Wellbeing – what is it and why should we look after it?

Image of personChristina McEleney is the Coordinator for Alcohol & other Drugs Education and Training for the North West Region, hosted by Donegal ETB. She is also a professionally qualified Workplace Wellbeing specialist and supports our Workplace Wellbeing activities. In this blog, Christina provides some tips on what staff, students and the wider ETB community can do to look after their wellbeing as we head into a new year.

What is wellbeing?

Wellbeing consists of many interacting factors – our emotional, financial, external environmental, social, physical, spiritual, intellectual and occupational elements all interact into how we feel, how we think and how we act or react to things that challenge us. Wellbeing is a work in progress for everyone: very few people have it all sorted out! It’s a practice and a discipline and everybody can improve their wellbeing. Donegal ETB have been engaged in the promotion of workplace wellbeing for staff over the last couple of years.

Why is it important to look after our wellbeing?

Without doubt we face many challenges in our lives, and most particularly of late, challenges we never dreamed could actually happen. Many of us had to adjust, learn new skills, work in a different and unfamiliar way whilst trying our best. We are dealing with a psychological and physical threat to our wellbeing which is something the world has not experienced in its present form. The sense of not knowing, feeling insecure, afraid, having to do new things, things we never had to do before may be a bit disorientating for some and this is completely understandable. Your wellbeing is impacted by every element in your life, your workplace, home life, relationships, social life, the place you live, your achievements, your emotional health, mental health, your finances, and many others things, all very unique to you. It has never been more important to asses and work on your own wellbeing as it is more complex that it sometimes appears. Improvement to your wellbeing  can only happen if you become actively involved in taking some actions that you personally need to take for your wellbeing.

Tips to support your wellbeing in 2022

There are so many things you can do to look after your own wellbeing and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by it all. To avoid that here are some tips you can follow to support your own wellbeing:

  1. Personal Reflection: The most important first step is to be open to the fact that we can all make improvements. Ask yourself some questions, what is it that you want to improve, what part of your wellbeing needs attention, what is it you want to feel better about? Be truthful, realistic and honest with yourself.
  2. Start Where You Are: Get real about the issue and the “time” you can allocate to focus on it. Don’t overwhelm yourself by taking on too much change in too many areas of your life at the one time.
  3. Map and Track: Small, incremental steps, well planned and thought about, reaching small goals on a daily, weekly and monthly basis – “Map it – Track it”. What is the one thing you can do today for your wellbeing, what is your daily goal, what is your weekly goal and what do you want to have achieved by the end of a month?
  4. Get Back On The Wagon: Life gets in the way; you fall out of the good practice you’ve been at, that’s a natural thing to happen. Get up, brush yourself off, reflect on what happened, make a plan B for if that happens again, and “get back on the wagon”. One day lost is not a disaster, it’s a blip. The next day is a new opportunity. Begin again.
  5. Celebrate The Wins: We make the choices; the results are directly linked to our choices. Yes, you have a choice, everyday! When you focus on your wellbeing, when you actively make the effort,  actively spend time on that area of your life you want to you will get results. Recognition and reward is an important part of your progress.

Top tip – one hour less on your phone/ social media/ TV is 365 hours in the year which equates to 15 days – how better can you use that hour?