Just like a disease can create a ripple effect among us and our communities, so too can the momentum of wellbeing. This is a heartening truth I have been exploring and trusting, as we try to navigate our way out of a pandemic.
HELPING EACH OTHER STAY HEALTHY
2020 has surely called us to ask to explore this. How do we safely interact with each other & what is the impact of our behaviours on our loved ones, neighbours & even our economy?! There can be a real sense of responsibility & overwhelm.
It pays to remember that human beings have an inheritance of strength & adaptability. Our forebears are likely to have survived famine, adversity & war & that genetic imprint is in all of us. When we are feeling anxiety, due to an ever changing future that seems to be out of our control, it may be difficult to connect with this innate truth as a calming force. And yet, whenever I work with clients who have depression & anxiety one of the strategies we have found to be useful, is in harvesting a “big picture perspective”. Whether this is simply an act of looking out to the horizon & not focusing on the ground as you take a daily walk, embroiled in your own thoughts, or joining a group where you can share future goals with others, for a shift in your attention.
We can also be reassured that every act of self care, self love & investment to personal health, has a flow-on effect. How often have you heard of someone who say, lost some weight, & this act of determination was a starting point for bigger change in their life? The more we invest in our overall health status, enhanced self belief, improved energy, lessened physical burden & a heightened feeling of being in control is the gift. But we must take that first step, & the next, & so on.
If we’re stuck in the starters block, we can look to evidence of ways that this momentum can be nudged. For example, there are clinical studies on the benefits of green space with positive associations in mental well-being. Put simply, literature exists demonstrating that being amid nature can reduce inflammation in our body is a by-product of improved mental health & consequence of this experience. Other aspects of wellbeing such as neuro-immune responses and life satisfaction are also noted.
Hitting the national parks does not necessarily mean you are doing your bit for our Covid-19 recovery, but then again, who is to say there is not some truth or possibility in this?!
From little things big things grow
Of course there is a relationship between lifestyle behaviours and optimal wellbeing. When I tend to my own vitality I have more in the cup to serve my children, partner & household. I can choose to reach out also to my parents in their time of need, neighbours, the children’s school community & as an employee & business owner, knowing I have that capacity. Without doubt, my productivity is always closely related to the state of my own “tank” - is it full or half empty?
How our kid’s health can be bankable too
A Cochrane Review sought to discover if healthy weight interventions at the school level could improve thinking skills and performance in children and teenagers with obesity. The updated review provided evidence that this was indeed a co-benefit experience. As parents if we can support our children’s healthy weight maintenance, that ripple effect could be seen in their classroom. Perhaps relationships with siblings, school mates & themselves are influenced too, as self esteem rises.
There is much to take from these examples. When I overcame my partial paralysis in my late 20's - which was the only time I’ve seen my Father cry, I knew I had helped ease the emotional burden of my parents, who were worried sick about my prognosis. They were facing the possibility of caring for an adult off-spring limited to a wheelchair, after-all.
Beyond illness recovery
When clients overcome great health challenges, I have the joy of witnessing the ongoing mini-triumphs - easier relations with their loved ones, or the ability to participate in sporting events that raise funds for charities, gaining new jobs, finding the courage & space to shed entanglements that no longer serve them, & being a living example of recovery & growth. The more we shine light onto those that are getting better, doing good, rising above financial hardship & making the best out of our tricky times in 2020, the more we each can flourish from these efforts & stories. It may sound simplistic but this year more than ever we have seen how closely we are all connected, beyond states, beyond national borders.
The message from me is one of anticipated thanks, in trying. For trying to nourish your body, giving yourself some slack, offering your mind grace & pushing onward, because the collective momentum is worth it.
*If you are a chronic illness sufferer or living with &/or caring for a loved one with an on-going condition, you may be intereested in my FREE SUPPORT GROUP for people just like you. Held at my clinic from August 2020, these are intimate no pressure/agenda social gatherings to gain resources, share your story or simply sit among others who have similar challenges, See updates in my socials for dates/times & please do share with anyone who might benefit. We're in this together!