The pandemic has shown that we need to prioritise our wellbeing and create healthier versions of ourselves and our environment.
Stress levels, obesity and financial security were already threatening to destabilise humanity — and then came the pandemic. Now more than ever it’s time to focus on taking control of our wellbeing. Fiona Bugler from i-wellbeing investigates.
According to the UK government, wellbeing , “enables people to develop their potential, work productively and creatively, form positive relationships with others, and meaningfully contribute to the community.” Being in control of our wellbeing is a global concern, too, as the UN’s set of 17 goals to make the world a better place show, with number three being: “ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages” .
The wellbeing ecosystem
The pandemic has shown that we need to prioritise our wellbeing and create healthier versions of ourselves and our environment. The “underlying health conditions” including lifestyle-related conditions, made many vulnerable to the worst effects of the virus. And for those already struggling with their mental health, the pandemic intensified their challenges. Throw in financial insecurity and you have a recipe for destruction. Lose control of one and the entire wellbeing ecosystem is disrupted.
The domino effect in action
James Clear, author of Atomic Habits , explains how taking control of one aspect of your wellbeing, for example going to the gym, has a knock-on effect on other wellbeing habits you form. As a guest on a recent podcast, he tells Rangan Chaterjee that on the days he works out, he chooses healthier eating, for example.
A sense of purpose controls wellbeing
A viral video shared over Xmas showed how purpose and physical fitness were interrelated. An elderly man is shown taking up working out with kettlebells in his shed. In the first shot he can barely lift the weight. But the story unfolds and the man gets fitter and stronger, until in the final shot his ‘why’ is revealed, as he lifts his granddaughter up so she can place the star on the Xmas tree .
Mental health is a priority
A sense of purpose also leads to better mental health management . The need to take control of mental health has been pushed higher up the agenda with concerns over Covid-19 helping to fuel a mental health epidemic . A recent survey from Young Minds showed that 80 per cent of young people with an existing mental health problem felt their mental health had worsened early on in the pandemic.
Manage stress to improve wellbeing
The Mayo Clinic highlights the significance of the impact stress has on physical health issues, including high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes . Managing stress can include simple techniques such as mindfulness, which meditation app Headspace research has proven to be effective and improve wellbeing. Ironically, it’s letting go of control that puts you in your wellbeing driving seat.
And you need to take control your financial health
According to research from Vitality , employees who have financial concerns are losing more than twice as much productive time than those without, and report on significantly unhealthier lifestyle choices. Being in or out of control of your finances has a dramatic impact on all aspects of yours and the global state of wellbeing.
Fiona is the editorial director at i-wellbeing , a wellbeing publisher and consultancy working with businesses who are proactive about wellbeing. She’s had a life-long passion for health, fitness and wellbeing and has combined writing about wellbeing with coaching and endurance sport.
Written by Fiona Bugler, Content Creator at MySense.