top of page
  • Louise Oliver

Finding what works in the era of wellbeing and self-care overwhelm

There are so many things out of our control at the moment and most of our resilience is being tested more than ever before. As a result, I’ve noticed an increased emphasis on the importance of healthy habits and routines that are being prescribed for us to be at our best: Meditate, eat healthily, exercise, get sunlight, cut down on caffeine, go to bed early - the list goes on...And it can be overwhelming.

Don't get me wrong, I’m definitely an advocate of most of these things but if I'm not careful I can be guilty of being too rigid about them at times (especially when I feel out of control). With the volume dial going up on the self-care (and self improvement) chat, I've been reflecting on the importance of not putting too much pressure on ourselves to be doing all of the right things all the time. This can be counter-intuitive and frankly a bit dull, especially with all the different demands and restrictions we have at the moment. Our current predicament calls for us to loosen our grip on attempts to control our lives in the face of the uncontrollable, allow things to unfold and most of all to do things that are life affirming. As human beings what makes us interesting are our multifaceted, textured ways of being and often our imperfections. So what creates a sense of wellbeing and resilience is also unique to each of us as individuals with all our idiosyncrasies. It’s not a prescription.

Three things currently bringing me some moments of joy which aren’t necessarily on the 'prescribed' lists:

1. Enjoying my mid morning coffee. One thing that lockdown restrictions can't take away. Drinking coffee is a simple pleasure that I'm not planning on cutting out any time soon.

2. Listening to the radio has made a massive difference to my days throughout lockdown. I find it gives a much needed sense of connection with the outside world and some normality, along with the healing and uplifting powers of music.

3. Real talk with friends and family about the good, bad and indifferent days. As well as doing a bit of ‘time-travel chat’ imagining and allowing ourselves to dream about what we’re going to do when we have the freedom to expand our lives again, really indulging in the finer details.

I recently listened to a brilliant talk with Ethan Kross, the author of Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It. He talks about the technique of temporal distancing which he describes in layman's terms as 'mental time travel' when we find ourselves getting stuck ruminating about what we're experiencing, we can think about 12/18 months in the future when we can realistically imagine a change in circumstances. This mental exercise reminds us that even if our current situation is very difficult, it's temporary and it will eventually change giving us hope which is important in alleviating unhelpful mental chatter.

For me, the key to trying to maintain a sense of wellbeing during this time in particular has been trying to remain present and regularly check-in with myself. Instead of feeling that we should all be following an essential check list of wellbeing tips to be at our optimum best (which let’s be honest, for most of us is probably not that realistic at the moment, well at least not every day) we can listen to and trust our own intuition about what works best for us.

104 views0 comments


bottom of page