How to easily improve your relationship with uncertainty

How to easily improve your relationship with uncertainty

How to easily improve your relationship with uncertainty can sound like one of those too-good-to-be-true promises. It’s that word ‘easily’.

You may be wondering if it can be that easy. Because you may find it really hard to live with uncertainty.

Especially in these challenging times when we are living with it every day on so many levels. There may be the uncertainty around the health issue you’re living with, politically, the pandemic, etc, etc. It’s a shed load to contend with.

But what if it’s easy to improve your relationship with uncertainty?

What if you told yourself, ‘I can learn this and I can learn this pretty quickly.’ Sit with that for a moment. Feel what it’s like to learn quickly. Keep holding the belief, that yes, ‘this can be easy for me’.

A woman is standing holding her belief in her ability to learn. She is saying, "Ooo! This feels big to hold. But it's not heavy." A man of colour is standing with her. He is holding uncertainty and saying, "It's possible to learn. I did and I don't worry as much now." The point of this picture by Return to Wellness® is that believing in your ability to learn will help you to improve your relationship with uncertainty. We have to learn how to deal with uncertainty and that is very possible to do.

Here are easy-to-use techniques that will help you improve your relationship with uncertainty

Each technique listed here is easy to do. It’s not rocket science. But you need to practice them to make them more automatic.

I provide 11 techniques with some inspirational quotes interspersed among them. (I love a good inspirational quote!)

It’s like a pick and mix. Use what resonates with you.

Aim to choose several. Having more than one way to help yourself can be a potent recipe for improving your relationship with uncertainty.

This blog is packed full of easy-to-use techniques to help you learn to deal with uncertainty without stressing yourself out so much about it #takecontrol #uncertainty #wellness Click To Tweet

The 11 techniques to improve your relationship with uncertainty

1. Be mindful of your thoughts

Start to notice how often you criticise yourself, worry about the future, the past, other people, etc. as compared to how often you are self-compassionate. Self-awareness can be powerful.

An original quote by Return to Wellness® states: "Is the garden of your mind full of weeds or flowers." - This is especially important to remember when you are seeking to improve your relationship with uncertainty. Read the blog to learn all the other techniques to help you do that.

2. Remember, you don’t have to believe every single thing you think

Particularly if you’re thinking and worrying about the future, worrying about what others may think of you, and what they do and don’t do.

An original quote by Return to Wellness® states: "You don't have to believe everything you think." - This is especially important to remember when you are seeking to improve your relationship with uncertainty. Read the blog to learn all the other techniques to help you do that.

3. Bring yourself into the here and now

You can do that by noticing five things around you that you can see and touch around you – your cup of tea/coffee, your phone, a book, a pen, etc.

4. Seek ways to reassure yourself

Tell yourself

  • It will be ok.
  • That you’ve been in a similar situation and survived that.
  • Etc.

Have a number of ways to reassure yourself.

5. Sense check how much in control you are

Do that by listening to the language you use. To learn how, watch this video. It’s 11 minutes long.

6. Figure out what you can control and what you cannot and therefore need to let go of

Learn how by watching this video on Stephen Covey’s Spheres of Control, Influence and Concern (1989). It’s also 11 minutes.

7. Talk about it with someone you trust who won’t judge you

This helps you to:

  • Acknowledge what is going on for you which is a powerful thing to do. This helps you make the unknown known
  • That in turn helps you to say how you are feeling. When you do this, you ‘contain’ your feelings so they don’t turn into overwhelm.
  • And doing that helps you to identify your needs.

8. Self-compassion helps too

You can’t have too much of this. Stockpile it. Use it regularly.

9. Ask yourself: What has enabled me to get this far?

This is a great way of reminding yourself of your strengths.

10. Focus on the good stuff happening in your current situation

Even if it’s small stuff. You’ve got to keep exercising your appreciation muscle. Writing it down helps to reinforce it.

11. And remember, everything is figure-out-able

This pic is an original quote by Barbara Babcock of Return to Wellness®. It says: Everything is figure-out-able. This is a great way to reassure yourself that you will figure things out eventually and so conquer overwhelm.

What’s it like for you?

What is your relationship with uncertainty currently like? Which of the techniques above will you try first?

Share your thoughts or questions in the comments below or alternatively email them to me (contact form in sidebar).  

