THIS time, between Christmas and New Year, is one of turkey and ham sandwiches, lazy days on the couch, and uncertainty as to what day of the week it is, or indeed what time of day it is.
It’s a period of limbo, of in-between land, and in these times of Covid, it can obviously be a time of uncertainty and anxiety too.
But during these few days when time seems to slow down, the opportunity to pause could be put to good use with a little bit of planning.
Taking stock of where you find yourself at the end of this year will not be time wasted, and will set you up for an aligned start to 2022.
Imagine a wheel, divided into many different segments. Each segment represents an element of your wellbeing, with as many segments as you wish to consider. Each segment can be assigned a score of up to 10; full marks being fully satisfied with how that area of your life is going. Less than full marks, and there’s scope to consider how to improve it, or better support yourself in this area.
Here are some examples of what the segments could represent for you...
Physical Health – how are you feeling physically at the moment? Is there something specific that you need to address? Something vague or niggling that you’ve been putting off investigating? Looking after every aspect of yourself physically allows you to be able to invest in the other aspects of your wellbeing. What appointment do you need to make? What lifestyle changes have you been putting off? The best and only time is now.
Mental Health – How is your mood? How would you describe your thought patterns or headspace? More and more now, we’re hearing about people attending therapy and benefitting from it. Not seeking it out because they’re at rock bottom, but because they wish to prevent themselves from reaching that place at all.
Is therapy something you’ve done, or considered trying? Is 2022 the year to do so? Perhaps another way of supporting your mental health is on the cards instead, like CBT, more scheduled time off, or delegation?
Financial Health – For many, financial stability has been snatched away in light of the current situation. What can you do to get yourself through? Are you drawing on all supports you’re entitled to? If you’re earning, or part of a household, are you handling your money wisely? Are there smarter ways of navigating the incoming bills, or of saving towards the future? What small but consistent changes could you be making?
Relationship Health – Consider relationships with family, partner or friends - are your relationships nurturing your wellbeing? Are there those that drain your energy, make you question yourself, or bring negativity? How are you communicating with these people? Are there crossed wires, important things going unsaid? Or are you giving, giving, giving only to never have your effort or love reciprocated? Are you valuing those that treat you as they should, and showing them the same affection?
Career Health – are you happy where you are in your career right now? Are you spending your time doing something that you love, that you’re good at, that makes a difference, and that pays? That’s the magic combination for a healthy career, and if an element of that is missing, then perhaps this is an area to look at enhancing this year?
These segments are the foundations to wellbeing and feeling fulfilled for the coming year. How did you score for each of these? Any scores less than 7? Less than 5? What needs to happen to change this? Are there any other elements of your wellbeing worth including here?
Bringing such an objective perspective to your overall wellbeing helps to identify and target the specific areas for change.
Boost those scores, and ultimately your happiness for 2022. If we focus on the things we can change, rather than the craziness of the outside world right now (which is largely outside of our control), we’ll experience a wellbeing change for the better.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr Michelle O'Driscoll is a pharmacist, researcher and founder of InTuition, a health and wellness education company. Her research lies in the area of mental health education, and through InTuition she delivers health promotion workshops to corporate and academic organisations nationally. See intuition.ie