What is wellbeing?
Wellbeing refers to feeling comfortable, healthy and satisfied. Although there are core recommendations for how to look after your wellbeing, everyone is different and therefore approaches looking after their wellbeing in their own way. For me, wellbeing involves a mixture of active, social and personal activities which boost my morale and let me switch off from work or whatever is worrying me. These aren’t complicated things, they are just small activities which I slot in my daily routine without too much hassle.
How I look after my own wellbeing
The benefits of exercise on wellbeing are hard to ignore; studies have shown that regular physical activity can improve self-esteem, positive mood and reduce stress and anxiety. For me, this doesn’t mean endless hours in a gym. I regularly swim, mostly in open water, which helps me mentally switch off and boosts my morale when I hit a goal I’ve been working towards.
Recently, a scientific study has looked at how taking a (cold!) dip in the ocean improves mental health for sea swimmers. There’s hope that this activity could be socially prescribed by GPs due to its benefits. Getting active makes me forget about work and helps me relax in the evening, meaning I can come back to work the next day feeling refreshed and ready to go.
Another way I boost my wellbeing is by picking up new skills; I get a kick out of trying something new. My favourite experiments are always in the kitchen, whether it be figuring out a new recipe or sharing my creations with friends. This helps me build a sense of purpose and I always feel more confident when I nail a new recipe. Since the brain is influenced by the gut, cooking healthy recipes makes me feel much more happier and more energised than when I eat unhealthy meals. Not only does this benefit my mental wellbeing, but also helps my physical wellbeing. One element of this which I really enjoy is sharing the experience with friends because it helps me build positive relationships through sharing these experiences together (whether the food tastes good or not!).
Finally, I love to set aside around an hour or less before I go to bed to listen to one of my favourite podcasts. I’m an avid podcast listener and love to potter about or lie and stare at the ceiling whilst I’m listening to an episode. This really helps me wind down, sometimes so much that I even fall asleep before the episode has ended. Listening to podcasts is my way of carving out some personal time in the day so that I feel like I have had time to rest and recuperate. Some of my favourites are: Off Menu with Ed Gamble and James Acaster; No Such Thing as a Fish; and Sh**ged. Married. Annoyed.
Although there are brilliant benefits to other techniques like mindfulness, they do not work so well for me. I am a very restless person and therefore, through trial and error, have found that this is the best and most enjoyable option for me. This option also seemed to work for many people during the current and previous lockdowns, with a recent survey by Spotify finding that one fifth of its users turned to comedy podcasts to give their morale a boost during difficult times.
If you’d like some more information about how you can specifically look after your wellbeing whilst working from home, then read our tips here.