Recognising that it is OK to not be OK, accepting that we need to put ourselves first, and making time for ourselves can be a challenge. All of this can be overwhelming and draw us down.
Using New Zealand Maori culture, the Te whare tapa whā; a model of the 4 dimensions of wellbeing developed by Sir Mason Duire in 1984 as a guide, I can only describe the importance of wellbeing as a metaphorical house. Let me explain. A house has four pillars and if any part of the house is unstable the house comes crashing down. The four pillars represent physical, mental & emotional, social and spiritual wellbeing.
Analyse your life. Which part do you think is mostly out of balance? Ask yourself some simple questions: How do you physically feel? Are you exercising, drinking water, sleeping well, eating a balanced and healthy diet and having a break from your screen? Consider your mental and emotional wellbeing. Do you have something to look forward to that makes you happy? What about social wellness?Are you ‘consciously’ spending time with your family and setting aside time to have a chat with a friend? How about your spiritual wellbeing? Do you set aside time for yourself to relax or have quiet time for you to stop and smell the roses so to speak? If you answered ‘no’ to any of these, choose one to tackle first.
Albert Einstein once said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Making small changes often will help us to take back control of our lives and help us to feel happy in this sometimes taxing and overwhelming environment.
Listed below are a few suggestions of how you can increase your wellness, but I’m sure once you read mine there is an opportunity for you to consider a way to achieve a more balanced and happier lifestyle with ideas of your own.
- Drink LOTs of water!!
- Switch off all devices for an hour or two or have mini breaks away.
- Get out and exercise: walk on the beach, in the rainforest or around your neighbourhood, swim, join an online exercise class or try yoga.
- Meal plan – healthy snacks, breakfasts, lunches and dinners.
Mental and Emotional
- Set a daily routine: work, me time, exercise, family time, reduced screen time and sleep.
- Listen to music, laugh, paint, draw, bake…do whatever makes you happy.
- Spend some quiet time in your favourite space.
- Breathe in for 5, hold for 5, breath out for 5…Repeat for 5.
- Acknowledge how you are feeling. Talk to someone about it.
- Be present with your family at home and have fun together.
- Zoom Meet with friends and family for a chat and coffee catch up.
- Play with your pets.
- Increase dopamine, commonly known as the happiness hormone. What beauty is around you? What are you grateful for? What makes you happy?
- Find a positive quote or mantra and read it daily. “Don’t count the days, make the days count! Muhammed Ali
- Be kind to yourself! “You are braver than you believe, smarter than you seem, and stronger than you think.” —Winnie-the-Pooh (A. A. Milne)
- Play with your pets.
Taking care of ourselves should be natural but sometimes it’s hard for us to achieve. Personal wellbeing is paramount especially now as we are faced with this restricted environment and all the challenges it throws our way. “Self-care is giving the world the best of you, not what’s left of you!” Katie Reed. You’ve got this!