It goes without saying that the months of lockdowns, home-working and separation from loved ones have been tough. 2020 tested our resolve and turned our anxiety levels to the max, and many of us are still continuing to grapple with our own personal struggles. For this reason, it's never been more important to look after our wellbeing — a term used to refer to our overall state, relative to health, happiness and prosperity.
Our greatest wealth is our health
At Adaptavist we’re committed to shining the brightest of lights on this important topic to give it the time, focus and attention it deserves. At the end of 2020 we launched "Health at Home", an initiative that focused on different areas of wellbeing every day for one week. During the week we shared key insights and offered practical tips and tricks to achieve health at home.
Here’s a round-up of the wellbeing pillars we explored and how they contribute to a balanced and healthy life:
- Day 1: Psychological wellbeing
The phrase “psychological wellbeing” is used to describe an individual’s emotional health and overall functioning. Researchers have also found that the absence of distress doesn’t necessarily signify that a person has high psychological wellbeing — rather, it is about feeling happy and doing well. People with high psychological wellbeing report feeling capable, happy, well-supported and satisfied with life.
- Day 2: Social wellbeing
Social health also contributes to wellbeing — feeling positive about interactions with other people and the wider world. Being socially healthy includes being able to interact with a range of people and having respect, empathy and tolerance for others. It also looks at how we can build healthy relationships and connections in order to support our mental wellbeing.
- Day 3: Physical wellbeing
Looking after your physical wellbeing isn’t just about staying active, although being outside and making the most out of the great outdoors does help. Getting a good night’s sleep and eating healthily are also among the many lifestyle factors that build up the cornerstones of a balanced way of life. Whatever your age, there's strong scientific evidence that being physically active can help you to be healthier and happier. People who exercise regularly have a lower risk of developing many long-term (chronic) conditions.
- Day 4: Environmental wellbeing
Environmental wellbeing has two main pillars. "Global Environment" relates to the process of sustaining or improving the quality of life available in a physical environment (for example by recycling and picking up litter). "Personal Environment" refers to how our own personal environment can impact our wellbeing, and the steps we can take to ensure this impact is a positive one.
- Day 5: 7 x 7 challenge and creating a "Health at Home" action plan
The final day of our wellbeing week was all about giving people the motivation to kick-start their personal wellbeing agenda and we lined up some resources, tools and challenges for them to choose from.
There’s no one-size-fits-all
The Oxford English Dictionary defines wellbeing as, “the state of being comfortable, healthy or happy”. But when it comes to both our mental and physical wellbeing we rarely all fit into neat distinct boxes. What makes one person comfortable, healthy or happy may completely miss the mark for another. There are so many different factors at play.
For instance — and I apologise in advance to any yoga enthusiasts reading this — but personally, I really struggle with yoga. I know it has been proven to boost wellbeing, but for me, it's just not relaxing. In fact, if anything it increases my anxiety which of course totally defeats the purpose!
So the moral of my story is to remember that your wellbeing is your own personal journey. There’s no cookie-cutter approach and nor should there be. We are all unique human beings, with unique needs, so it’s really about discovering what works best for you and going for it.
Building mental resilience
On the final two days of our ‘Health at Home’ week, we ran two introductory sessions to Mixed Mental Arts by Tough Cookie. Tough Cookie supports organisations to prevent mental health problems in the workplace by training staff in Mixed Mental Arts — a toolkit of 12 practical techniques designed to build up people's mental resilience by changing the way they manage their thoughts and emotions.
We guided our people through theory and techniques to understand how the mind works (and how it can work against us!), drawing on the latest scientific findings from the emerging research field of mental resilience.
Creating a safe space to share ideas
At Adaptavist we appreciate that life isn't always easy and sometimes we all need support. So we try to provide a safe space to let these important conversations flow — not to force them, but to create opportunities for those who need and want them. We even have an #its-ok Slack channel that people can join to share daily challenges, offer encouragement, and soundboard thoughts with supportive colleagues.
Staying well at home. Staying well together
One of our main drivers for launching our Health at Home initiative was to encourage and nurture these really critical wellbeing conversations. Working at home for long periods can increase anxiety at the best of times, never mind in the midst of a pandemic.
We realised that many of our team members could be suffering in silence and we wanted to offer them a ‘virtual’ helping hand and empower them to take control of their personal wellbeing journey.
Wellbeing is a global challenge for everyone right now, and we are always stronger working through these things together. We’d love to know what your organisation is doing to support and promote wellbeing. Let’s share our ideas and get the conversation going...