January was noisy – everyone talking about setting goals and how to be ‘your best self’. It felt A LOT.
To be clear, I’m not opposed to goal setting or wanting to improve. I actually set aside dedicated time each month to plan and review how and where I spend my time and energy.
Goals are, in general, helpful.
What I don’t like about the #goaldigger and #hustle culture is how we focus solely on the achievement of things.
We care so much about the future state that we rarely consider how that effort is going to impact our wellbeing as we get there.
There’s no point ‘crushing’ your goals if you’re left in a crumpled heap before the first spring flowers are in bloom.
So that’s what this blog is all about: a helping hand to understand and nurture your wellbeing in 5 steps. A personalised Wellbeing Action plan, if you will…
No lofty goals, just an intention to bring you some calm and balance so you can slip out the tail end of this pandemic as smoothly as possible.
You’re going to want a pen and paper or at least a bit of time to reflect as you read this.
It’s put together like a mini-coaching session:
1. What’s getting your goat, stressing you out or making you feel overwhelmed?
Right, we’ll start with the tough stuff; we can’t help our wellbeing if we don’t know what’s harming it…
But first a wee bit of science behind why we’re so meh (technical term, obvz)
Unless you live in Utopia, you’ll know that every day little things come along to test us. Each time one of these things pops up we get a dose of cortisol (the stress hormone) injected into our bodies. This is our body’s way of trying to keep us safe. It’s totally normal and healthy.
Usually, we’d have enough time in between these stressors for our bodies to process this hormone and get back on an even keel. But at the moment the constant news, changes and uncertainty mean they are coming thick and fast.
As a result, we have a ‘backlog’ of stress lurking in our system which leaves us feeling tired, grumpy, anxious and unable to focus.
Now, you can’t control the external world but there are nearly always actions you can take to remove/reduce these stressors. But first we need to understand what they are….
✏ What is triggering stress and chipping away at your wellbeing, right now?
- Can you pinpoint exactly where it starts and why?
- Perhaps there are certain times of the day, week or month when this is worse?
- Is it a place, person or action that’s causing it? Or perhaps a combo of them all?
2. How do these things make you feel?
Bear with me, we gotta get through the sticky stuff so we can understand what we really need…
When you’re stressed or ‘triggered’ by the things on that list you may notice that you start to think, feel and act differently. Perhaps you even have physical symptoms….
✏ How do each of the triggers impact how you think, feel and act?
- How do they alter your mood and energy?
- Do they impact your relationship with others?
- Do they change your behaviour or start a thought pattern?
- Do they impact your concentration or sleep?
Before we move on, I want to say that this second part can work in reverse, too.
Sometimes we notice that something is up because we feel irritable, self-critical or physically tired but we don’t investigate why that is. The more aware you are of your signs and symptoms of stress the easier it will be for you to spot and stop them before they go too far.
3. How would you like to feel instead?
Now for the nice bit 🙂
Take a big long deep breath and let it out really sloooooowwwwwww. Close your eyes and think about your ideal day. How would it look, sound and feel? Try and imagine it in as much detail as you can.
It doesn’t have to be lavish or extraordinary, it can be a run of the mill weekday. A day of work, family, friends, everyday stuff…in an ideal world, how would that day be for you?
✏ How would your ‘best-normal’ day be?
- How would your day start and finish? And at what time?
- What would you be doing to take care of yourself during the day?
- With who and how would you be communicating?
- How would your mood and energy be?
4. What support do you need from others right now?
By others I mean work, family and friends. Maybe they can’t eradicate all the stress but they could help make things a bit easier… I know it can be scary sharing what’s going on but with everything that’s happened in 2020 people are more open than ever to talking about and understanding the importance of wellbeing. There really hasn’t been a better time to open up ❤
✏ Work through the triggers and identify who and how others could help you
- Could you ask work for some time off?
- Do you need to change your hours or more flexible working?
- Are there things you’re doing that aren’t really essential? Can you stop them?
- Could a friend, family or colleague pick up the slack for you?
- Would a conversation with a loved one, doctor or therapist help?
5. How can you support yourself?
When we are strung out or overwhelmed it can be tough to think about what we need to make ourselves feel better. Sometimes, finding time to slow down or take a rest can feel impossible.
But It’s often what we need the most. And it can literally be the difference between a couple of stillness and months of illness and burnout.
✏ What can you do to bring some calm to your days?
- How can you make more space for you during the day?
- What things bring you the most happiness, how can I do/have more of this?
- What physical changes can you make to your environment for it to feel calmer?
- How can you create better boundaries to look after your personal time/space?
- What behaviours can you stop/start/change to support your wellbeing?
Keep this list handy, repeat the exercise as you need it (our needs change as often as the seasons) and most importantly take actions to prioritise your wellbeing. You are 100% worthy of feeling calm and happy. ❤