What is wellbeing?
You need to understand yourself – your bio-type, personality preferences, drivers and emotional balance – and from this awareness, know when you are in balance. Your wellbeing is good when you feel healthy, motivated and productive. If you feel alert and ready for the day, when you wake up in the morning and have enough energy to last the day, these are symptoms of wellbeing.
Symptoms of being out of balance
- Do you feel tired, finding it difficult to focus on tasks or pay attention in meetings? You may feel tired when you get up and this lasts all day. Or you may struggle to concentrate on tasks and have dips in performance during the day.
- Are you putting on weight, even though you think you haven’t changed what you eat?
- Do you find yourself snacking, because you want the comfort of eating, though you’re not hungry?
- Are you exercising less? Maybe you just can’t find the time?
- Do you feel unhappy and experience mood swings, which affect your work? Maybe you’re more short-tempered with people and find it difficult to tolerate poor behaviour.
- Are you finding building and maintaining relationships difficult?
- Are you filled with doubt about your position at work or your role in life?
20 Tips to help build your wellbeing
Lifestyle and work-life balance:
- Nutrition and dietary habits: keep a note about what you eat and when, then you can evaluate how healthy your diet is and adjust to take in a balanced diet.
- Always eat breakfast: You need energy for work and if you don’t take in enough food, you will compromise your ability to focus and perform well.
- Stop for lunch: Not only is the food important, but also a break away from the workspace. A bit of downtime will help you recharge and enable you to be more productive in the afternoon.
- Grazing: If you prefer to snack 5-6 times a day, rather than eat 3 meals, take care to eat a healthy balance to get the right nutrition.
- Drink lots of water: Your body needs hydration, and you can take in nutrients through juice and smoothies, but avoid too much coffee or coke and other fizzy drinks, drink water instead.
- Eat your evening meal at a reasonable hour: If you work a long day, make sure you eat at least a couple of hours before going to sleep.
- Be active every day: Take up regular sport or exercise and increase your general activity levels, it can be as simple as fast walking. How active are you at work? Do you use stairs, rather than lifts or escalators? Do you walk at least some of the way to work?
- Stand up and move around: If your job is sedentary, it’s a good idea to move about every hour or so. Recently researchers claimed that we should have two hours not sitting per day.
- Take breaks: If you work long hours, it is particularly important to take breaks. Take at least a few minutes every 90 minutes to keep your productivity up.
- Sleep: It’s generally understood that we need about 8 hours sleep. Neuroscientists have found that the brain does essential cleansing at night, which is also important for memory function. Some of this activity only happens after 6 hours sleep.
- Avoid toxins: Smoking, excessive drinking, recreational drugs are all toxic and to be avoided for health and wellbeing.
- Strengthen your support network: Positive relationships both inside and outside work are important to wellbeing. You need someone you trust to talk to when you feel under pressure, sharing the challenges helps you think them through and work out how to deal with things.
- Develop other interests: Participating in sports and other hobbies outside work, as well as social activities helps you maintain a more balanced perspective on work/life.
- Daylight / lighting – does the workplace have natural light? Poor lighting can lead to eye-strain and headaches, make sure your workspace is well lit.
- Fresh air – do you get out during the day for fresh air? This is particularly important if you work in an air-conditioned environment.
- Ergonomics of desk set-up – make sure your seat and work-station are set up correctly for you and that you sit properly. Hunched shoulders as you work at the computer will lead to tension and back pain.
- Company culture – does the culture suit you? If you’re an early morning person, but the general habit is for late start and late finish, this will affect your performance and wellbeing. See if you can come to an arrangement that will work for both sides, if not you may be better off looking for an environment that suits you.
- Management style – what is the quality of your relationship with your manager? Do you get the support and the challenge that you need? Think about what you can do to build a relationship that works for both of you.
- Managing your workload – are the priorities and timeframes clear? Focus on these and let the small stuff go, if you don’t have enough time.
- Managing yourself – are you fully trained and equipped to carry out the tasks or still learning the job? Negotiate appropriate levels of support to deliver on your objectives. Say ‘No’ to requests that take you away from delivering on your priorities. If you think the workload is greater than your capacity, raise this with your manager and gain agreement on what you can drop.
When working on your wellbeing, the following approach will provide structure:
- Identify the things that affect your wellbeing – both positively and negatively
- Identify your personality preferences and habits that help or hinder your wellbeing
- Work out your personal needs right now
- Develop an action plan to address those needs, take control and regain balance. If you have a lot going on, start with one action. Pick one that will quickly make a difference to how you feel. This will help you feel more resourceful to take on further actions.
You may find this too difficult to do through self-coaching, in this case find a coach to work with. The coach will help you identify the issues and develop an action plan that you are committed to. They will support you through the changes you will need to make to get back to a place of physical and emotional well-being. Your health is worth it!
Amanda Bouch helps managers become confident leaders, build strong teams and deliver business results. She has over 20 years’ experience as a trainer, facilitator and coach and specialises in communication, managing and leading people. Go to www.amandabouchconsulting.co.uk for a free guide: “Four keys to being an effective leader”