I’m observing around me that a sense of well-being, hope and happiness is in short supply among people in general. And it seems to include everyone from the wealthiest to the poorest. The well off have a degree of buffering with their beautiful houses, multiple holidays and level of security. The poorer among us are more susceptible to feeling unsafe, insecure and more prone to mental and physical health issues.
But everyone seems to be more worried in recent times. Mental health issues are exploding and the level of antidepressant prescribing is sharply rising as is drug and alcohol abuse.
A barrage of disasters, dangers and threats are hurled our way by the news and the media. The environment, inequality, poverty, food banks and homelessness, refugees, knife crime, widespread child abuse, cuts to services, wars around the world….
Our amygdalas are in permanent fight, flight, freeze alert, unless we numb ourselves by cutting off our feelings or self medicating.
How on earth can one maintain a level of wellbeing with this onslaught?
I’m taking a two pronged approach. Helping myself and then finding an area I can help others.
I’m addressing my personal level of wellbeing and reducing stress. As I’ve mentioned here recently I’ve been having a slow dive crash into burnout over the last few years. Doing too much, working too hard, worrying a lot, trying to please too many people…no more!
I have abruptly stopped that descent recently by reducing my workload and happily accepting a reduced income for the sake of my health and wellbeing.
Now I’m in recovery and already noticing the benefits. Early days though, and aware I’m vulnerable to old habits so I’m looking after myself like a patient! Im not capable of much at the moment and I’m allowing that. Minimal activity and effort.
- I lie on the sofa whenever I feel I need to and take naps if necessary
- I don’t answer the phone or look at emails as often.
- Going for slower ambling walks in the woods, rather than miles daily and get the dog walker to take the dog if I need a break
- Not working as hard
- Eating well and not too much
- I ask for help when I need it
- Watch the worry thoughts and let them go before they get a grip and start to generate cortisol and adrenaline
- Play beautiful uplifting or relaxing music or rather than listening to the news
- Have a little dance!
- Focusing on the good news stories, there are plenty of websites that focus on good news.
- Being careful who I spend time with. This has greatly reduced my social life which has been hard, but I’m going for quality rather than quantity now.
- Tuning into the beauty of nature daily. In the park, even keeping house plants and buying flowers.
- I cut out alcohol completely for a week and the resulting positive effect was noticeable.
- Getting a good 7 or 8 hour sleep and going to bed early and getting up early
- Using a Fitbit to monitor sleep, weight and exercise is very encouraging I have found. Like an onboard coach or pal.
- Remembering to say thank you inside for all that I have in my life, my friends and family, all that supports me, the people, the beauty, the comfort, good health and all that is beneficial in the world. Including all the people out there who are helping others and the planet.
- Being as loving and pleasant as possible to everyone I meet
The second is to find a role in alleviating the suffering of the world. Since I’ve got some experience of developing self awareness, and care about people, I’m thinking that I’d make a good therapist. So in training at the moment. Seeing clients on placement every week as a student and enjoying being of help and giving those who are suffering a confidential space and trustworthy non judgemental ear.