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Taking steps to improve wellbeing

This year World Wellbeing Week runs from 27 June - 1 July and is a time to celebrate the many aspects of wellbeing, from meaningful relationships to financial security, physical, mental and emotional health. The list can go on.
With Covid-19 having a big impact on our lives and livelihoods, wellbeing should be a top priority.
The campaign is co-ordinated by Wellbeing World and aims to raise awareness of wellbeing, its importance in society and workplace wellbeing. The main aim of this week is to pause and think, to recognize the value of our lives, to be free from the stress of everyday life and bad habits, and to make peace with ourselves.

What is wellbeing?

Wellbeing means different things to different people, across different ages and different cultures, and this will change as circumstances change.
Essentially, well-being is the experience of health, happiness, and prosperity. It includes having good mental health, high life satisfaction, a sense of meaning or purpose, and ability to manage stress. Well-being is something almost everyone pursues, which includes many positive things — like feeling happy, healthy, socially connected, and purposeful.
Wellbeing is not just about the absence of disease or illness. It’s a combination of physical, mental, emotional and social health factors. Wellbeing is linked to happiness and satisfaction and could be described as how you feel about yourself and your life.
The pandemics effects on wellbeing
The COVID-19 pandemic has touched on every aspect of people’s wellbeing and has had a huge impact on how we live, work and connect with one another, as well as for the economic, human, social and environmental systems that support well-being over time. 
Since March 2020, when the World Health Organization first declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, the situation quickly transformed from a public health crisis to a global economic and social crisis, with both short- and potentially long-term consequences.
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased uncertainty and financial pressures, altered daily routines, and forced the world into social isolation. People were and still are worried about getting sick, wondering how long the pandemic will last, whether their jobs will be affected and what the future will bring. Information overload, rumours and misinformation have made people feel out of control and unclear on what to do.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about feelings of stress, anxiety, fear, sadness and loneliness, with mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression worsening. Many people have increased their use of alcohol or drugs, thinking that can help them cope with their fears about the pandemic, but in reality, it only worsened their condition.

How can wellbeing be achieved?

Knowing how to look after yourself in times of stress or anxiety is very important for your mental wellbeing. Taking steps to take care of your mental health when feeling good can also help manage things better when you find yourself having a hard time.
  • Connect with those around you
Going out and connecting with the world around you can help you feel good and also supports your mental health. Socialise with family and friends, make an effort to reach out to people you care about and follow through on plans. Find people who share the same interests as you and join a club or group to that pursues your interests.
  • Be more active
Being active is just one way you can look after your wellbeing. Exercise is great for your mental health and getting out into nature has been proven to help us feel better. Start with small changes. Try a yoga class or do 30 minutes of brisk walking a day. Take your dog to the beach or find ways to express yourself physically.
  • Take notice and be aware
Taking time to check how you’re feeling, and how others around you are feeling, can help improve your wellbeing. Being aware of what’s going on can also help you deal with any stresses that might come up. Be mindful and live in the present moment. Work on positive thinking and find ways to deal with negative thoughts. Whether it be breathing exercises, self-care treatments or a walk in the park, finding ways to relax is important for your wellbeing.
  • Keep learning
Sign up for a class, whether it’s an art class, cooking class, writing class, or some other skill. Learning new things and developing skills can help improve self-esteem and give you more confidence. Achieving something also makes us feel good.
  • Give back and contribute
Helping others feels great and giving back to the community feels even better. Volunteering is a wonderful way to give back to the community and help other people. Whether it’s donating old clothes to a shelter or going to play with abandoned dogs on the weekend, or even lending a hand to a friend or family member with something you know they may be struggling with, helping others releases a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction.
Stress won’t disappear from your life, and it is important to continue practicing self-care and making your wellbeing a priority. This will help increase your ability to cope with life's ongoing challenges, because if it’s not COVID-19, there will be another crisis that comes your way. Being able to manage your emotions and having a positive state of health will enable you to function well physically, psychologically, emotionally and socially.
By maintaining your wellbeing, you will be able to develop your full potential, work productively, form positive relationships with others and meaningfully contribute to the community.
Happy wellbeing week! How are you going to contribute to your wellbeing this week and into the future?