Maintain your wellbeing through changing timesMaintain your wellbeing through changing times

The term ‘wellbeing’ is personal and subjective, but also universally relevant, and perhaps never more important as we tentatively adapt from one way of living and working to another.

It encompasses many aspects of our lives that we determine ourselves: through our own capabilities as individuals, how we feel about ourselves the quality of the relationships that we have with other people, and our sense of purpose.

These psychological needs are an important part of what makes us human, along with our ability to feel positive and negative emotions. It matters how often, and for how long, we experience positive emotions – such as pleasure and a sense of purpose – or potentially negative emotions, like anxiety.

Wherever you are and whatever your cultural background or personal circumstances, people intuitively understand the value of happiness and wellbeing. But we don’t all know how best to manage it within ourselves. So today we’re looking at how you can do that, at home and at work.

Wellbeing at work

In the UK nearly 1 in 7 people experience mental health issues in the workplace. And while that’s a scary figure, it isn’t exactly surprising. Most people spend the majority of their waking lives at work, encountering stress, long hours, difficult colleagues and customers, financial worries, and a poor work-life balance – which can all take a physical and mental toll. So how can you manage this as big changes are going on around you?

1. Practice all-round self-care

Prevention is better than cure when it comes to maintaining wellbeing, so staying healthy and positive to start with can prevent deeper issues arising later. Remember the basics:

Eat well, stay hydrated, exercise regularly, get enough sleep, maintain a good social life, and minimise use of drugs and alcohol.

That might sound simplistic, but when life gets too much, it can be easy to stop doing any number of these self-care essentials. Building them into a daily routine will help prevent and alleviate wellbeing-related issues.

2. Take breaks

We can all sometimes feel like there’s too much to do and not enough time to do it. Often, it is a case of constantly playing catch up to stay on top of the situation.

Therefore, taking breaks can seem like an impossible luxury, but to avoid burnout, what it takes is a good dose of self-discipline! Even the shortest break can make a world of difference.

Just because you might be back in your workplace after a long time, remember to get away from the computer and into the fresh air. Put the phone down and do something personally gratifying such as reading a book, having a healthy snack, sitting in the sunshine, and generally taking a breather. Doing these things will be sure to improve your overall health and wellbeing in the workplace.

3. Maintain your work/life balance

It can feel difficult to switch off that computer and pack your bag bang on the dot, but it helps when you’re nearing the end of the day to work out what you can realistically complete in time, and what will have to be rolled over or passed on. Practicing efficient time management works for you and your colleagues.

Then when you’re out of work, try organising fun things to do in the evenings and weekends too! Join a social club, sports team, yoga class, or take part in any other activity of interest. Doing these things will imbue life with a greater sense of meaning, purpose and happiness to take forward into the working week.

4. Communicate openly

The communication of wellbeing needs at work is of real importance, yet we know people can be wary of ‘complaining’ about perceived non-essential things.

Communication of any physical or mental issue is key to receiving help and improving the situation. All employers have a responsibility to support the wellbeing of their staff – but they need to know the situation first. A one-to-one session with a line manager can make a significant positive difference.

Equally, encouraging these conversations throughout the workplace helps create an atmosphere of openness and tolerance, especially during times when we all need a bit of a boost!

5. Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is non-judgmental awareness of the present-moment, which has become increasingly popular in recent years. Countless people now practice it every day in support of all manner of physical and mental struggles. Among its many known benefits, mindfulness is scientifically proven to help relieve pain, reduce stress, and ease anxiety.

By focusing on a sensory experience, such as breathing, attention is brought firmly into the here-and-now. Worries and concerns get side-lined as people ground themselves in the reality of the moment.

Practicing mindfulness for 10 minutes each day, or in the midst of a tough situation, can make a big difference to overall wellbeing. There are many apps that can help – take a look on your next break or ask friends and colleagues about what they might recommend.

Wishing you all a very happy and healthy return to your respective work places.

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