Wellness is the practice of maintaining healthy habits to achieve positive outcomes for your mind and body.
We asked our wonderful community this question:
'What does Wellness Mean to You?'
"It's about mindful decision-making driven by long-term goals so that you can move towards the best version of yourself," wrote Lynn who is a Fundraising Executive from Belfast, currently on maternity leave.
Lynn talked openly about the need to dare to walk the path to wellness and interestingly, the 'life-long learning' about what works best for you in the pursuit of balance.
In truth, balance looks different to everyone and in order to know how to pursue such wellness, do we need to experience an unhealthy mind or relationship with ourselves before we can appreciate what wellness really means?
Alison from Kent, a nanny and housekeeper told us that she hadn't given the word or concept a single thought before 3 years ago; up until that point she had been living what she described as a very contented life. But after a turbulent personal relationship breakdown; leaving her husband of 20 years and uprooting life as she knew it, her world seemed downtrodden. It was when her beloved pet cat went missing amongst all the other stressors, that she felt her well-being plummet. She lost a lot weight through stress and the accompanying anxiety.
"Routine is Non-Negotiable"
Alison feels now that mindful practices such as walks with friends, diffusing essential oils and having a routine is a "non negotiable" part of her wellness journey.
She wrote, "I feel like a completely different person than who I was 3 years ago, even though it was the worst time of my life, I feel I have grown and learned so much from it."
Rebecca - a small business owner, who resides in Donaghadee, wrote that a few years ago, she too, made a conscious decision to take control of her health - both mental and physical. "For me, wellness means more than just surviving each day. We all deserve more than that. It's about knowing who you are and LOVING who you are."
There is an interesting juxtaposition with one person losing weight through stress and another losing because they are intentionally doing so to better their health, just shows that the journey of achieving true wellness is different for everyone.
...But is the wellness space "toxic"?
India, a Medical Writer who is currently working from home had her own view on the ability for a "toxic positivity wellness space" to be too much of good thing gone bad. She wrote "The idea of wellness in the current chaotic world we live in can often seem an overwhelming necessity to which we must achieve to be a good human. We get bombarded with messages that we MUST eat well, we MUST walk 10,000 steps, we MUST be mindful, we MUST be environmentally friendly, we MUST, we MUST... but actually what is it doing to enhance our personal well-being. What lockdown has taught me is that there is much pleasure in stillness and quiet and this is what my personal wellness is built on."
On reflection - being completely mindful with yourself is what matters most. Five short moments out of the crazy hectic world we live in is really a great step to a healthy mind.
'Well' feels like a mountain to climb...
Kathi a retired School Principal seemed to agree at the velocity of the word and its meaning, Often the sense of being “well” appears like a huge mountain to climb, looming in front of you and overshadowing your every move. You feel stuck at the bottom, wondering if you can ever succeed in moving forward, never mind up the mountain!! It is, therefore, these moments of wellness that become the essential tools in your survival tool kit, because they allow you to relax, to breathe, to enjoy, to laugh, to move….to just be."
Lynn eloquently added "Decisive action in areas such as good nutrition, exercise and relaxation, will help you improve your overall wellness. But remember: wellness is a journey not a destination. And, as with all great journeys, it’s best to start small."
We absolutely agree with Lynn - start small - a little drop of luxury, a peaceful bath, a moment journaling like Alison relies on, an exercise class that Rebecca can't live without. Wellness is about looking after yourself in a way that matters to you. Be kind to your mind and your thoughts and take the journey little by little.
GRATITUDE GRATITUDE GRATITUDE
From experience, we believe one of the most important foundations of true wellness is born from gratitude ....Be mindful of what you have received and what you can still offer. Our journey to wellness is the balance between these.