If you are living with a challenging health issue or caring for someone who is, and would like support on any of the issues discussed here, you can

AND 

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© Copyright Barbara Babcock 2020

References

Covey, S.R. (1989) The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change. London, UK: Simon & Schuster UK Ltd.

How to breathe to calm yourself when you’re stressed

How to breathe to calm yourself when you’re stressed

Do you kind of forget how to breathe to calm yourself when you’re feeling stressed? You don’t really realise it until maybe someone points it out. Or you finally get to a place of calm and think, ‘Boy, I wasn’t feeling that great!’

It’s understandable. You can get so wrapped up in the issue your focus is entirely on that. I’ve done it.

When I started studying coaching and other psychological modalities, breathing was often mentioned. Eventually (not immediately), I realised I rarely focused on my breath!

I might have been aware I was breathing differently when stressed, yet I did nothing to change it. But I also wasn’t aware of how I was breathing in my day-to-day life during times when I wasn’t stressed.

Not only was I not using a valuable tool at my disposal to manage the impact of stress, I took my ability to breathe completely for granted. So in this post I want to share why knowing how we breathe is important and a simple technique you can use to restore calm when you feel stressed.

Picture of a person feeling stressed and forgetting to breathe. The person is thinking, "This issue is so hard! I'll never get it sorted!" It's important when you're feeling stressed and anxiety to remember how to breathe to calm yourself.

What about you?

Do you know how to breathe to calm yourself?

As a way to self-regulate how you’re feeling. Self-regulation is an important life skill. It’s about you recognising and using your personal power, which you can in many different ways. Breathing is one of them. And exercising your personal power helps to feed your confidence in yourself.

There is a picture of a virtuous cycle saying: Ability to self-regulate with an arrow pointing to Recognising and using your personal power then another arrow pointing to Feeds you confidence. When we self-regulate, we are using our personal power and that helps increase our confidence. A person is looking at this, smiling and saying, "I'll try deep breathing!" Being able to self-regulate how you feel is a key life skill. Learning how to breathe to calm yourself will help you do that.

And do you know where you breathe from when you’re not stressed?

Stop for a minute and notice. Do this a few times throughout the day.

Are you breathing from high up in your chest? Maybe near the throat? Or lower down around your diaphragm? Or maybe even lower?

What is your style of breathing like?

Short quick gasps for air? A slow, deep intake of breath? Something in between? Or do you find yourself holding your breath a lot?

Breathing is fundamental to living and your life

Yet many of us are not very intimate with how we breathe. Notice how you breathe and where you’re breathing from when you’re working, cooking, preparing for bed, exercising, reading, doing household chores, errands, looking after your kids or grandchildren, doing something you really enjoy doing, etc.

Being aware of how you breathe can help you identify when you’re feeling stressed

When you are feeling stressed and anxiety, your breath can be a go-to tool to help you restore a sense of calm.

So here’s an easy-to-use breathing technique to help you do that.

Being aware of how you breathe can help you identify when you’re feeling stressed. Are you aware of how you breathe? Click here to learn more #breathing #stress #wellness Click To Tweet

How to breathe to calm yourself using the 4-6 technique

You use this technique in the moment when you’re feeling stressed.

Breathe in for a count of 4.

Exhale for a count of 6.

Repeat until you feel calm. Then keep doing it AND smile to yourself.

This technique helps to regulate your nervous system.

And it’s a great technique as no one can really see you do it.

A person is standing looking calm and practicing a breathing technique. They are saying, "Inhale for 4 seconds. Exhale for 6 seconds." You can regulate your nervous system by using the 4-6 breathing technique.

What’s it like for you?

Are you aware of where you typically breathe from – high up in your chest, from your diaphragm, from your belly? Have a go at breathing using the 4-6 technique. How did you feel afterwards? Share your thoughts or questions in the comments below or alternatively email them to me (contact form in sidebar).  

If you are struggling with a challenging health issue or caring for someone who is, and would like support to get unstuck and on any of the issues discussed here, have a look at how we can work together and get in touch for a free no obligation consultation.

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© Copyright Barbara Babcock 2020

How to conquer overwhelm with ease

How to conquer overwhelm with ease

At times, it can feel like you can’t quite conquer overwhelm when you’re living with a challenging health issue. Particularly when you may be in the early stages of living with it. Or some kind of change happens with your health or life that throws your previous normality out the window.

