A global pandemic has a way of forcing us to appreciate our wellbeing. Most people have been aware of the importance of keeping their bodies healthy to boost their immunity, but we could have never imagined that a global pandemic would create the awakening that COVID-19 has to the importance of holistic wellbeing in our lives.
According to Merriam-Webster’s definition, wellbeing is essentially the state of being healthy, happy, or prosperous. But when the world seems to be experiencing anything but health, happiness, and prosperity, is it still possible to achieve personal wellbeing? Based on decades of research and scientific evidence, I know that even in the midst of a pandemic, personal wellbeing is achievable. At Partners For Wellbeing, we use a contemporary framework comprising five key elements (human connection, mind/body health, fulfillment, community, and financial wellness) that together can ultimately enable our personal wellbeing.
Focusing on these five key elements may seem overwhelming at first, but with some small tweaks in our daily practices we can achieve greater health, happiness, and prosperity. Furthermore, improved hearing may be one of those important tweaks as you consider the interdependence of hearing with these elements.
Five Key Elements of Wellbeing:
Invest daily in your social connections – whether they are your closest relationships or small chance interactions with a stranger.
This element is about the quality of relationships in our lives as well as the frequency of quality interactions with others. With daily routines disrupted by COVID-19, how do we make up for lost human connection if we are more homebound than usual? Video chats and phone calls are being heavily leveraged to fill that void, but what enables our genuine connectivity with other people? Conversation.
Consider investing at least one solid hour a day in your best relationships. Surprise someone you love and ask them an open-ended question, then listen intently. “What’s on your mind today?” “What’s one good thing that has happened to you even in the midst of COVID-19?” If you want some fresh ideas on how to effectively “conversate” check out: convers-ate.com. Alternatively, a short walk around your neighborhood and a simple wave and hello to a neighbor or passerby (at a safe social distance) can also give us a boost in our wellbeing.
Calendar “me” time for mindfulness, movement and sleep (i.e., “self-care”)
Two parts to one whole – mind and body. This is about having good health and energy to do the things you desire in day-to-day life. The bottom line is that most of us need to move more and sleep more (not surprisingly). That said, I will highlight a couple considerations focused more on mindfulness practices to boost our mind/body health. A daily 10-minute meditation practice can be achieved using one of many available apps, such as Headspace, Calm, or a lesser known workplace-based app called Wise@Work. Some people struggle, however, with meditation. The good news is that we can employ other mindfulness practices that will help us achieve some of the same benefits. Try an adult coloring book, a puzzle, a simple 30-second 3×3 breathing exercise, or even 5 minutes of solace outside doing nothing but breathing and taking it all in.
Know your strengths and use them in some capacity every day
This is about achievement. It is enabled by doing things that bring you a feeling of happiness, contentment and positive impact. Some people find fulfillment through their careers, a passion project, or a creative pursuit. One of the ways of attaining fulfillment is by using our signature strengths. To learn more about your signature strengths, check out viacharacter.org. If you are looking for a great read on this topic, check out best-selling author Tom Rath’s newest book, “Life’s Great Question.” His Contribify assessment can also help you better apply your talents to more active contribution and impact, which brings us personal wellbeing in return.
Invest in “other-care”
This is about having a sense of belonging to where you live and work. Our community connections and sense of belonging can be enhanced through volunteerism and giving back. Right now, food banks need volunteers and blood banks need donors. For other ideas on how you can boost your community wellbeing through local opportunities, check out volunteermatch.org.
Conserve cash, consume experiences
This is about having and managing resources to live your desired independent life. Financial wellness becomes more challenging in an economic downturn, and economists will tell you to conserve cash in order to effectively weather a recession. With limitations in travel and leisure activities, it’s a perfect time to shift our spending from money to time-allocation on experiences. These experiences may no longer be defined by a luxurious vacation or fancy dinner out, but they can boost our wellbeing nonetheless. Consider the no-cost/low-cost activities that could spark joy for you and savor those experiences. Two of my favorites include playing board games with my family and jogging with my son. Need a little inspiration? Check out 13 ways to enjoy your life without spending a lot of money.
Through daily practice, we can ultimately achieve health, happiness, and prosperity. As the old saying goes, “seeing is believing,” and I have seen evidence of these positive results firsthand. I also believe that “hearing is experiencing” and I know that improved hearing not only improves mind/body health, but also enables greater wellbeing through enhanced human connection, fulfillment, community, and free/low cost experiences. Living life to its fullest requires us to be thoughtful about what we want, intentional about what we do, and ultimately practice what we need. Go forth and prosper!