Welldoing. My 10 point guide for maintaining my mental wellbeing.

Okay, the world’s got enough wellness experts but here’s my take on the steps I take to look after my mental wellbeing. I’m putting it out there not only for others but for me, to stay accountable and to stick to these things:

  1. Knowing what makes you happy is a good start. Seven years ago I started my Good Times habit, a weekly list where I write down all those little moments that make me feel good. Capturing all those moments means I have a heightened sense of what I need to do to feel good.
  2. Put some boundaries around your work life. I find this hard. And because I work at home a lot, I find this especially hard. Where does the working day start and where does it end? The end can be a real blur for many of us. Having a dedicated workspace in my attic helps, because come 7pm I can shut the door on my work life. Well that’s the theory, but it doesn’t always work like that. I need to get better at this.
  3. Limit your relationship with your phone. Not bringing my phone into the bedroom was a game changer for me. Because when it used to be by my bed, I would always wake up and turn it on. And then ten minutes later, I’d still be on it. At bedtime my phone stays up in the attic. And during the day I set a limit on the amount of time I spend on social media. Okay, sometimes when I hit my daily limit, I ignore it. But knowing there is a time limit — that I’d rather not hit — makes me think twice when reaching for my phone.
  4. Find some peace in the day to day. If you work in a busy office and also have a crowded commute through the city, I know it can be hard finding any sense of peace. But I think we all need it. So we need to find those tactics that work for us. I know lots of people swear by yoga as a daily habit. Well I tried yoga but I didn’t get on with it. What do I do to find peace? I put on my noise cancelling headphones and do ten minutes on the Pause app. I stand on my local beach and breathe in sea air. I get some Me Time.
  5. Go for a walk. I know I’m always banging on about the benefits of going for a walk, but it consistently works for me. If I’m stressed, if things are overwhelming me, I go for a walk. And I always come back feeling better.
  6. Read novels. Sometimes I struggle to switch off. I love reading, there’s always a Monocle magazine or New Yorker to flick through. But what really helps my wellbeing is switching off by reading a novel. Getting lost in a story. And I’ll be honest, it doesn’t have to be a work of literary genius, just something to get lost in. Right now it’s John le Carré’s ‘Agent Running in the Field’ that’s doing the trick.
  7. Know what matters and know what doesn’t matter. Our life is made up of little moments. Those little moments, where we put our attention, how we spend our time, really matter. Tuning into those things — making them part of our daily routines — makes a difference to our quality of life. The first coffee of the day. Sitting in the sunshine. Walking through the park. So know what matters to you and make time for it.
  8. Get a dog. Okay we’re not all dog lovers, so it doesn’t have to be a four legged friend. So maybe get that piano, book that walking holiday. Whatever you’ve wanted for years, whatever is sacred to you, do it. I wanted a dog most of my life but I waited 49 years before getting one. Sure, a dog is demanding but she has improved my quality of life. And when I’m feeling worn down by the day, stroking the dog is the perfect antidote. I should’ve got one sooner.
  9. Worry less. I need to get better at this one. So the gig got cancelled. That project is now happening next month. She didn’t get back to you. So what? It’s gonna be okay in the end. Why waste time worrying about it all?
  10. Be kind to yourself. For many of us, there’s a lot of pressure in our careers and business lives. Pressure to be the best, pressure to win new business, to work hard. And in my case, a lot of pressure that I put on myself. So I remind myself of my mantra “This is my life, not a business model.” We all have to be kinder to ourselves.

Want a happier, healthier work life? Check out my session for organisations More Good Days at Work or come along to my evening workshop at General Assembly London on March 31st.

Sparking change through story. Energising people at work. Author of 365 Ways to Have a Good Day (out Nov 2021). Fuelled by coffee, curiosity, walking.

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IanSanders

IanSanders

Sparking change through story. Energising people at work. Author of 365 Ways to Have a Good Day (out Nov 2021). Fuelled by coffee, curiosity, walking.

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