The overwhelm can feel like a constant in your life. It’s not surprising as you can be dealing with a lot of change, you may not be sure how best to deal with it, and you don’t know what the future holds. So yeah, overwhelm can easily happen.

Pic of a being taking a woman's life which is in the form of a cloud it is holding with 'Your Lovely Life' written in it and the being is saying, "Take these. You won't need your previous life so I will toss that." The being is standing near a window. The being is handing two clouds to the woman with overwhelm & anxiety and chronic illness written on them. She is holding them but saying, "I don't want these. I want my life back." Dealing with a challenging health issue can feel like you're exchanging your life for overwhelm. And all you want to do is conquer overwhelm to get your life back.

So how do you conquer overwhelm?

Without it being incredibly difficult?

Here are three steps you can take to conquer overwhelm with ease

It will be a learning process. And you may not get it right from the start. In fact, don’t aim to get it 100% right as that can fuel the overwhelm.

Learning how to conquer #overwhelm is a learning process. And you may not get it right from the start. In fact, don’t aim to get it 100% right as that can fuel the overwhelm. #stress #anxiety Click To Tweet

First, show some compassion to yourself

And tell yourself:

“It’s ok. I’ll get there. Everything is figure-out-able.”

When you show compassion to and reassure yourself, you calm your nervous system. When you feel calm, it’s easier for you to take effective action to help yourself.

This pic is an original quote by Barbara Babcock of Return to Wellness®. It says: Everything is figure-out-able. This is a great way to reassure yourself that you will figure things out eventually and so conquer overwhelm.

Second, get curious about your experience of overwhelm

Get to know what it’s like for you when you feel overwhelmed.

What sensations do you feel in your body and where?

What do you do when you experience overwhelm? Do you deny it and try to get on with life as normal? Do you hide away? Get cranky? Cry a lot? Get angry? Experience lots of anxiety? Something else?

Whatever is causing the overwhelm? How do you think about that issue? What are your thoughts?

Is it typically certain issues which trigger overwhelm?

When you are aware of how you experience overwhelm and what triggers it for you, you are in a much better position to take charge of the overwhelm much earlier.

When you are aware of how you experience #overwhelm and what triggers it for you, you are in a much better position to take charge of the overwhelm much earlier. #stress #anxiety Click To Tweet

When you feel overwhelmed by a problem, the problem feels bigger than you

You need to get bigger than the problem.

When you do that, you can see how big or small the problem really is and the different parts of the problem.

On the lefthand side of the picture, a woman is looking out of sorts and is laying on the ground as problems overwhelm her. On the righthand side of the picture she is much bigger and has broken down the overwhelm into all the problems that is contributing to it. She is saying, "Ok, now I can see everything more clearly. first, I need to sort my finances and car. Then I'll have more energy for the other stuff." The point is that by making yourself bigger than your problems, it can help you to step out of overwhelm and deal with the problems. This helps you to conquer overwhelm.

To get bigger than the problem and overwhelm, the third thing you can is write about the cause of it

There is no right or wrong way to write about the problem. It may be a simple bullet list of the issues you face. So it doesn’t have to take a long time.

You might write about the different parts of the problem. You may end up writing just how you’re thinking about everything as it occurs to you. Spelling and grammar do not matter.

When you write about the problem, it does two things:

  1. It takes the overwhelm out of your head and puts it on paper. You can let the overwhelm rest on the paper and not in your head or body.
  2. You create distance between yourself and the problem. That makes it easier to look at it and evaluate it more objectively.

You are then in a much better position to start dealing constructively with the problem.

So think of your pen as your sword in helping you conquer overwhelm.

The woman is sitting at a table and has been writing about the overwhelm she experiences. She is holding her pen up and saying, "For something so small, you are very powerful and effective!" The point is that your pen can be your sword in helping you conquer overwhelm.

What’s it like for you?

Have you used writing before to conquer overwhelm? If not, what do you think of writing as a tool to do that? What other approaches do you use to conquer overwhelm which you’ve found effective? Share your thoughts or questions in the comments below or alternatively email them to me (contact form in sidebar).  

If you are living with a challenging health issue or are caring for someone who is, and would like support on any of the issues discussed here, have a look at how we can work together and get in touch for a free no obligation consultation.

