Wellbeing: Six daily questions to ask yourself
19 May 2020
Unfortunately, looking after our most precious resource - our physical and psychological health and wellbeing - tends to be one of the first things to fall by the wayside when things get stressful and difficult. But while we are drawn into activities that seem more urgent at the time, neglecting ourselves will make us more reactive and less resilient over time, leading to a diminished ability to make good decisions, be there for others who need us, and deal with challenges proactively and constructively.
Protecting your health and wellbeing doesn’t have to be onerous, time-consuming or another chore you are asked to squeeze into your busy day. More helpful in the long run is to think of it as small practices to integrate into your daily life – not so much as additional tasks to complete, but rather as a way of approaching your days and structuring your time in a way that is more sustainable and will bring you more fulfilment and joy.
The following six daily questions are designed to help you protect your health and wellbeing during COVID-19 and beyond.
- What am I grateful for today? Gratefulness for and in our daily lives may not come naturally to many of us – especially during these challenging months of living through COVID-19 and its aftermath. However, developing a gratitude practice can be helpful to offset our brain’s natural bias towards the negative. We are evolutionary programmed to be more sensitive to negative events than positive ones, and we are easily stressed by perceived risk and danger. But these innate attitudes designed to keep us safe, can sometimes be detrimental to our mental health and wellbeing: constantly being on the lookout for negative events is hardly a recipe for happiness! Research has shown that a regular gratitude practice can have a lasting positive impact on our psychological wellbeing. To help your brain to become more open and receptive to positivity, write down 3 – 5 things every day that you are grateful for. Maybe this includes a good laugh you shared with someone, a meaningful conversation, or an enjoyable shared meal.
- Who am I checking in on, or connecting with, today? Social connection and meaningful relationships with others are key to our health and wellbeing. Remember, while it is currently important to keep our physical distance from others, it is also crucial to come closer together socially. Use the rich and diverse opportunities that modern technology affords us to connect and communicate while we are geographically apart.
- What expectations of normal am I letting go of today? Our old routines of socialising, exercising, working and learning have been significantly disrupted, and may remain so for some time to come. The more you cling to notions of “normal” and how life should be (but isn’t), the more difficult it will be you to see the current situation realistically, deal with difficulties constructively, find new opportunities and enjoy positive moments.
- How am I getting outside today? Getting out into nature has profound benefits for our emotional wellbeing, cognitive functioning and physical health. The Japanese call it shinrin-yoku, which literally translated means “forest bathing”. Research has demonstrated many therapeutic and preventative benefits, such as reduced stress levels, higher reported wellbeing and increased immune function.
- How am I moving my body today? Regular physical exercise is good for our health and wellbeing – both physically and psychologically. A good workout reduces the levels of stress hormones such as adrenalin and cortisol in your system, and the associated release of endorphins will leave you in a relaxed and positive mood afterwards. It also helps you to sleep better, which is another important protective mechanism to remain mentally and emotionally well.
- What beauty am I creating, cultivating, or inviting in today? “Beauty” means different things to people. What does it represent to you? Maybe you can create beauty by re-connecting with a creative hobby (eg painting, photography, playing an instrument), trying new cooking / baking recipes, or planting a garden. Beauty can also be invited in by enjoying a virtual show or concert offered by many theatres, opera houses or artists globally at the moment, or visiting a museum online.
The above list of daily reminders was inspired by a Greater Good magazine article, published by the Greater Good Science Centre at the University of Berkeley.
If you would like to learn more, don’t hesitate to reach out to the QLS Solicitor Support service on firstname.lastname@example.org or p. 3842 5843 to speak to someone in a judgement-free and supportive environment.
Organisational Culture and Support Officer, QLS Solicitor Support (QLS Ethics and Practice Centre)
19 May 2020