How much of a priority is your wellbeing in your life?
A quick Google definition of wellbeing will find that it’s ‘the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy’ and really to me, it’s a combination of all three. I look at wellbeing with a holistic approach, taking into account the bigger picture; it isn’t just about your physical wellbeing but your mental and emotional too. A lot can be said for looking after your mind, body and spirit and through making my wellbeing a top priority in my life, I have found the benefits to my happiness, confidence and quality of life to be amazing.
I talk a lot about self care and wellbeing on my WhatLauraLoves Instagram because I really want to share snippets of my story with you all and what I’ve learnt that’s helped me in life so far but that’s all for another time on here. For now, let me say that by placing an increasing importance on my own wellbeing and factoring out the worry of what others may think about me or what society demands of me, I have been able to better myself both inside and out which has enabled me to become happier, calmer and have more of a zest for life. I’m always trying to better myself and maintain to become an improved, sustainable version of myself and all the while, I’m so thankful for how far I’ve come, especially with my mental and emotional health.
Whatever you define living your best life to be, it’s important that you practice self care, listen to your mind and body and put yourself first from time to time. You deserve to love and look after yourself as much as you do to others. Some people may argue that they don’t have time, but no matter how busy your work gets or what responsibilities you have, you can also make time to improve the health of your mind and body if you prioritise your self care. It could be spending an extra 5 minutes in the shower to pamper yourself (my post on beauty products and rituals to help relieve stress might help you!), taking 10 minutes out of your day to meditate or read a book for some vital switch off time or it could be going to a gym class for an hours escapism from social media and daily chores.
Not looking after yourself can have consequences on your mind and body and can even affect your relationships with those around you, including your partner, loved ones, friends and even work colleagues. Regular check ups at your doctor and other health professionals is another part of self care; how many times do you put off going to the doctors or dentist? Never skip these appointments and always schedule one in if you feel something isn’t quite right.
IMPACTS YOUR EVERYDAY HABITS
Think about your daily habits for a moment, and your typical routine. When you wake up in the morning, do you brush your teeth and shower, ensuring you have good hygiene? When do you give yourself a break from social media or screen time? How often do you meditate? What does your skincare routine look like? How often do you cook balanced meals? How regularly do you exercise be it for fitness or sheer enjoyment? When was the last time you checked your bank account without worrying at what you’d see? These are all factors that can affect your overall health and wellbeing and there’s plenty more where they came from!
Choosing to adopt habits that aren’t good for you and consistently carrying them out can really make your health suffer and its definitely something that you learn that you need to get under control over the years. No one is by any means perfect all of the time, I’m certainly not but I’m learning as I get older that I need to focus on me, my health and my wellbeing.
Last year I was poorly so frequently from June onwards when I got a chest infection that took an age to leave my system, then from September it felt as though I was poorly more times than I wasn’t right up until December when I was constantly ill and didn’t get better until mid January. It really took its toll on my body and I know that a big factor is that I’m always burning the candle at both ends; my lack of sleep means that I don’t have enough energy for my day, I start to develop stress when I have so much work on and lots to do at home and as my immune system is low, I end up with a cold or a virus. From this year forward, I’m determined to get my bedtime routine under control so that I can get the sleep that I need each night. I’m learning to have my notifications off on my phone so that it doesn’t disturb me and I’m not checking it all of the time which is enabling me to have better quality time with those around me and a more relaxing night before bed. I’m focusing on meditation and switching off in an effort to slow down my thoughts so that I can get to sleep.
I’m someone who likes to set myself small goals and work towards them. Sometimes I feel as though I’m not getting to the finish line quickly but perhaps its more that the finish line doesn’t exist. Life is very much a journey after all and as an individual, I like to think of myself as always evolving. I’ll never be perfect but that’s not the aim so however small a step I take, forward is still forward.
AFFECTS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR LOVED ONES
If you are not looking after your wellbeing, both your mental or physical health can affect your relationship with others. This can be in so many instances from the extreme to the mild but what I will say is that it is important to look after yourself as best you can so that you’re better equipped for looking after others. All too often in life do we put so many other people before ourselves but if our own energy stores aren’t replenished, how will we ever be able to effectively care for another.
There will often be elements of your lifestyle and wellbeing that you can work on yourself at home, for example with your sleeping routine or self care around hygiene but its really important to be able to acknowledge when your issues are manifesting into something more serious such as depression, insomnia, alcoholism, etc. Although it’s hard to speak out, you need to get the help that you need professionally in order to help yourself first and foremost but those around you too. Suffering with depression, for example, is terrible for the individual to live with and it can put a strain on your relationship with your partner but there is help available for you and to help those around you to cope and adequately support you.
When you’re experiencing mental health problems, it is easy to blame yourself and close yourself off to your loved ones around you but its important to not distance yourself from them. What you are going through isn’t your fault and there is help available. There are plenty of mental health helplines available for you to reach out to as well if you feel as though you don’t want to speak to those around you.
TALKING TO YOUR DOCTOR FOR ADVICE
Talking to your doctor or another healthcare professional is one of the key steps to take in order to look after yourself be it mentally or physically. Found a lump? Struggling to cope and feeling hopeless? Lost all of your energy? Book an appointment with your doctor. It might be that you are referred to a specialist, given medication, need regular check-ups and routine tests done or perhaps nothing at all; at least you will have done what you can to ensure that there is nothing wrong with your health and if there is, then you’ve gone to the right place to get it sorted. Remember that not everything will be apparent on the outside, after all and if something is caught, you will need to receive treatment. If you have a disability and are part of a government insurance scheme, use your benefits wisely by coordinating your goals and needs with an NDIS plan management officer. We’re so lucky in the UK to have the vital services of the NHS and the option of private treatment too for those who are in a position to pay for it.
On the flipside, there are some cases, albeit not common, where your treatment may not go as planned. If you feel like your symptoms have aggravated as a result of the doctor’s advice, you may be victim to medical negligence. This isn’t something to take lightly, and you will need to consult experts to ensure that you are provided compensation if this scenario were to occur, for which you can read more about at the-medical-negligence-experts.co.uk.
If you think about it, is there anything more important than your personal wellbeing? You can’t pursue your dreams and aspirations in life if you are constantly plagued with illness be it physically or mentally and there’s no shame or embarrassment in admitting that you need help or that something is wrong. Healthcare professionals really have seen it all, regardless of whether it is naturally occurring or self inflicted. While it is inevitable that everyone will become poorly at some point in their lives, maintaining healthy habits and being mindful of the choices that you make can help to keep this at bay.
What have you done to look after yourself recently? What healthy habits work best for your lifestyle?