Pass it forward

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© Copyright Barbara Babcock 2020

The one thing you can do to regain control quickly

The one thing you can do to regain control quickly

When you don’t feel in control, all you want is something to help you regain control. But sometimes the solution doesn’t come quickly enough for your liking. Or it’s hard to sift through everything and determine what’s best for you because you may be feeling so much anxiety. Understandable.

You can end up not taking effective action as a result

And I don’t want that for you. I want you to take good enough action that has helps you get what you need and where you want to be. So I’ll share the one skill you already possess and how it can help you to regain control.

It requires you to notice how you’re thinking and speaking. Noticing is good because it’s the first step in regaining control. To help you do that, I share what you need to be on the look-out for. And I provide a four-step process you can follow to help you take back control.

Click on the video to watch. It’s 11 minutes long.

What’s it like for you?

What do you think of Rotter’s ‘Locus of Control’ model? Do you recognise yourself using passive language when you’re not feeling in control? What do you think about using active language to help you regain control quickly? Share your thoughts or questions in the comments below or alternatively email them to me (contact form in sidebar).  

You may also want to watch this video on how to determine which aspects of issues you are dealing with are in your control to manage and what is not and therefore you need to let go of. It’s a great complement to the video you just watched. (It’s 11 minutes.)

If you are living with a challenging health issue or are caring for someone who is, and would like support on any of the issues discussed here, have a look at how we can work together and get in touch for a free no obligation consultation.

Pass it forward

Know someone who would benefit from reading this blog, or you just want to spread the ideas, click on the icons to share.

© Copyright Barbara Babcock 2020

How to recover from the coronavirus illness

How to recover from the coronavirus illness

We may be past the peak of COVID-19 with lockdown just starting to ease, but now there’s the question of how to recover from coronavirus. I can speak on this from a number of perspectives, but for now, I want to focus on those of you who have had the virus. Particularly if you were seriously affected.

It can be really scary to have gotten an illness the world is trying to dodge right now. And a new illness the world is still learning about. It’s understandable if you have concerns.

So I want to share seven key things which are in your control to do to help your recovery. Given I am not a medical professional, the advice I share here is non-medical. It is based on my professional experience as a coach, research, and personal experience of serious illness. What I share here also applies to many of you who have dealt with another challenging illness or injury.

There is a woman standing coughing and coughing. Her eyes are closed. Spray is coming out of her mouth but she is trying to cover her mouth. Little bits of coronavirus are stuck to her. She is thinking, 'I feel so tired. And I can't stop coughing.' Those are classic symptoms of COVID-19. When you get a serious illness like COVID-19, it's important to learn how to recover from coronavirus and the blog this picture is from will tell you how. All from a non-medical perspective.

How to recover from coronavirus from a non-medical perspective

If you’re recovering from #COVID19 or another #seriousillness, here’s some things you can do to aid your recovery #wellness Click To Tweet

Take life gently

Your body has been through a lot. So you will naturally be moving more slowly and possibly experiencing some difficulty doing that. You won’t be able to do as much for a time.

This may piss you off. Or you may feel sad. Or something else. And there are a whole host of reasons why you may feel the way you do.

Your feelings are valid. Acknowledge them. But don’t unpack and live in the anger or sadness. Because you need that energy to help your healing.

To take life gently, you also need to do the following.

Adjust your expectations of yourself

Sometimes with illness we can expect ourselves to recover at a certain speed because we’ve got things we have to do or want to do. We can expect our bodies to function a certain way.

And when the recovery doesn’t happen at the rate we want or our bodies don’t function the way we expect, we can get upset with ourselves.

There’s a period after a tough illness call convalescence. And it’s become a bit of a lost art. Convalescence is that period when the worst of the illness is past, we do feel better but we are not yet able to return to normal every day activities with no issues. It can feel like a period of limbo, but convalescence is an important part of the healing process.

Because of the illness, your body has changed. So you have to work with that change. And that means you have to adjust your expectations of what you can do. Doing that doesn’t mean you are ‘less than’ as a person.

Your recovery may go up and down

It’s not uncommon in our society to expect our recovery to be a straight upwards trajectory from zero to hero in a specified period of time.

The reality is often different.

