After learning more about work well-being the other week, I was reminded of my friend Louella who has made well-being a priority in both her work and home life.
I met Lou when we worked in the UAE as part of the team opening a new school. It quickly became clear that she was an outstanding teacher, much loved by children and parents alike and valued by her colleagues.
What we sometimes forget is we’re not just one thing. Our jobs may contribute to our sense of ‘self’ – but they don’t define us. We all have passions and talents and the capacity to engage with these.
Lou is one of the few people I know that has left one successful career to pursue another, equally successful, path. She is one multi-talented lady. With a passion for well-being and healthy living, she now works in Thailand as a well-being practitioner and entrepreneur. You can find out about some of her home made, natural products on Instagram or Facebook.
Over the years she’s helped many people enhance their well-being in various ways and kindly agreed to share some of her thoughts here.
Q: What does well-being mean to you?
Well-being to me is a sense of calm, happiness and positivity, feeling good in my mind, in my body and in my day to day life. It is about taking time out of busy weeks to care myself, to nurture relationships that are important to me and to keep stress to a minimum wherever possible. It is about having a positive view of self and an optimistic outlook on life.
Q: Over the years you’ve seen many people working to improve their well-being. What do you think motivates them?
I have met people from all walks of life coming to detox and get fit and healthy over here in Thailand – their reasons for coming vary but ultimately everyone is in pursuit of creating a happier, healthier version of themselves, both physically and mentally. I think a lot of the time people simply want to feel HAPPY and are chasing that feeling of contentment and optimal health. So many people suffer burn out and stress these days – whether it be from work, complicated relationships, losing someone special or just from the everyday ‘hecticness’ of life. Unfortunately, a lot of the time people wait until breaking point to try and improve their situation and then pursue better wellbeing in hope of bringing their sparkle back.
Q: With your experience, what can you recommend we do to maintain/improve our personal well-being?
I’d say it definitely starts with the mindset – working on ourselves to create a calm, rational, positive mind. This might be done through meditations (of various forms), reading and listening to self-help books and podcasts but I ultimately feel it’s so important to first realise your worth and that it is absolutely necessary to take some time for YOU. I stand by the saying ‘you cannot pour from an empty cup’. We spend so much of our time looking after, pleasing and worrying about others. So I recommend carving out even just a couple of hours a week to focus on yourself – whether that be to simply sit and read a book, take an exercise class, treat yourself to a face mask and body scrub, make your favourite nourishing meal or snack. Part of this time out could be having a digital detox too – simply turning off your phone for an hour – it feels so liberating and really allows you to switch off without distractions.
Q: How important are other people to our well-being?
So important! If it’s not something you have done before I’d really recommend reflecting on who you surround yourself with. Be mindful of how you feel after spending time with certain people – do they lift you up, inspire and motivate you? Or do they make you feel anxious, insecure or negative? You whole mood can change depending on who you spend time with. Whenever possible be with those who bring joy and laughter to your days. And know the people you can completely trust to talk openly with on days when you need to share worries.
Q: Finally, three reliable ‘go to’ actions to lift our mood are…
- Music! Always music! Whether you blast out your favourite songs at home or stick in your earphones for a couple of minutes at work – have that play-list at the ready!
- Get outside – go for a walk, get your face in the sunshine for a few minutes, take deep breaths of air. I will often listen to an uplifting podcast while taking a stroll and it works wonders to lift the mood.
- Create a ‘happiness journal’ – I have a notebook dedicated to happy thoughts only! I don’t put pressure on myself to write in it every day but at times when I feel like I’ve had an awesome day I will acknowledge it by recording my feelings and experiences from the day. On the not-so-good days it’s lovely to look back over and re-live the happy, positive times.
Thanks for reading!