As our wellbeing is becoming more and more recognised as something we need to regularly attend to, maintain and keep in check both in our personal lives, the work place and society as a whole, it seems important to break this down as to what our wellbeing consists of.
So, we’ve all heard in recent years the buzz word of self-care being flung around like there’s no tomorrow – which often paints a picture of people with near perfect lives being able to take time out and really re-charge the batteries. You’ve seen the ones; the bubble baths with a glass of wine, the massage treatments, the feet up with a cup of tea reading a book looking like you’ve no care in the world.
Unfortunately, as we know, in amongst the chaos that can be this 24-7, on the go world we live in, this picture-perfect view of self-care isn’t always available to us or even possible.
It can be easy in this instance to feel as if the very thing we’re striving for when we recognise the need for a break, is unattainable and leaves us with the feeling of deflation and failure. Certainly not what the doctor ordered.
So, without getting too caught up with the idea of how self-care should look and feeling a sense of hopelessness when we can’t quite meet the mark….. because let’s face it, life gets in the way…. it can be useful to hold in awareness what self-care is for you and what re-charging your batteries and bringing your physical and mental wellbeing back on par looks like.
For me personally this in recent years has looked a lot like this:
Making sure I’m in regular contact with friends – there’s nothing like a good belly laugh with pals to really bring you back down to earth and make you feel like you again.
Incorporating exercise into my commute to work – this for me is cycling. There’s only so many hours in the day so this ticks several boxes.
Meditating in the morning – This one sounds like the very thing being described above ‘who has time to actually sit down and meditate each morning?!’ I hear you say…..But I’d vouch for taking 10 minutes out of your day for a bit of you time can be so transformative and for me personally is a bit of calm before the craziness of everyday life sets in. I highly recommend headspace for this to help get you in the zone.
Going for a cup of coffee, or my personal favourite…chai latte on my own. I am big fan of café culture and feel whenever I do this I have time to reflect, enjoy my own company and people watch. This works wonders for me and I count down the days until I can frequent my local coffee joint again. In the meantime, I’ll be taking my chai at home.
Visiting a new place. I always notice how my mood changes after I have visited somewhere I’ve never been before. Perhaps the explorer in me who has the desire to travel more craves this from time to time. Which leads me onto my final point on my list…..
Spending time outdoors. For me this is also transformative. I particularly like being in nature and regularly make use of the many wooded areas and parks in my city as well as the peak district that’s on my door step. I’m thankful to live in what’s known as ‘The outdoor city’ and reap the benefits when I indulge in this.
There’s certainly more I could add to my list – including the mundane; like tidying the house or having a clear out all help me feel a sense of achievement, clears some headspace and helps me feel at ease in my world.
In amongst all the hype that self-care and wellbeing gets (and for good reason) just remember what makes you feel like you again. It can be easy to get caught up in the tangle of our own web and neglect our needs for the sake of trying to maintain our work, our family life and other stresses we face in our lives. But wellbeing doesn’t have to come at a price whereby we’re squeezing in the ‘perfect’ self-care routines, trying to live to perfection and attain the unattainable in amongst our already busy schedules.
Achieving a sense of wellbeing can be as simple as finally clearing out that cupboard full of junk, learning to say no to things you don’t want to do, finding a new hobby, having ten minutes to yourself or going for your favourite coffee.
Wellbeing starts with how we perceive a sense of wellbeing – which starts with listening to ourselves and our needs. You can make this achievable by having a clearer sense of what makes you feel like your truest of selves and knowing when to say ‘You know what….I deserve this’ and taking that ten minutes out of your day for a bit of you time, taking small steps and being kind to yourself.
Ben is an integrative counsellor and psychotherapist who runs a private practice based in Sheffield. Ben also works as a student wellbeing adviser at the university of Sheffield. He is a keen musician, writer, cyclist and outdoor enthusiast and is passionate about maintaining both his own mental health and empowering others to uphold their emotional wellbeing.
You can link with Ben via his website benwebstercounselling.com