Nowadays, more than ever we understand the importance of taking care of the our wellbeing.
Mental health problems are becoming more common, with the cases of mental illnesses touching at leat one out of three people at least once in their lives.
Even if the mental health cases are not as obvious as physical health problems, the impact they have on our lives is tremendous, with effects not only on persons but also the organisations they work in.
The most apparent ones are related to stress, anxiety, depression, that have somehow been more normalized and part of our time in our lives. These often lead to chronic stress (1) and are often manifested in the most common following ways :
- Memory and concentration problems
- Seeing only the negative
- Constant worrying
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Depression or general unhappiness
- Aches, abnormal functioning of digestion
- Loss of sex drive
- Frequent colds or flu
- Abnormal apetite and sleep
- Withdrawing from others
- Use of substances alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs to relax
- Procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities and many more
I am sure most of us can recognize ourselves in at least one of these cases, and we have all been through some of these cases every now and then. So what can we do to take care of ourselves and our general wellbeing? What are the strategies that can help us build the right strategies that create the life style that fits us?
We feel good when we give! The random acts of kindness can increase happiness, life satisfaction and your general sense of wellbeing.
Giving des not only include sharing things, it is more related to the spirit of generosity and supporting among the members of a community. The acts of giving, receiving and being aware of acts of kindness, add a sense of purpose in our lives. This also helps us build connection with others. At work, this can create an environment that cultivates connection and empathy and as a result more positive interactions that promotes team work.
Apart from that, when we need to be present or others we usually show up with our best versions, we feel more accountable for the actions we take. This can therefore help us in having an extra motive behind our efforts for taking care of ourselves. Some of the actions that you can implement even at your workplace would include:
What you can do then in order to GIVE the following days?
- Compliment someone
- Express gratitude – thank someone
- Share your ideas or feedback
- Make someone a cup of coffee
- Help a person at work with a task
- Get involved with a charity
- Perform a random act of kindness for a colleague, friend or even someone you don’t know
I was driving back home with a friend last weekend and she just complimented the lady working at the toll both for something minor, but still the positive interaction created a wonderful atmosphere for the few seconds that it lasted!
2. Be Active
Do whatever feels good for you body and mind!
As well as improving physical health and fitness, being ACTIVE can also improve our mood and overall mental wellbeing, and decrease stress, depression and anxiety. These benefits are increased when we get
outside. Sharing this activity with others can also help us feel more connected and more motivated in building new habits.
Being active does not necessarily mean that tyou need to start training for a marathon! Find what fits you and motivates you to move. Any form of physical activity that you enjoy can be beneficial. Think about how you could move or stand more at work – build habits to bring more activity into your work day, like start taking the stairs only! Some other ideas that can help you start being more active are:
- Stretch when you wake up
- Go for a walk at lunchtime
- Take a break after long periods of sitting by dancing
- Arrange a walking meeting with a friend rather than a coffee
- Do some gardening, housework etc.
- Take a yoga class
- Join a sports team
3. Keep Learning
I am learning something new every single day. As I am saying to my friends, I am like Einstein, I have no special talent, I am only passionately curious!
During the learning process you manage improve your self-esteem, connect and be involded as part of a group and most importantly adapt to change by finding meaning in new things in your life. This has long term effects on building your resilience and of course on your wellbeing.
Learning does not only include the traditional class-type procedure only, it refers mainly to exploring new ideas, embracing new experiences and
investing on your skills.
What you could do in order to keep learning:
- Get to know your colleagues more
- Take on a new task or help someone on a subject you master
- Listen to a podcast or read a journal article
- Learn a language
- Set a goal and work towards achieving it
- Take a course
- Visit a public art space or a museum
- Join a book club
Multiple researches show that the people who have on average happier lives are the ones that have a sense of belonging to a community.
You can take a look at Harvard’s 75-year-old study on what makes a good life:
We all need to feel close to other people and valued by them, now more than ever. Having good relationships with our colleagues ignites our motivation and engangement. The sense of belonging is cultivated when we communicate, talk , listen and being present for others.
- Really listen to the people we talk to (active listening)
- Eat lunch with colleagues
- Reconnect with someone
- Find ways to collaborate
- Talk or phone a partner instead of just emailing
- Plan an event at work
5. Take notice
Pay attention to the present moment, on the task you have at hand, and really live the NOW. This can increase your awareness, and focus, and also improve your mood.
The practice of gratitude can actually help you in appreciating what you have and immediately improve your sense of wellbeing. Appart from that, you can practice skills like
These are skills that can give us greater productivity, creativity and accuracy. It is all about reconnecting with the world around you, appreciating the little things and taking notice of the precious moments.
I remember quite often when I am with some friends, I shout out loud, look at the sky, the sea the view, let’w pause here for a minute! What can you do to take notice of these precious moments in your life?
- Single-task – do one thing at a time
- Keep a beautiful object at your desk (aplant, a picture of your favourite place)
- Take a break from digital devices
- Practise gratitude (Take a notebook or you can even use an app (2))
- Sit quietly in nature, or at a park
- Listen to your favourite music
- Try mindfulness meditation
These simple five strategies can actually help you find balance and boost your mental health and wellbeing. So wat do you think you can do from now on?
What I suggest to all of my clients is to think of something you can apply today, this week, and just start with that. There are many ideas in this article, but for sure you know yourself better so that you find the strategy that fits you best. What I can only say you is become your compass and get in charge of your wellbeing.
(1) Article: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/stress-symptoms-signs-and-causes.htm
(2) Graditude Application: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=journal.gratitude.com.gratitudejournal&hl=en