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Please enjoy reading Ms Hopkins' Thought for the Term

Posted on: 26/06/2020

Self-CareWellbeing

Well-being is at the heart of self-care.

Well-being is a word that we are hearing and seeing much more than usual at the moment. There has, quite rightly, been a lot of focus on personal well-being during the unusual and difficult circumstances that lockdown has placed us in. The dictionary definition of well-being is ‘the state of being comfortable, happy or healthy’, however, it is important to understand that well-being is a much broader concept than moment to moment happiness.

Well-being is about your thoughts and feelings and how you cope with the ups and downs of everyday life. The better your personal well-being is, the better you are able to deal with any stresses or difficulties you might encounter. The better your well-being is, the more you enjoy the special and exciting moments in life but, perhaps most importantly, the better your well-being, the more you appreciate the small moments and the everyday things. What lockdown has taught me is that I need to think of my own state of well-being as being like a bank balance. Something that is there for me to make withdrawals from whenever I need to work through a problem or a difficulty. My biggest realisation has been that just like a bank balance, I also need to make deposits and top up my account so that my well-being does not become depleted and so that I don’t run out of resilience.

Creating and maintaining good well-being relies on us adding to our well-being bank account regularly; we need to do things that we know will top it up every single day. It seems to me that investing in our personal well-being needs to be a habit. In his brilliant book ‘Atomic Habits’ James Clear writes that ‘your identity emerges out of your habits’ and I think your well-being does too. It can be so easy to put off doing the things that we know we should. How often do you tell yourself that you haven’t got time? That you’ll do it tomorrow? People are brilliant at procrastinating.

The hardest thing about habits is starting them but by building and maintaining great habits you will be investing in your well-being; in your long-term health and happiness. How do you do it? Work out what it is you need to do each day, it might be going for a walk, it might be 10 minutes of exercise every morning, it might be eating a more balanced diet, it might be limiting your time on social media, it might be going to sleep earlier and getting up earlier. Then make it easy to do. James Clear tells us that the two most common cues for habits are time and location; perhaps you could always go for your walk or do your exercise first thing in the morning, maybe you could put healthy snacks where they are visible and easy to reach and put the crisps and chocolate out of reach at the back of a cupboard, perhaps you could set an alarm to let you know when to start your bedtime routine.

The brilliant thing about habits is that once you have formed them, they just become something you do instinctively, they become part of who you are. So, do the difficult thing; create your great habits and do them every single day. Invest in yourself and start building a healthy well-being bank account.

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