Wellness Matters 05.03.2021
Updated: Mar 8, 2021
Achieving a state of inner wellbeing and generating a lifestyle which evokes wellness requires time and dedication.
It is essential that you are able to identify the approach that works best for you and then commit to that. If it does not address the root of the problem, which is often lack of self-esteem, low confidence and feeling stuck, then you might need to rethink.
Be prepared for a change in how you show up, because learning to truly live by your values can create consternation with friends, family and colleagues, largely because you have stepped out of their idea of who they think you are.
Fundamentally I believe that unless we are all prepared to strike out for what gives us meaning and purpose in life, we will struggle to find inner peace and contentment.
The journey to wellbeing and inner wellness can be achieved by setting goals and establishing boundaries. When I was preparing to set up on my own, I shared a concern that I wasn’t sure I was disciplined enough to work from home effectively, until a close friend told me that I was one of the most disciplined people she knew. I reflected on this and recognised that the image I project outwardly, as many of us do, serves to create a certain force field of self protection. Close friends and family are attuned to how we show up and are able to spot when there is a lack of authenticity.
To manage this effectively we create boundaries, not rules, about those areas that are open to vulnerability and scrutiny.
A small chink in the armour can cause a ripple of concern: a while ago I posted that I had had a tricky few days, and there was an outpouring of social media care and concern which actually resulted in me feeling slightly frustrated. My message was misunderstood: I was trying to explain that although I had found myself in a dip I was able to reach for my support strategies to help bring me back to an even keel: I walked, I talked, I read and I withdrew for a few days to protect myself and grateful that I did. In spite of what the 'wellness industry' might try to convince us otherwise, approaches to wellbeing does not need to cost money,
Regardless of the pandemic, we are entitled to feel frustrated, disappointed, uncertain, angry and sad but not to let these emotions define us or become a rigid way of thinking.
Susan David describes it thus: when we say ‘I am sad’ we are owning the emotion of sadness which defines us. However by switching this to ‘I notice that I have a feeling of sadness’ then the emotion can be attributed to the cause of that sadness, can be discussed, reflected on and managed effectively. This is a healthy approach to mental health: knowing and recognising that emotions don’t define us, they will come and go, and we can manage them effectively with practice and support.
For twenty years I worked with young people with autism and other additional needs. Of course there were challenges but my experience was incredibly rewarding and taught me a lot about myself. I began to recognise that many young people did not have a language of emotion.
One defining moment was having a conversation with an incredibly intelligent young man with Asperger’s who was unable to express why he went into a dark cloud such that he was unable to move. Literally, unable to move from his seat. This resulted in anguish for the teacher and peers which, naturally, exacerbated this young man’s issues.
As we sat in my office, I reassured him that I wasn’t looking to apportion blame, but I did want to know what I could do to help. I listened carefully and began to realise that he just didn’t have the emotional language to convey how he was feeling. We agreed at that moment that I would learn to use the language of autism if he would learn to use the language of emotions. At the time we had an excellent resource developed within the City of Edinburgh council called Emotion Talks.
Subsequently this has been reimagined as Emotion Works developed by Claire Murray which I have used extremely effectively in schools with young people with additional support needs.
This is a resource that should be accessible to everyone. Showing happy and sad faces is not good enough, we need to unpick more complex emotions and what it means to be frustrated, confused, worried and anxious, so that young people have the opportunity to fully express themselves.
There is much talk about health and wellbeing in the recovery curriculum for schools and beyond, but if we do not talk about complex emotions with our children and give them room to be heard they will carry the weight of this pandemic into adulthood.
A friend who spontaneously video called me commented that I was glowing, which was the best compliment I could have received. I didn’t have my ‘Zoom face’ on…we all know what that is, and I was battling with my obstinate gate taking my dog out and yet there it was: 'Hi Charli - wow you are glowing.' I feel that glow from within, because I have finally learned to live wholeheartedly by my values and show up as my authentic self.
I swim in the sea. I walk my dog. I eat well. I do this and more because I care about my mental health and wellbeing and I cannot profess to be a wellness coach if I do not live by my own values.
I have a package to suit all pockets if you are struggling to set and maintain a sense of wellbeing in your life, please get in touch. Small steps to big changes...see for yourself, the rewards are far reaching.