More and more as I speak and work with business mummas, it becomes apparent that wellbeing is often misunderstood, and neglected.
As mothers we often put ourselves last, and as business owners, the trend continues.
We’ll stay up late, we’ll go above and beyond and more to keep that client happy, we’ll move our boundaries move and we’ll push and push way beyond what we thought our limits were.
But it’s not good.
It’s not good for our health, and it’s not good for our business. Ultimately it’s not even good for our clients. If you can’t sustain the momentum, you stop running your business or worse – you go out of business – your clients and customers you worked so hard for lose too.
Over the past few months I’ve been researching wellness and wellbeing.
For the past 10 year I’ve worked in fitness as a hobby. I have a Diploma of Fitness and I’m super passionate about health. I exercise most days, I eat very limited sugar and I’m super conscious about what I put into my body.
Until recently, this – plus sleep – has been my frame of wellbeing. But it’s so. Much. broader.
For the longest time, I’ve promoted life balance. And not in that everything in our lives is equal, but that we have an internal harmony between the things that we allow in our lives. But for some reason I hadn’t put this in the category of wellness.
The more I’ve been reading, the more I’ve realised that wellness and wellbeing is centred around the categories of life that I have unknowingly been monitoring anyway, but not in such a focussed or strategic way.
The University of Maryland came up with 8 different areas of wellness in a Guide To Living Well (https:/umwellness.wordpress.com/8- dimensions-of-wellness)
These areas are:
So of course the PHYSICAL side we’re talking about all the areas I mentioned before about diet and exercise and sleep. But this goes deeper as well. It includes getting medical checkups, immunisations and safe sex.
All of these things are super important. But they’re just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to wellbeing.
SOCIAL wellness is about connecting with the people around you, and your community. You can’t do this without empathy and an understanding and appreciation of of your own and others diversity. You also can’t do this without a willingness to be active within your community and being a willing participant in initiatives that improve the lives of others and contribute to developing meaningful relationship.
EMOTIONAL wellness includes the ability to experience and cope well with your feelings. It includes how you feel about yourself – your self-esteem and your self acceptance – and self care is going to be a big part of this.
The great thing is that self-care is going to look very different for everyone. And it’s taking time out for self-care that’s going to help in distilling how you really feel about certain things. Self care can also allow you the time for clarity to put things in place that you need to build resiliency. This might be fostering inner resources, resetting expectations, and knowing when to ask for help.
It’s funny because for me, the time to sit with myself is at night, when the work is done and the kids are in bed. Just an hour or so ago I was laughing at a meme that a client had put up about getting ‘alone time’ and then regretting it because it means a late night, and less sleep and then being even more tired the next day! I can totally relate to that and judging by the amount of comments on her post – so could many of you!
For me this is really important. I need to be learning. I am always doing some type of course or study or reading. I can’t even read fiction anymore unless I’m on holidays because there’s just not enough time in the day and I want to be feeding my brain.
This dimension of wellness also included critical thinking, making decisions and exploring new ideas. It’s about lifelong learning and curiosity and it can outwork itself in formal but also unstructured ways like having a discussion with someone.
VOCATIONAL wellness is about participating in work that gives you a personal satisfaction. This is critical. I think especially for young mums. There’s no way I wanted to leave my babies in care to go and do a job that wasn’t fulfilling.
I get that sometimes you just have to do what it takes to put food on the table. So I’m not saying that you shouldn’t do what you need to do. But I am saying, that if you have a passion, pursue it. Even within your current role if you;re working for someone else. Are there different projects you can work on, or different departments – something!
Vocational wellness means that your work contributes to the enrichment of your life, and that you’re taking a proactive approach to planning your career.
I keep going to say – THIS IS IMPORTANT – because I’m seriously just so passionate about this topic.
Being well is going to impact every area of your life. Your happiness, the people around you’s happiness and your impact on the world. It’s THAT important.
OK so Environmental Wellness. This is focussed on being aware and respectful of our environment, and realising the way that our environment positively or negatively affects our wellbeing.
We as a people are 100% responsible for the state we find our world in. This includes the quality of the air, water, and earth that surrounds us and that influence the social, natural, and built environments that affect us.
It’s a big topic and one I look forward to exploring more with you all in the future.
SPIRITUAL wellness. There’s more to us that a physical body and an intellectual mind. Spiritual wellness involves being aware of our spiritual nature, and having meaning and purpose in our lives. For me, that means being a Christian, and having God in my life. But this area of wellbeing also incorporates gratitude and self reflection as well.
Lastly is FINANCIAL wellness.
Our world is run on money. It’s inevitable. We need it. Our wellbeing depends on it. But what does financial wellness actually look like?
Financial wellness means having a healthy relationship with money. Money is a tool. We should use and control it, not the other way around. We should live within our means, make informed decisions, and make smart short and long terms goals. There’s no one right way to do this, we’ll all unique and in money, that’s no different. However there will be right and wrong ways for YOU to deal with money, and it’s important you do some work to figure out what those are sooner rather than later, but there is a right way for you.
The key to all of this is going to be creating habits that work FOR you.
It’s all well and good to know what the dimensions of wellness are, but if you don’t incorporate them into your life, you’re going to be no better off.
My husband and I try to sit down every week and do a 5 min rundown and score ourselves on each area for that week. Then monthly, we’ll set goals in relation to each one and schedule actual tasks.
It sounds like a lot of work but actually most of the things we need to do are now habits. For example, getting organic vege delivered and going to the gym. That doesn’t mean we’ve got it all sorted – at all!! The cool thing too is that every person’s plan is going to look totally different, and with weekly or monthly check ins you can see what’s working and what’s not, and tweak it and keep going.
SO that’s my challenge to you this week! Sit down and think about each area, how you’re going and what needs changing. Then change it. You’re the driver. You get to choose.
Have a great week mummas!