5 Ways to Well-being
Kate Smith is currently working for a health-tech company having trained and worked as a doctor in the UK for a couple of years. She is enjoying trying out different self care practices to maintain her wellbeing and a better work-life balance. Her favourite past-times include catching up with the people she loves, playing hockey, and most recently gardening.
Five ways to wellbeing - by Kate Smith
Each time I've been unwell, in terms of my mental health, I seem to have picked up a new hobby - an outlet - which has helped me to get back on my feet.
The first time, it was painting furniture, some of which I kept, and some I sold…the coffee table’s still going strong! I found this activity to be very therapeutic, and it went against everything my school art teacher ever said about me! I admit to having a little bit of help with all the sanding...
Then there were codewords,and wordsearches when I needed something simpler. This time it’s been gardening, and re-reading the Harry Potter book series - I’m on book four in case you were curious to know.
Gardening ticks a few boxes for me; being outdoors, learning a new skill, and being active. My previous attempts at gardening have resulted in wilting plants - some it seems with too much love by over-watering....but I am not discouraged by this.
I have found a local MINDFood course which combines gardening with wellbeing. Here, I was introduced to the '5 ways to wellbeing' which had been developed by the New Economics Foundation and is promoted by MIND:
1. Connect: with other people you already know, or someone new. Catch up with someone to see how they really are, or go to a gym class or club to meet new people.
2. Be active: exercise can be easier said than done in the winter months but it really does help with your mood, and you might notice you even have more energy afterwards. Build up slowly by trying to make small changes like a walk at lunchtime or part of the way to work if you can.
3. Take notice: being more in the present moment, which can be worked on by practicing mindfulness meditation and mixing up your routine- going somewhere new for lunch or dinner, or sitting in a new spot at home.
4. Learn: doctors are constantly learning, but it could be very rewarding to spend time learning just for interest or picking up an old hobby. Try a new course if you have time, or drawing or reading that new book you’ve been meaning to.
5. Give: we give so much to others working as doctors, but rarely have the time to reflect how much and the space to feel as good as we should about this. How about writing down positive comments, achievements and things that have gone well each week and keeping them in a jar to go back to when you need a boost?
In being mindful of these five things, I feel that I am better equipped to support my own self care practices, which in turn, supports me on my road to recovery.