We talk about it everyday at the clinic, we have it written on the front of our building....Inside Out Health & Wellbeing Clinic, but what is wellbeing and is it worth considering what it means to have wellbeing in life?
Is it a buzz word with no meaning?... or a word that supports us to focus on feeling more healthy?.... or one that seems wishy washy and nice but not very useful or practical?
Wellbeing sometimes known as Well-Being emcompasses the whole of us including our life-style, not just the physical body we can see, touch and move every day.
We are a human - beings, so it makes sense that we need to take care of the being part of us as well as the human physical body. There are many factors that affect our ability to feel well that are in addition to our physical health e.g. our emotional, mental, social state of being. Although these can be effected by our physicality they are not solely dependent on it.
Our wellbeing is also greatly dependent on our daily choices in life and how we choose to live life. For example, if we do not get enough good quality sleep we will not feel fully well, even if we do not have an illness or disease and we may believe we are functioning and getting through life successfully.
So what does it mean to feel well? Well (pun intended) it is about feeling a level of vitality, joy, vivaciousness, steadiness, ease and settlement with ourselves and the world around us. A contentment and ease with our life and a flexibilty to handle its inevitable stresses, strains and 'curve balls' without getting worn down, stressed and exhausted by life. A dedication and a commitment to living life to the full and supporting our community and those around us to also thrive.
Wellness or feeling well is not dependent on whether we have a physical medical condition or not. Wellbeing is much more than just our current physical state of health.
It is possible to have had cancer, multiple joint replacements, chronic back pain or even a terminal illness but live a full, vital life that is committed to caring for ourselves and others. It is possible to have an illness and disease but still feel deeply settled, at ease and well in when we put our head on the pillow at night.
Potentially and without perfection it is very possible to live well and support all areas of our life and enjoy being us.
Our current state of physical health is always important of course and something to continue to work on, but when we also make it about our quality of being, we enable ourselves to bring real change and richness to our every day life and longer term true sustainable, vitality and self confidence.
Wellbeing covers all areas of life. There are no corners we can ignore if we want to support our whole wellbeing. For example, if we have relationships that are stuck or unhealthy, if we are hard and self critical on ourselves or others, if we keep choosing daily habits that do not support our bodies, if we do not really enjoy our work or jobs, then this can all affect our wellbeing and we will feel depleted, anxious, stressed, exhausted, perhaps have low self worth, and we will not have the true contentment in life that we all seek.
Short term courses or self-help books can be supportive but in the longer term our wellbeing needs a daily longer term foundation of consistency, commitment and honesty.
Six Simple, Easy, Practical and Low Cost Daily Wellbeing Habits:
1. Do a simple exercise routine that supoprts a connection with your body everyday - even 10 - 15 minutes per day makes a difference. This can be done on your own at home or in a class setting.
2. Check in with your body and your posture every day throughout the day and make adjustments that truly support your body e.g. why are those shoulders hunched up by your ears?!
3. Eat food and drink drinks that support your body. There is no right or wrong here. There does not need to be any recipe or set extreme diets here. Simply observing how different foods and drinks affect our bodies will give us the personalised diet that we all need for us.
4. Drink plenty of water - again the right amount can be easily discerned by listening to how your body feels.
5. Pay attention to how our body feels every day including any stress, tension, anxiety, tiredness and emotional habits. Do we tend to react in a negative way in the same situations? Are there any patterns to this?
6. Keep breathing!...obviously we can't stop breathing, but it is worth paying attention to how we breathe during the day and how this may be affecting how we feel and handle life. Checking in with our breath during the day and continuing to work on its quality is a great tool for overall health and wellbeing that is often vastly under-estimated. Checking the quality of our breath does not have to be limited to a meditation session or class but can become part of our daily life throughout the day.
All the above are great self-care practices and nuturing our bodies and our beings. We do need to care for our bodies, our bodies respond well and love to be cared for! And nuturing and caring for our beings is also important and we can do this also through taking deep care of our bodies. The two are very closely linked!
Tips For Supporting our Wellbeing:
Make your body your best friend. Connection with our bodies is the fundamental starting point with any well-being program. Our bodies are a great honest marker that tells us the real quality of how we are living and a great guide for us to know what changes we need to make. Whether you are living with a health condition, recovering from one, or do not have any current symptoms, we can make our body our best friend - care for it, love it, keep it warm, stretch it, feed it well, take it for walk and to bed when it needs it and fundamentally listen and respond to the body and all the many signs it shares and then we will have a friend for life.
Be Honest - How do we really feel? Are we just going through the motions and doing things that tick the boxes? How does our body feel when we take part in daily activities e.g. exercise, hobbies, work, relationships? Do we allow ourselves to feel what is really going on or do we deny and suppress our feelings?
Have the confidence to know you are not your habits. Our habits are something that we collect and adopt for want of comfort, distraction, stimulation, boredom and for other reasons. Our habits are like an old coat we put on, and we can shed them and change them with gentle consistent commitment.
Let go of the emotional habits that fuel our unease, our instability and dis-empowerment. We do not have to play victim to our emotions, with commitment, with support and with self-responsibility we can begin to not react to the drama of life, but rather respond with what is needed.
Appreciate making space to bring attention to the details of life. How we are breathing, standing, walking, sitting, talking? Pick up on the details and then we will notice the shifts we are making toward wellbeing and we will also spot more easily the habits that do not support us. If we ignore any area or part of our life then it will affect our overall wellbeing. Just like a car, the engine maybe working great but if the wipers or tyres are due for a change, then as a whole the car will not function well. This is very much the same for our body and our general wellbeing.
Wellbeing is about the long game not short term fixes. We can commit to new habits, activities etc and feel 'better' at five weeks, for example after a crash diet or exercise class. While this may be a good start and it is great to appreciate this, the key to long term change and wellbeing is to be committed to consistency everyday (without perfection) longer term as an actual life-style change in the smallest details of how we live.
Our *wellbeing, a settlement and contentment in life, develops from a steady, humble willingness to be honest, to be body-aware and connected, to observe and learn from our habits and to make space to nurture and care for ourselves and our bodies in all areas of life. Enjoy the journey, appreciate the smallest of new understandings, observations and changes in our wellbeing.
We don't have to live in function, we can flourish, shine and prosper from the inside out.
We offer ongoing short and longer term Wellbeing Programmes at the clinic, including well-being life coaching, home care advice, exercise programmes and body work - that supports your specific requirements. Get in touch to find out more, there is something for everyone's budget and time availability and commitment.
*This blog is an observational piece written through personal and professional experience. It is in no way an alternative to seeking appropriate professional medical care or advice. It is vital to seek support for our health if required from a medical professional. If you are concerned about any aspect of your health please do contact your GP.