I’ve been a bit quiet under my health and wellbeing category recently, so I want to write this blog post to share with you what I mean by health & wellbeing, why it’s important to me and what to expect from this new section of my blog.
What does health & wellbeing mean?
The NHS describes health and wellbeing as greater than simply an absence of ill health and disease but a feeling of physical, emotional and psychological wellness. I completely agree, so what does that look like on a day to day basis?
It’s about making the right lifestyle choices for you as an individual so that you are able to do the things you need and want to do, to live life to your full potential. By lifestyle choices I mean diet, physical exercise, reducing stress, getting enough sleep and most importantly looking after your body.
It’s all about balance and listening to what your body and mind are telling you and then making adjustments in your routine where appropriate.
Health and wellbeing can mean different things to different people, and I recognise that we’re not all the same, so it’s about finding out what works for you, to live a fuller, longer and happier life. I’m on this journey to find balance in my life.
Why is this important to me?
Over the last couple of years, I’ve realised the importance and benefits of choosing to live a healthy lifestyle. I would say that today, I feel the most healthy and happy in myself which is down to a number of key things.
Working exercise into your routine
I’ve always been active whether that’s through dance, the gym or just a morning run but when I moved to London I decided to take this more seriously and work exercise into my daily routine. I signed up at a gym next to my office (as convenience is key) and tried to go either first thing in the morning or during lunchtime. I actually really liked my lunchtime classes as this allowed me to get out of the office and take a break from work – I think we’re all guilty of eating lunch at our desks and forgetting to take a decent break because we’re so busy! Making sure that I got my exercise in before 6pm, meant I could use my evenings to socialise, attend events (which was a heavy part of my role at the time) or relax!
Eating a balanced diet
Whilst training at the gym, I learned a lot about balancing exercise with eating the right foods for fuel and muscle recovery. This knowledge that I didn’t have previously has allowed me to make better decisions about my training pattern and when and what I eat. Don’t get me wrong, I still eat and enjoy foods like pizza and burgers, but in moderation. Food has always been a big part of my life so there’s no way I would cut this out!
Maintaining stress levels
The one thing I have been learning more about recently is stress control. I work in a demanding industry and the pressures of that can sometimes be overwhelming. It’s busy, expectations are high and naturally, I want to do a good job. I got to a stage where I was actually nervous about going to work and on edge because I had no idea how I was going to manage all of my deadlines and prioritise my work, other than to stay late and work overtime. Once you start doing this, you become tired, drained, less focused and I felt all of these things and was probably close to burnout. It definitely had a negative effect on my wellbeing.
I realised that this wasn’t sustainable and something had to change. Just small things such as saying no when I was at capacity rather than taking on too much, not taking my laptop home so that I relaxed in the evenings, getting more help from my team to manage the demand and just carving out time in my calendar so that I wasn’t in back to back meetings all day. My job is still demanding but I do feel a lot more in control and relaxed which is how it should be!
I know I am very fortunate to be healthy, but I do believe the choices I make each day contribute to this. It’s a formula that works for me and enables me to perform well at work but also keep a handle on my busy lifestyle out of the office. I arguably still need to learn to slow down sometimes, but hey I like to keep busy!
What can you expect from this section on my blog?
This section of my blog will be full of ideas around how to manage your health & wellbeing so that you can be the best version of yourself. I will share stories, tips and advice based on my own experiences and will keep you updated with anything new that I come across that I think could be useful.
My first challenge to you is to have a think about all of the elements I’ve touched on above to see if there are any small changes you could start to make today for the good of your health & wellbeing. Also, I’d love to hear your stories and ideas if you’re happy to share them in the comments!