• Abbie Conneely, Outreach Officer and Account Executive at Willis Towers Watson

Wellness Week 2021

I think we can all say that 2021 has not started the way we were expecting, with many still working from home, and lockdown still upon us. The cold, dark days of winter can make it hard to stay upbeat and to feel “mentally well”. I got in touch with Sizu, a wellness brand created in Lockdown 1.0 that encourages healthy habits and proactively looking after wellness. Lauren Steadman, Paralympian and TV personality, is a co-founder of Sizu and has collaborated with other public figures throughout 2020/21 to spread this message. She commented, “Proactively looking after your wellbeing and normalising conversations about mental health can increase resilience, which is so important, particularly in challenging times”.


So, what is ‘Wellness’?


The Global Wellness Institute defines wellness as: "The active pursuit of activities, choices and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health."


Fundamentally, it is the act of practicing healthy habits on a regular basis to attain better physical and mental health outcomes, so that instead of just surviving, you’re thriving!


Tamsin Scobell, Co-Founder of Sizu and psychologist has given her top tips when forming new habits;

First find the reason why you want to change your behaviour and connect with that reason every time you do it. Second, make your habit achievable and convenient. Thirdly, make incremental changes little and often. Lastly, be inspired by others and share your stories.” She then went on to say that, “It’s not about being perfect, it’s about making a start and consciously committing to make a change”.


There are several areas of your life which are considered dimensions of overall wellness, each of which, impact on your personal wellbeing. Below are some of my suggestions and ideas on how to increase your personal wellness:


Occupational

A lot of people are struggling with work-life balance whilst working at home. One way I have tried to separate the two is to change up my workspace, or try and work in an area I use less at the weekend.


Spiritual

This isn’t just to do with faith. One way I bring spiritual wellness into my life is through volunteerism or social contributions. In these times there are loads more ways we can help our communities, from offering to get something from the shops for a neighbour, collecting for a food bank, to volunteering some of our time. Take a look at my previous blog for some volunteering ideas!


Intellectual

Learn a new skill? Seek a challenge? Understand a new concept?

Some of my friends have tried knitting, cross-stich, even candle making!

Personally, I have been doing GOGENs, which is a type of word puzzle, give this one a go (although I prefer to do it on paper so I can rubber out my answers!)


Write letters into each circle to form the listed words. Letters can be linked by moving between adjacent cells horizontally, vertically or diagonally in any direction. You may use each letter in the alphabet only once.

FAIR FUME GHOST

JUMPY LIMBO NECK

PYX SQUALID TOMB

VAMPIRE WAIL





Physical

As I am working from home, my main aim is to go on a short walk every day. During the Christmas period I turned into a fair-weather…walker (if there is such a thing?!) But I am really pushing myself to go on short walks every day, even in the rain! The other option is to have a “winter-friendly” or “lockdown-friendly” exercise routine, such as joining a virtual class.

The other physical goal I have is chocolate. I found this online (obviously true*) and have been sticking to it stringently: Studies have shown that chocolate can increase blood flow, which could improve your brain functioning and mood. Win, win!

*this may or may not be true…


Emotional

For me, this means de-stressing from work. Some of my friends have signed up to apps such as Calm or Headspace for guided meditation to help them get out of the ‘work’ frame of mind.

The NHS also have a list of apps for those who would like a bit more guidance on mental health and emotional wellness, link here

It has been a tough year for everyone, so please be kind to yourself. It’s ok not to be ok, and there are several options out there if you need them, some of which are linked at the bottom of this blog.


Environmental

This can be anything from establishing a sustainable lifestyle, to our personal environment. Personally, I have found plants make a huge difference to my environmental Wellness as I am working from home, although I can’t for the life of me keep them alive! So, if you are like me, try some of these plants that (apparently) need hardly any care at all… The ‘(almost) unkillable houseplants’

Social

Try not to isolate yourself. Plan something fun, a walk with a friend, or some virtual events like an Escape Room, Murder Mystery or even this Cocktail Master Class all the way from Ibiza!

By starting with small changes within a couple of these factors, we can increase our overall Wellness. Take it one day at a time – you don’t have to run a marathon or go on a diet to implement wellness into your everyday life. Small changes make a big difference!


Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF)


Join IICF for a series of interactive sessions to re-energise and improve your wellbeing: Reduce your stress and improve your energy with the right nutrition, get active with a yogalates class suitable for all levels, and be mindful with a talk on resilience and a creative paper cutting class. Join one or all four sessions, where all the proceeds will go to charities advancing digital inclusion and revitalising communities.


15th February for ‘Being Mindful to Flourish in Work & Life’ with Susan Peacock, Founder of LiveWorkWell. She will explore how to help individuals and teams to flourish in work and life through resilience and mindfulness. Her talk will cover topics such as: being in the present moment, using awareness and focus to manage challenges, good and bad stress and bringing curiosity and kindness to difference.


16th February for the Eating Right for Winter Wellness with Lisa Patient and Emily Fawell, from Vital Health Nutrition, who will provide practical advice on how to keep your immune system strong this winter.


Yogalates on the 17th February: This session will be led by Nicola Numa and Nicci Morris of n2 yoga | Pilates and is suitable for all levels.


19th February for Curious Creativity: Paper Cutting and Mindfulness. Kathy, Simone and Helene will introduce you to the art of paper cutting; cutting out simple shapes and words with creative curiosity. Working out the words that work for YOU and how simple acts can help us and be a constant reminder of the elegant simplicity of life.

Join one session for £10 or all four sessions for just £32.


Learn more about each session and get your tickets here:

Learn more about the IICF here: http://www.iicf.org.uk/


Mental Health Services Available

Most large corporate companies have services available for their employees to use, so this may be something to look into.


NHS

Mental Health Website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/

Website for Helplines: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mental-health-helplines/


Some of these helplines are mentioned below:

Samaritans

Confidential support

Phone: 116 123

Website: https://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help/contact-samaritan/


Anxiety UK

Charity providing support of you have been diagnosed with anxiety

Call: 034447775774 or text: 07537416905

Website:https://www.anxietyuk.org.uk/


Depression Alliance/MIND

Promotes the views and needs of people with mental health problems, which also has a network of self-help groups

Call: 0300 123 3393

Website: https://www.mind.org.uk/about-us/what-we-do/depression-alliance/


References

Global Wellness Institute: https://globalwellnessinstitute.org/industry-research/history-of-wellness/

Sizu: https://www.sizu.co.uk/

https://www.instagram.com/sizu_minds/?hl=en

Picture: https://www.unlv.edu/studentwellness/about

Gogen Puzzle: https://felixonline.co.uk/issue/1754/puzzles/gogen-06112020


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