Wellbeing is defined as the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy. Sounds simple enough, but this could mean many different things to many different people. Put in simple terms, it refers to feeling well and this is achieved in many different ways depending on where our priorities lie.
World WellBeing Week is held annually in the last week of June. Now in its fourth year, the initiative provides the opportunity for participants worldwide to celebrate the many aspects of wellbeing, from meaningful, purposeful work to financial security, physical, mental and emotional health, social resilience and empathic corporate and civic leadership, community relations and care for the environment.
The brainchild of WellBeing World in Jersey, World Wellbeing Week now takes place worldwide with a reach of millions, including Australia and New Zealand, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Africa, the UK, USA and Canada.
In Namibia, as elsewhere, the wellbeing of many has taken quite a beating with the start of the Covid-19 pandemic just over two years ago, and other global catastrophes since then.
Sometimes the bad news cycle seems relentless and we forget to focus on ourselves and prioritise our wellbeing.
If you have started to notice that your wellbeing has taken a turn for the negative, there are some simple things you can do to start turning a corner.
Get proper sleep
Make sure you turn in early enough to get sufficient sleep – which would be at least six hours if you’re an adult. Some common advice is to avoid electronic devices an hour before you go to bed and if possible, make your room an oasis of calm where you can switch off from the day.
Expose your body to sunlight
In Namibia we tend to be scared of the sun because it can be quite harsh. Small amounts of exposure to sunlight can however help in a myriad of ways, from boosting your serotonin levels which can give you more energy and help keep you calm and positive, to producing Vitamin D. This nutrient is important for your bones, blood cells, and immune system.
Eat a balanced diet
A healthy and balanced diet has an important role to play in our wellbeing. Lacking essential nutrients can lead to serious health problems and too much caffeine, sugar and processed food can have its own detrimental effects.
Get regular exercise
This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to run laps or spend hours in the gym. A few minutes of gentle walking per day can work wonders, especially if you’ve neglected physical activity. Find something that works for you so you can stick to the routine instead of having to force yourself to do it regularly.
Try and be social
Loneliness and isolation can lead to mental health problems like depression. Of course if going solo is your preference, no one can judge you, but making time for friends and family can add to your life in many ways. Plan a fun night out with friends or even just have a braai at home with family. A few good laughs can do wonders.
Focus on your hobbies
You’ve been an avid reader since you were a child, but over the last few months you’ve found yourself with less and less time on your hands to relax with a book. Why not carve out some time on a Saturday, even if it’s just for an hour, and settle down with something from your favourite author. Buying a book too expensive? Join your local public library. The point is to take some time and make some effort to relax doing something you love, irrespective of what your hobby is. You’ll thank yourself later.
Learn to live in the present
There’s a saying that if you stress about something before it happens, you basically put yourself through it twice. Worrying about the past won’t change it. Many wise things have been said about living in the present. Go ahead and Google it if you don’t believe us and drink in the wisdom.
Get a handle on stress
Lastly, we might not be able to avoid stress completely, but we can try to manage it and not let it overwhelm us. Think about how you can react to stressful situations. Can you handle such situations better? If your colleague aggravates you with the same thing repeatedly, how about setting some boundaries around how you will allow them to treat you? Or maybe, just maybe, you can let some small things slide to keep your peace. Have a think about what would work for you and implement these actions.