You may have some good days where you feel better and then some days when you feel you are getting worse. If the latter, make sure you have a number to call to get medical advice from your GP, consultant or nurse so you can check with them if there is anything you need to do.

It can be difficult to say how long it will take you to recovery from coronavirus. Every person is different. Some recover quickly, some take more time. Your body will let you know what it needs. You need to listen to it and give it the time it needs to recover.

Look after yourself and your needs

When you’re trying to figure out how to recover from coronavirus or another serious illness, this is one of the key skills you need. It’s so important. And it’s a skill you can develop. In my coaching practice, I’ve helped a lot of people to do that after serious illness.

Start with the basics – sleep + nourishing food + liquid + gentle activity.

Get as much sleep as you and your body needs. If you need to sleep 12-14 hours, do that if you are able to. Appreciate that may be difficult if you also have to look after children.

Eat a balanced diet. Avoid the sugary and processed foods. Your body needs nourishing food to heal.

Drink plenty of liquids. Alcohol may not mix well with any medications you are on, so watch the intake of that.

If you have the energy, a gentle activity like walking around the house or your garden if you have one may be ok. But do check with your doctor first.

Other gentle activities like watching favourite tv programmes, reading, playing a card game, doing puzzles, knitting, etc. can help pass the time in a healthy way whilst you recover. Choose activities you enjoy.

Put guilt to one side

To look after yourself and your needs you often have to put guilt to one side. Or if you cannot put it to one side you, you have to hold it as you also hold on to your needs and look after them.

To look after yourself and your needs when you’re recovering from a #seriousillness it helps to put guilt to one side #wellness Click To Tweet

Acknowledge any anxiety you’re feeling

Sometimes after a serious illness your anxiety levels may be a lot higher. I’ve personally experienced this. Being seriously ill is hard enough in the acute phase. After you leave the acute phase of a serious illness and you enter the convalescence stage, anxiety can make an experience. And you’re thinking, ‘Now I have to deal with this???’

Anxiety is an understandable response to the difficulties you have experienced and an uncertain future. When you’ve had a serious illness like COVID-19, it’s a lot to hold.

When anxiety appears, noticing 3-5 tangible items near you can help you ground yourself. You can also breathe in for 4 seconds, exhale for 6 seconds to help regulate your nervous system. This can help you reduce the anxiety to a level where you can respond mindfully to it.

Reach out for support to help you recover from coronavirus

When you reach out for support, what you’re doing is getting help to hold all that you’re dealing with. You don’t have to hold it all by yourself anymore. That relieves some of the pressure.

Getting support to find ways to respond mindfully to anxiety and the issues you’re dealing with in a way that works for you helps to relieve the pressure further.

Your energy is then more freed up to focus on your recovery.

How to recover from coronavirus - seek out support. In this picture there are four people standing. One of them is a woman who has had COVID-19. A man is saying, 'I'll shop for you.' Another man is saying, 'We'll help you hold the anxiety and uncertainty.' He is holding anxiety. A woman is holding uncertainty. The woman who had coronavirus is saying, 'Thanks. I feel lighter.' The caption reads: Support helps you to return to wellness. The point is that when we seek out support, others can help us hold anxiety we may be feeling. That makes it easier for your recovery because you no longer have to hold that anxiety by yourself.

What’s it like for you?

What advice on how to recover from coronavirus resonates with you? Which pieces of advice may be easier for you to implement, which ones less so? Share your thoughts or questions in the comments below or alternatively email them to me (contact form in sidebar).  

If you have had COVID-19 or are caring for someone who is recovering from it, and would like support on any of the issues discussed here, have a look at how we can work together and get in touch for a free no obligation consultation.

Pass it forward

Has this blog made you think? Helped you in some way? Share it so it can do the same for someone else.

© Copyright Barbara Babcock 2020

How to contribute to your health in a healthy way

How to contribute to your health in a healthy way

A challenging health issue is often a wake-up call to contribute to your health more mindfully and consistently. And there are many things you can do to contribute to your health. In fact, if you read a lot of the health and wellbeing articles in the press, you probably come across a lot of information, some of it contradictory, and it can get confusing.

So I want to share a range of questions to help you think through what you can do to contribute to your health in a healthy way. You’ll also see how the questions demonstrate that health is multi-faceted. This is a framework to help you think through the actions you are taking (or not) rather than a top 10 hints and tips list.

