Now in its third year, World WellBeing Week starts today. Established here in Jersey, the international awareness week will run through to the end of the month, extending the opportunity for participation. In total, organisations will have up to 10 days to celebrate the fortitude of their people.
It will also give the opportunity for community groups to include weekend activities and events in consecutive weeks, as desired. The added flexibility and choice is seen as a fitting tribute to the growing importance of wellbeing in society and workplaces today.
The last year has certainly brought its challenges, and forced new ways of working with many employees at home for months at a time. Hailed as the experiment we thought would take a decade to bring to fruition, hybrid working has come of age.
The pandemic has also revealed a capacity for change, never before thought possible, with people adapting mentally and physically. It has brought with it new ways of thinking and resilience, and one word on everyone’s lips has been ‘wellbeing’.
But what is wellbeing?
Essentially a good or satisfactory condition of existence, wellbeing is also a state of being comfortable, healthy or happy. It has never before been so important.
Any acknowledgement of wellbeing is a move in the right direction, and it is often something which brings with it a wide variety of interpretations. Wellbeing will always mean different things to different people, across different ages and different cultures, and this will change as circumstances change.
How is wellbeing achieved?
It’s a good question and there are a number of theories. Research conducted by the New Economics Foundation gives us five ways to wellbeing: Connect, Be active, Take notice, Keep learning and Give. These are certainly important.
Over the last two decades in the corporate environment, through our own research and working since 2011 with a wide variety of practitioners and experts, locally and internationally, we have compiled our own template for what we feel contributes to deep and meaningful wellbeing.
The key is in the word itself, and, during World WellBeing Week, we will share each of the 9 science-backed drivers which contribute to a balanced, holistic and harmonious life.
Day 1: Our focus today is WORK and Finding the WHY.
Often at the centre of people’s lives, work can provide financial security, learning and development, camaraderie, and life purpose. Volunteer work and caring for friends and family members are also significant contributors to enhancing the meaning in our lives. Continual learning and development has also been shown to be strongly associated with enhanced levels of wellbeing.
Ideally, we love the work we do. Especially so if it aligns with our purpose, we will feel energised to give the best we can. If we don’t love our work, and not everybody can, it helps to breakdown the role and look for the good. There are always elements of a job which give pleasure, whether this is helping people, creating new ideas, solving problems, achieving goals. Some people love working on the detail, others prefer the big picture.
It doesn’t mean you don’t need to fulfil the whole role, or that everything is easy (we know it’s not), although a focus on the good will definitely help to create a feeling of satisfaction and the desired state of wellbeing.
Even if you love every aspect of your work, it is said that satisfaction in one’s career isn’t necessarily as a result of the job you do, but how you do that job. It is therefore important to remember, and to practice, self-care, for even if we have adapted to our new place of work, the way we work hasn’t changed. We are still sitting in front of our laptops for hours on end, eating food on the run, and working into the evening as our work and home life blends into one.
If this continues over an extended period of time, the result is burnout; a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It is exacerbated when we feel we are treated unfairly, if we feel out of control, or if our resources are insufficient, or feel insufficient, to handle the task at hand.
The pandemic has of course been a major catalyst for burnout.
Top Tips for Self-Care at Work to Avoid Burnout
1. Remember to take regular, short breaks to stretch and to give your eyes and your brain a rest. Go outside, if and where you can.
2. Ask for help and assistance when needed.
3. Practice mindfulness if things become stressful. Being in the present, increases awareness and clarity, which directly enhances wellbeing.
4. The 4-7-8 breathing technique is also known to bring instant calm (breathe in to a count of 4, hold for 7, and exhale to a count of 8).
5. And, remember to segregate work and home life, and introduce a more healthful work/life balance (more of this later this week).
There are lots more examples of good wellbeing which we will bring to you as World WellBeing Week unfolds. We will also bring you the news of who’s doing what locally and around the world.
If you have your own events and activities, please share using the hashtag #worldwellbeingweek so we can like and share.
Until tomorrow …
View our WellBeing World magazine by clicking the pages below.