The Whole Wellbeing
When was the last time you checked on your own wellbeing? What does that even mean? Sure, we understand what it means when someone asks us how we are doing. We usually answer in a general sense, “fine”. Sometimes, we even talk about it. We tell them about a particularly rough day or a recent happy experience. But that is not it!
Many people wrap wellbeing into five areas: career wellbeing, social wellbeing, financial wellbeing, physical wellbeing and community wellbeing. I would like to add a sixth and seventh area that people shy away from: mental wellbeing and spiritual wellbeing. Let’s spend some time examining these areas.
I like to refer to this as Purpose Wellbeing. Makes more sense. The definition of career is “an occupation or profession” while purpose means “the reason for which something exists”. Wouldn’t you rather live your life for the reason you exist instead of for an occupation or profession?
When choosing a career, we often consider what skillsets we have acquired, maybe what we have learned to do well or can learn to do well, how much money we can earn doing it and if we are smart; we may even consider if we like it or if it will bring some happiness. Now a purpose is not something we CHOOSE. Purpose is something we were meant to do. Do not get me wrong, the two can align and when they do, it is the best outcome ever!
So how do you find your purpose? It is a journey. It does not have to be hard, but most likely it will take time and some true introspection. God has gifted each one of us with unique innate talents. These are different from skills that we learn. Although we can sometimes use skills to imitate innate talents, there is a difference. There are some assessments that can start you in the right direction, but your lived experiences can also help you figure it out. If you need help, consider investing in a Life Coach. This is a personal investment that you will reap benefits from for years.
CHECK IN: Are you living your purpose or living a career? Are you fulfilled? Do you feel drained at the end of the day or wanting for more?
We are social beings, even introverts need people. No matter where we find “our people”; family, friends, work, we need friendship or companionship. If we thought otherwise, the pandemic sure showed us how much we need it by forcing us to be less social. Think about your social wellbeing. Remember that we are all individuals, so this looks different for everyone. Some people need a lot of friends, people they can share many different things with. Some people only need a couple of close friends. Some people might be fine just with family.
CHECK IN: Who is part of your social circle? Are you receiving enough socialization? Do you have a confidante? Do you have someone to have fun with? Someone to help keep the sanity?
We measure financial wellbeing by how our finances are managed. Does the thought of money make you feel sick or worried? Do you need to spend it as soon as you get it for fear there won’t be any?
Having financial stability makes life easier. I know, duh! We are always pushed to buy on credit. The latest fads are payday loans. Get a loan now because you cannot make it to payday. This is a road to disaster because it will take you MANY paydays to pay it off! Then there is the old “keeping up with the Joneses.” That is when you need to have what everyone else has even if you cannot afford it.
The best thing you can do for your wellbeing is to live WITHIN your means. That means that you have money to pay your bills, money to save for emergencies, money to save for the next big purchase and money to treat yourself. The answer to this is living with a budget. Yes, it is hard; but it is the easiest way to see your income, track expenses, follow goals and meet your needs.
According to an article published in the journal Family Relationships, the number one predictor of whether you’ll end up divorced, is arguing about money early in your relationship. A budget brings everything out into the open. Both people know what money is coming in and where it is going. This makes having factual discussions easier.
CHECK IN: How does money make you feel? Do you have a fear of losing everything because you are living beyond your means? Do you have money saved? Do you utilize a budget?
This one is easy. Do you have the energy, stamina, and health to live your life? What foods do you consume? Do you feed your body or are you feeding your feelings? A healthy well-balanced diet is important to ensure energy and proper brain function. Plus, we all feel better when we think we look better. What about exercise? To have healthy lungs and heart takes exercise. All of your body parts need oxygen. Keeping your brain well-oxygenated helps increase effectiveness of the brain, specifically memory. Exercise also increases energy and better sleep. All of these contribute to physical wellbeing. There are many resources to help in this area without resorting to fad diets which do more harm in the end.
CHECK IN: Are you overweight? Do you suffer from medical conditions that could be managed with a proper diet and/or exercise? Is your memory suffering? Do you feel tired or fatigued?
This topic is finally being addressed as it should be. This is a normal concern and should never be taboo or cause embarrassment. Life can be hard and we all cope in different ways. What you need to know is that this is an area you can make stronger before you even notice it is weak! People have emotions. It is ok to feel. What makes a difference is how you put those feelings into action. In this fast-paced world, stress is abundant. If you suffer from stress, anger, self-doubt or other constant emotions, learn tactics to address the symptoms and then work on the underlying issues.
It doesn’t matter if you learn meditation, deep breathing techniques or how to go to a happy place if the need to do so occurs frequently. You need to find the cause. Really examine situations where these feelings arise and look for the causes. Once you find the causes, you need a plan to address them or find a solution. This may not be something you can do alone. Please always seek help if your situation is something you cannot handle or if you feel hopeless.
CHECK IN: How are you feeling emotionally? Do you have extreme highs or lows? Do you feel angry, lost or forgotten? Do you believe in yourself?
Community wellbeing has to do with where you live. Do you like where you live? Does it suit your personality? Do you spend time enjoying your community by getting involved and getting to know your neighbors? Your community, where you live, plays a big part in your happiness.
If you are an outdoorsy person, you will most likely be happy living amongst some nature or at least close enough to go enjoy it. If you are a person who likes to shop often, a suburban area close to shopping plazas or malls will bring joy even as you drive by. If you like to spend more time alone than surrounded by people, you may want to live farther out in a rural area where drop-ins are less likely to happen. What is most important is that your community brings you joy when you drive through it as well as spending everyday living in it.
CHECK IN: How do you feel about your community? Is it home or do you spend your time thinking of moving? Is it a place you want to be involved in or hide from?
There are many religions and faiths including agnostics. Whatever your belief is, it is an important part of you. It helps to make you who you are. That said, it should be cared for like the other six parts of your wellbeing.
Examining your core beliefs, determine what is the foundation. Is this something you decided or something you have been told and just accepted? Is this something you are unsure about? If it is yours to the extent that you claim it, how can you develop it? You can practice your faith; you can enrich your understanding and knowledge of your faith. If you determine that it was “forced” upon you and is not really your belief, you can explore your options through education and talking with different people.
We are spiritual beings even if we choose to not have faith in God. Spiritual is based on spirit which definition is stated as “the principle of conscious life; the vital principle in humans.”
So, find out where the foundation of your conscious life is and enrich and empower it.
CHECK IN: Is your spirituality developed? Do you spend time enriching or growing your spirituality? How does your spirituality make you, you?
All seven of these areas of wellbeing make you the person you are. They also can be enriched and fed to further your fulfillment. Consider working with a coach or a variety of coaches. There are great coaches that can help you in all areas of wellbeing. Aren’t you worth the investment?