This picture shows a person sitting down looking at a board that has written on it: What do you do to contribute to your health (or not)? There are two columns underneath, one with a green check indicating actions which contribute to her health and the other containing a red X meaning actions which don't contribute to her health. The woman is saying, "Hmm... I yo-yo diet and don't move as much because of the pain."

Food, exercise and lifestyle habits contribute to your health

Obvs! This is what we often first think of.

For example, the food you put in your body

Are you feeding yourself premium fuel or substandard fuel? I reckon you can discern between premium and substandard fuel food-wise and if you are unsure, speak with a qualified dietician or nutritional therapist.

We may also have to change what food we eat, how much, how often and even how we take in food.

A challenging health issue can also exacerbate a not so healthy relationship with food. The shock and challenge of a big change in your health is a lot to bear. It is not uncommon for people to find emotional comfort in food. And I certainly don’t say that to judge. To just acknowledge that you are trying to cope.

How much can you/do you move?

How much you can physically move about now may have changed due to your or your loved one’s health issue. So there is something about being mindful of the amount you are eating. Does it correspond with the amount you’re moving?

Also, our lifestyle and how sedentary it is can have an impact. If you can still move about as you did before your illness or injury, is your lifestyle full of movement or more lifestyle?

If you have a physiotherapy routine to follow to maintain or regain functionality, do you follow it? Sometimes in physiotherapy we may not see much improvement but continuing with it despite that can help us regressing.

What are your lifestyle habits like?

Habits such as smoking, drinking alcohol excessively and snacking on sugary food may serve a purpose – providing a break, putting social anxiety to one side or give you emotional comfort for example. But in the long run how good are they for you? And I don’t say this to judge. I know very well what it’s like to have one of these habits. (I quit smoking in 2008.)

A woman is sitting at a table eating from a bowl of crisps. There are also bowls of biscuits, sweets, chocolate and cake on the table. The woman is saying, "I really need to cut down on all the snacks I eat. But I feel better when I have them!" She is starting to realise the purpose of snacking for her, i.e. makes her feel better. Knowing your reason for snacking or any other habit that isn't helping your health can help you change your habit for the better. And this can contribute to your health.

Managing your health issue

If you are dealing with a challenging health issue, how proactive are you at managing it?

What kind of relationship do you have with the health issue?

What kind of relationship do you have with your body now? How closely do you listen to it?

How are you at managing symptoms? Do you take your medications?

What are your expectations of treatment? Of a cure?

What kind of preparation do you do for your medical appointments? How do you help the medical and healthcare profession to help you?

Note that everything else mentioned here can impact your health issue too.

What do you do that contributes to your health and experience of feeling healthy? #health #wellness #change Click To Tweet

The pursuit of health is so much more than our physical health

It’s also about how you tend to your inner world. I I think of this as physiotherapy for your heat, mind and soul.

Do you self-criticise yourself more than you show yourself self-compassion?

What do you do to nurture your self-worth? Do you generate your self-worth internally or are you relying on others to feed it? Or a combination?

Do you know when get yourself into vicious circle patterns of thinking and hence behaving?

What strategies do you use to get on with your life, people and situations which may no longer be serving you? Hint: Those people and situations that cause you a lot of stress.

Pic of a woman in a bath and the water is her self-worth. Bathing in your self-worth is something important to do to contribute to your health.
Take the time to bathe in your self-worth

How much do you focus on the negative in your life as compared to the good and what makes you smile?

How often do you put your needs as ‘less than’ or on the back burner in comparison to others’ needs? Do you know how to get your needs met? Or are you just out of practice?

What level of control do you feel you have over yourself and your life? Do you feel you can take control of things that matter to you and what you want for yourself? Or is it down to others making things happen for you?

What is your window of tolerance like for stressful situations? What is happening when you easily snap? Or when you get through a stressful situation pretty well?

To what degree do you feel you can learn to change things for the better? Or do you feel that isn’t possible?

Your relationships contribute to your health

What is the quality of your relationships? Are you satisfied with the level of connection you have with people?

What kind of people do your surround yourself with? Do they lift you up and support you? Or criticise you and generally don’t support you?

What kind of relationships might you need to let go of?

Do you have a network of people you can rely on for help? Remember, it’s great to have several people as often times one person cannot meet all of your needs. Keeping that in mind, who might be willing and able to help you? And how can you help the people around you to help you?

