If you’ve ever gotten an email from me or listened to a message on my voice mail, you will hear me end by saying, “Be well.” But what does that really mean? Of course I wish you good health – after all our health is our most important asset. But is that all? Is there more to being well than not being sick?
The dictionary defines “well being” as: a good or satisfactory condition of existence; a state characterized by health, happiness and prosperity. By extending the “health” part of the definition to include the concept of “wellness,” we can see the relationship between health and happiness. Wellness encompasses the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of life. It is a dynamic process of making choices that lead to a higher quality life.What does it take to be well?
When most people think of “being well,” several things usually come to mind:
- Having less stress in our lives
- Getting more sleep
- Making better food choices
- Getting more exercise
Now, it makes sense that if you’re so busy that you don’t have time to sleep, eat or exercise, you will eventually burn out. When you’re burned out, you tend to be stressed out, and we’d all agree that the amount of stress in our lives can directly impact our health. However there’s more to wellness than reducing stress, getting rest and being in shape. Here’s some of the not so obvious ways you can increase the wellness in your life.Supercharging wellness
There are three key components to being well that are often overlooked:
- Being present by focusing more and multitasking less
- Spending time with people we care about and avoiding those that are toxic
- Listening to our inner voice
Let’s take a closer look at each of these:Being present
We all multitask. Whether you are a working woman climbing that corporate ladder or a stay at home mom juggling your kid’s social schedule with getting dinner on the table, multitasking is generally how you get through the demands of your day. We juggle several things at once, then work ourselves into exhaustion trying to keep all those balls in the air. Is that really being productive or are we kidding ourselves?
Many productivity experts now claim that multitasking is a myth: when we don’t give our full attention to a task because we’re trying to do several things at once, nothing gets done right. Mistakes get made and do-overs are time consuming and possibly costly. Talk about added stress! Try focusing on one thing at a time and give that your undivided attention, even if for a short period of time. You’ll do a much better job. You won’t be as exhausted or frustrated. You’ll get more done and you’ll feel better. And that extends to checking your emails when you’re on the phone!Being connected
The second thing on my list of 3 things you need to “be well” is a connection with the people you care about and who, in turn, care about you. We are social creatures, and time spent with people that support us and make us feel good is important. It actually increases the “feel-good” hormones in our bodies. What we don’t need in our lives are people who are “toxic” – those who bring us down or who suck the energy out of us, especially at work. You may not be able to totally avoid a colleague who is toxic, but being aware of the situation can help you limit interactions or avoid being sucked in emotionally. In the social sphere, unhealthy relationships need to be addressed before they become toxic, and sometimes the best thing to do is just walk away.
On the flip side, we need to make time for the people in our lives who make us feel good. Plan a regular coffee date with your best friend. Schedule family time with your kids doing something you all enjoy. This is time to lighten up and laugh a little. Laughter increases oxytocin which is the happiness hormone. Make a commitment to spend more time with people that make you feel good and I guarantee you’ll feel healthier.Listening to your inner voice
As women we are born with a keen sense of intuition – the ability to know something without any proof. It’s that little feeling in out gut, our own personal GPS that helps us make the right decision and keeps us out of harm’s way. We just need to learn to listen. We need to pay attention, listen to our inner voice and make the changes needed before we get sick, stressed or emotionally spent.
Women also typically tend to put themselves last and take care of everyone else’s needs first. We can’t be good to anyone if we don’t take care of ourselves first – even flight attendants on airlines tell you to “put the oxygen mask first on yourself and then on your child.” So if that little voice is talking to you, nagging at you, listen. Believe me, your gut knows best.
We deserve to feel healthy and vibrant, and we have a choice. I hope you chose to “be well” by making the commitment to focus and stop multitasking. Hang out with people that make you feel good. And when your inner voice talks to you, pay attention. And be well!