The New Year feels like it has may have escaped us, taken off down the road and 2015 might just be around the corner already. In this blog, I want to discuss the importance of taking time out. I have recently had some experiences with patients who work in high stress jobs, suffer from anxiety or have busy family lives. I also know what it is like to be busy all of the time, and the toll it can take on wellbeing.
Why I believe wellbeing is essential
Wellbeing is much more than health. It is the foundation of health. Philosophically, it is greater than the sum of its parts. Wellbeing can exist without health, but health does not exist without it. Wellbeing is a state of existence in which the individual or group feels comfort across their physical, psychospiritual (feelings and beliefs), sociocultural (family and society) and environmental domains. The word comfort really describes the experience of wellbeing. The work of Dr Kathy Kolcaba in nursing and comfort has shaped my view as to what I do in my practice, and what we can achieve in healthcare.
Wellbeing can be part of our illness narratives. Whether it is chronic tonsillitis or cancer, wellbeing is still achievable. The World Health Organisation outlines in their definition of health as being comfort rather than absence of disease, in other words, individuals and groups can still achieve a sense of ease and wellbeing while still being sick. Being unwell is not all doom and gloom, and many people find wellness through adversity.
Learning to take time out
One of the hardest things for us to do is to take time out for ourselves. How can we heal if we do not set time aside to do so? Healing takes a lot energy and time for our bodies to do. Having surgery or recovering from illness can be time consuming, and two weeks of downtime can be a lot of time out of the everyday schedule.
Start by taking 5 minutes out of your day just for you. No television, Facebook, mobiles, computers, music or chit chat- absolute nothing or no-one else, but yourself! Let your mind wander and let your emotions move. There is no need to analyse what comes up, but it is great to be able to stop and take a break from the everyday hustle and bustle. You can slowly work your way up to 30 minutes per day. You might start to notice a difference straight away or it might take some practice, but eventually the stress of time will start to feel less significant.
There are lots of resources and methods out there to help you relax. My personal favourites are the sound of nature (particularly rain), music and meditation. There are many of these available free on iTunes or through Google mobile apps. I have also included a link to Beyond Blue’s relaxation techniques that you might find useful.
If you have problems relaxing, you might want to make an appointment and speak to your local doctor.
I hope that everyone can take some time out this year for themselves and make 2014 a great year for wellbeing.