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Sixty and still fabulous: How do you define wellbeing?

Our Sixty and still fabulous columnist Julie Cadman talks about defining wellbeing for her latest blog 

julie cadman column
Julie Cadman is 60 and still fabulous

Most people recognise that wellbeing is about the way we are both physically and mentally: ensuring we get enough sleep, eat properly, maintain regular exercise and keep stress at bay. 

The thing is – wellbeing is a lot more than a tick box exercise. It needs to be balanced with other indicators relating to quality of life, such as relationships, and social interaction.  The ‘feel good’ factor is fundamental to our overall health and it’s not just about how happy we are, it’s about being satisfied with ‘your lot’ and having a sense of purpose. 

On the occasions when I take time out to evaluate my life, (usually when I can’t sleep or when I’m on holiday lying on a sun lounger!) it’s tough, because I have to be brave enough to search out my real feelings and realise my sense of purpose.  I like to be in control and to keep to a routine. I also need to ensure that I have a good work/life balance. Juggling a career, family and relationships takes up a lot of energy so wellbeing has to be at the top of my ‘what about me’ list. Wellbeing is something I strive towards, because without it, everything else could just crumble.

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Stress test

I feel that stress is an over-arching factor when it comes to wellbeing. Stress can keep you awake all night or make you want to sleep all day. It can make you addicted to exercise or have the opposite effect where you find yourself sitting on the sofa all day with nothing but negative thoughts and just food for company.

We are constantly being pulled in all directions by the demands of daily life. We live in a world where time seems to be elusive as we run around from one place to another, especially if you’re a ‘people pleaser’ like me! But one thing I have learned is not to measure my worth by what people think of me, because self-worth needs to come from within, not from others.

‘Me time’ helps me to deal with stress, not forgetting of course that there is both good and bad stress. I learned to practice down time – whether it’s reading, watching a box set (‘Friends’ is a sure stress buster!) or just watching my granddaughter play. I feel well and truly replenished afterwards. This ‘me time’ is my coping mechanism. We all need solitude now and again, it’s good for our soul and in turn enhances our wellbeing. 

Due to our busy culture, most of us feel that if we’re not accomplishing something, we’re wasting our time…

My advice: Practice doing nothing, you NEED to replenish!

Life will always be busy, and don’t get me wrong, I love ‘busy’ and it’s not a terrible thing to have some ‘good’ stress in your life, but bad stress can seriously affect your mood, relationships and wellbeing. 

Me-time

So, the Rat Race may be well and truly here to stay, but for those of us who find ourselves unable to escape it, it’s up to us whether we walk, take in the scenery and win the race, or ignore everything around us and push ourselves so hard that we collapse at the final hurdle and miss everything…

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, The Rat Race is ‘a way of life in modern society, in which people compete with each other for power and money’.

Now there’s a scary thought!

It’s funny how when we’re younger, time seems to go by so slowly; we don’t feel the need to make any real decisions about our future, we live for the moment. 

But what’s to stop us living for the moment now?

We only have one life, right?

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So pay very close attention to your wellbeing, take time out to soak up the good stuff, and as far as the bad stuff is concerned, you may not be able to stop it from happening, but you can control how you deal with it. 

There’s a saying: ‘if you’re anxious, it’s because you’re living in the future; if you’re depressed, it’s because you’re living in the past’.  Well I don’t want to live in the past and the future is far reaching as far as I’m concerned.

So my motto is:

Live for the moment, because the present is the only time that truly exists.

Why not take time out to read the wellbeing supplement in the current issue of Staffordshire Living, it’s an excellent read and I found the article on Stress particularly applicable to my way of thinking where wellbeing is concerned.

For more about coping and managing stress go to stress.org.uk.

JC

Julie Cadman lives in Stone and is the author of the 60 and Still Fabulous column. Read more of Julie’s articles here

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