Updated: Aug 28, 2019
For me well-being means that you have managed to find a balance between your head (rational thinking) and your heart (emotional response). But how do you achieve this balance? Through nutrition, fitness, wellness and mindfulness! It will require work on your part, and like anything else, you will need to make it a priority to succeed. How much work depends on where you are in your journey and where you started (your baseline). Life is often not linear, but rather more like a rollercoaster, and so will this journey be, but it will help you to be on stable ground, even when the going gets tough! As they say, there is no such thing as a free lunch! It is a pity that often we start on this kind of journey when we lose something we take for granted - our health (physical, mental or both). I’m certainly one of them but I’ve never felt healthier and better than I do now. Let’s look at the 4 components of well-being mentioned above, in more detail.
For me, eating healthy is essential and the basis for feeling good. If you put good fuel into your body, you’ll get good results out. It will also have a positive impact on your mental wellness. That doesn’t mean never eating junk food again or being a saint! It is a question of balance. Don’t see this change as a diet but rather as a lifestyle change. Your perception is key. If there are a lot of don’ts, you will crave them more. I once heard a nutritionist who specializes in eating disorders say something that really spoke to me. She said eat well 80% of the time and treat yourself the other 20% (though nowadays there are even many healthy treats available). Being dairy free, my own weakness is dark chocolate. I have a few pieces almost every day.
Fitness is another key to feeling better and having more energy. Again, the benefits can be both physical and mental. There are a lot of things going on in your body when you exercise and the good news is it doesn’t require high intensity or spending hours in the gym. Even light to moderate exercise will work, as long as is done on a regular basis. Scientific studies have shown that regular moderate exercise can boost your immune system, release “feel good” hormones (like dopamine and endorphins), increase your focus, reduce or maintain your weight and improve your stress control to name a few. Exercise can easily be integrated into your day routine. Go for a walk at lunchtime or take the stairs instead of the elevator at work. Again, health and well-being have to become your priority. We all have time to check our social media or watch our favourite TV show, but we often find ourselves saying I don’t have time. I certainly did - until I was forced to revisit my priorities in life.
Wellness and mindfulness
You probably ask yourself what is the difference between wellness and mindfulness?
Wellness for me is a lifelong practice of activities that enable one to live a fulfilling, healthy, balanced life. Even if you have a chronic disease, you are not your disease. You can still be healthy. However, it is not something you do once, then two months later you are done! It has to become a lifestyle that you nourish on an ongoing basis - like a friendship or love.
Mindfulness is about being present in the moment, and that too takes work and willingness.
· Doing an activity you enjoy - regularly
· Social interaction
· Gratitude journal and letters
· Sleeping, power naps
· Using your character strengths
· Random acts of kindness
· Breathing exercise
· Practicing yoga
You might say to yourself “I don’t have time to do all this”, but is that really true? Now might be a good time to look at your life priorities. We are living in a crazy world, where time seems to pass by so fast but we have the power to use it the way we see fit. Don’t wait to fall ill or say “I could have”, or “I should have”. Life is too short for regrets!
If you find yourself overwhelmed by the ideas in this article, it might be a good idea to consult a life coach who can help you prioritize and organize your life goals. Every journey begins with a first step.