Insights: The Importance Of Wellbeing
I like the word 'wellbeing'.
Wellbeing means more than just being healthy, or just being fit, or just eating well. It's all of these things together. If I was to sum up what wellbeing means to me, I would say:
"Wellbeing is looking after every aspect of your life that promotes a sound and healthy mind"
So, for me, if I let my healthy diet slip, I will start to feel sluggish, my skin will start to pay the price and I may start to develop more colds. As soon as this happens, the state of my mind suffers. Equally, if I fall back on my work outs, my body will suffer because my heart isn't pumping oxygen around my body as efficiently. I will start to notice that I can't walk to the top of the stairs any more without being out of breath. And all the hard work I put in to achieve toned arms will be wasted. In turn, my state of mind suffers.
I am not evangilistic about wellbeing. I do what I need to do to achieve what is best for me. I don't go to the gym every day, I don't deprive myself of treats and sometimes I just feel down. But I also don't beat myself up if I slip every now and again. I'm only human after all. It's just as important to recognise that failings are part of success. As long as I look after my wellbeing for the most part, the rest will look after itself.
How do I achieve this? Firstly, I eat a well balanced diet 80% of the time. I'm not a vegetarian but I do eat a mostly plant based diet through choice. I have a green smoothie every morning, soup or poached egg with avocado on toast for lunch and a variety of plant based meals for dinner. I do this Monday - Friday. Saturday and Sundays are more relaxed. I eat out every Saturday for lunch and I have what I want, perhaps a chicken burger with chips or a pasta dish or maybe a pizza, with a glass of wine. And on Sundays, if I don't eat out, I will buy in something that is easier cooked, not as healthy as I would cook during the week but not always really bad either.
Secondly, I work out three times a week at home for about 30 minutes each time. As you can see I don't go mad with fitness but it is enough to make me feel like I am keeping my body in good shape and in a healthy state. Sometimes, I will go for a walk, which I really enjoy because being outdoors in the fresh air is one of the best things you can do for your wellbeing, particularly if you walk through a natural environment. If you read any article on general mental health, they will promote walking among nature and breathing in clean air. If you live in a town or city you will feel the benefits of a country walk.
And thirdly, I try to manage stress and anxiety as best as I can. If I am siting at my desk and my workload is getting to me, I will walk away for 5 minutes, preferably go outside and get some fresh air or just go and make a drink. I always feel better when I return to my desk and seem better able to handle what is in front of me. I'm a list person, so I make lists of everything and I set reminders on my phone. As soon as I know I have set a reminder I can forget about it and wait to be reminded. I make a menu every week for the week ahead and then a shopping list from the menu so no stress midweek of remembering on the way home from work that you have nothing for dinner. If I have an argument with someone close, I walk away to give some space between the situation, process it in my own head first and then go back and try to resolve it. This is not an exhaustive list and it will be different for everyone. The important thing to remember is to find ways to make life easier for yourself. Another very important thing to remember here is that things will get on top of you from time to time, you will hit difficult times in your life that are tough to deal with. But this is normal, allow yourself to feel the negative emotions as well as the good. This is how you fight your way through them. If you bury these emotions, you won't be dealing with them. Stress has a detrimental affect on health and therefore wellbeing.
Your attitude to life and past experiences will affect your wellbeing. Be positive, if it doesn't work it's not a failure, it's just your way of finding success. Deal with your emotions, good and bad. Enjoy every moment of happiness and allow yourself the respect of feeling the pain when it hurts. Be kind to your body and give it the fuel and energy it needs to function at its best, don't feed it full of foods, like sugar for example, that will mean you are overworking it. You are what you eat. Challenging yourself is also great for the mind, learn new things, take up new classes, meet new people and connect with the people already around you.
We aren't all asking to live past 100 but what we do want is to live life to the absolute maximum and feel our absolute best for the years that we are here.