?
6. Make Time for Things You Love
What is the point in life if not to live it? Sometimes we are so busy putting out fires and surviving, that we forget to make our own pleasure a priority. Thing is, if you carve out some time to do the things you love, the tougher things in life should not seem nearly as hard. Practice that hobby, go on that holiday, do that thing!
By Chris Thomson
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