Who isn’t a part of your life but you would like them to be?

What kind of relationships do you want going forwards?

Your job can impact how healthy you feel

How does your job, whether paid or volunteer, meet your motivations for doing it?

We all have different motivations for doing the job we do. Sometimes we do a job because it pays the bills which allows us to get loads of satisfaction from our hobbies. Sometimes it gives us a sense of purpose in our life. Or it gets us out and connecting with people.

Some jobs can demand a lot of you – whether it’s a hard commute, long hours, lots of responsibility, not much resources to do the job, stressful relationships, job security, or something else. This can have an impact how healthy you feel – the level of stress, happiness in the job, etc. You may have to address how you approach aspects of the job to manage the impact of stress.

A lack of a job and experiencing difficulty finding one if you haven’t worked for some time or you experience discrimination in the recruitment process because of a disability can also have an impact.

And other aspects of your life contribute to your health

Our hobbies, personal interests and activities can do so much for our mental health. I have already written about that here and here and I encourage you to read those blogs.

Your hobbies and personal interests can contribute to your health in a healthy way. This picture shows a virtuous circle of how hobbies do this. Our hobbies increase enjoyment which in turn increases relaxation and reduces stress.
The impact of hobbies on our mental health is a virtuous circle.

Your physical environment can impact being able to get around and your level of independence. For example, you home may not be wholly accessible particularly if you use mobility aids. It may have mould which exacerbates existing health issues. It may not be in a great part of town. Or you may live in the country so have to drive everywhere but driving is an issue. Or maybe where you live is good for where you’re at in your life.

Our financial situation can contribute to your health or not. Accessing benefits can be a stressful affair. Or trying to afford equipment or having to move home to facilitate your independence. In some countries it can be very difficult to afford the treatment and medication you need to manage your health issue and have a quality of life.

The culture we were raised in and/or live in now and expectations of us in that regard can have an impact. For example, a culture may have a lot of stigma associated with an invisible illness or disability for example. That can impact our stress levels, or whether or not we seek treatment even.

If you subscribe to a faith or have another kind of spiritual practice, this can have an impact. For some people, it is of enormous benefit to them. For others it will not feature.

What do you find meaningful in your life?

Even if you are stuck at home a lot more than you would like due to your or a loved one’s health issue, or your life isn’t quite what you had hoped for, what gives your life meaning?

What contributes to your life feeling like it’s a good one to be living? Even though you may have some tough stuff to deal with. It doesn’t have to be anything big or grand. It just has to suit you.

Your life purpose doesn’t have to be anything big or grand. It just has to suit you. And it can also change as you grow and change #lifepurpose #chronicillness #health Click To Tweet

So how can you contribute to your health in a healthy way?

Reflect on the questions above. Remember, you know yourself best and what you’re like. So it’s ok to be honest, it’s ok not to like some of your responses, and it’s ok to celebrate what you feel you are doing well.

If you are looking for a way to answer some of the questions above to assess where you are regarding how you contribute to your health, you can download the Wellness Appreciation Workbook. It’s a do-it-yourself exercise that helps you figure out where you are now and where you would like to be in the areas of your life mentioned above.

This picture show the different aspects of your life which can contribute to your health (or not): how you manage your health issue, your physical environment and getting around, nutrition, your emotional health, your relationships, finances, life purpose, returning to work, volunteering or education, leisure activities, spirituality/faith, cultural factors.

The workbook is very flexible. You can focus on one, two, some or all of the areas listed above and you can re-use the exercise in the workbook. Also, you don’t have to use the categories I mention here. Or you can use different names for them. You can adapt the exercise to suit you. And it’s free. You can get it here.

Heads up – when you download the Wellness Appreciation Workbook, it does subscribe you to the Return to Wellness newsletter, which I typically send out weekly (although not always). I do not sell or give your email to any third parties and you can unsubscribe at any time.

What’s it like for you?

What action might you take or stop to contribute to your health? And what support do you need to do that? Share your thoughts or questions in the comments below or alternatively email them to me (contact form in sidebar).  

If you are living with a challenging health issue or are caring for someone who is, and would like support on any of the issues discussed here, have a look at how we can work together and get in touch for a free no obligation consultation.

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© Copyright Barbara Babcock 2020

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