“Emotional wellness is the ability to successfully handle life’s stresses and adapt to change and difficult times.” (National Institute of Health, NIH)
Emotional Wellbeing is a tough one as we often run away from our own emotions. When they are uncomfortable or when life takes over and it’s hectic or we feel stressed. In such moments we tend to not allow ourselves time to reflect on our feelings. We do not take time to reflect on us and on what is really going on. We keep going. Perhaps too afraid of admitting how we really do feel or ‘simply’ having to function.
But as much as we find ourselves doing that, we sometimes suppress our emotions when they bring us joy, happiness, contentment, too. When they bring this big, warm, fuzzy feel-good-feeling. As much as we might run away from the negatives, there are other moments when we do not pay attention to the good ones either. We don’t allow ourselves to feel proud or happy.
When it comes to Emotional Wellness I find it’s important to point out that it’s not about always being happy though. It’s not about learning to look at everything through pink glasses. It’s about being aware and having ideas at hand that help us to manage the tough and hard moments in life as much as to embrace and celebrate the good ones.
Well, that is already hard to figure out in a normal, smooth running day-to-day life! So, what can be done to keep it balanced in moments of overwhelm?
What can we do, especially in unsettling situations. In moments for example when we are faced with moves, repatriation, good friends leaving, kids moving away, kids struggling, family crises and anything else that life brings to us?!
Accept your feelings and emotions
Emotional Wellness relates to our feelings, behaviours, emotions and thoughts. It is important to not only be aware of them but as well to understand and to accept them. And then to find ways to really pay attention to what brings us joy and what causes pain. To adjust where needed and to live with the emotions as they come.
As mentioned in my previous post on Physical Wellness, we are all different and seek different approaches. Therefore I can only name some general ideas and mention what works for me or those around me. And I hope they will give you some ideas and/or spark some inspiration. Ideas on what you could do for yourself to be able to manoeuvre the demands of day-to-day life.
Don’t wait to pay attention to your Emotional Wellness until you reached your dip. Find something that speaks to you right away and take that step towards reaching emotional strength and balance!
- Look around you – often we get caught up in the negativity around us and lose sight. Start to bring attention to the small things around you. May it be the flowers, a nice served lunch (you can as well plate your lunch at home nicely!), the smell of a freshly brewed cup of coffee, the taste of a new delicious tea, a nice piece of chocolate, the scent and lights around you or the sunlight mirroring on buildings.
I started to take a picture every day from often ordinary things around me and connect them with a thought to post on my Instagram account. It’s interesting to see what you notice on some days! You don’t have to post anything, you can just do this for yourself, too.
But paying attention to the small things will help to sharpen our senses, help to focus on something new and to appreciate what we find around us.
- Build connections. This is as well a big part when it comes to your Social Wellness. It can be daunting at times, but feeling alone and isolated will have an impact on your emotional well-being too.
- Don’t hide inside. Try to get outside daily, whether for a walk for pleasure or to the green grocery, to grab a coffee, to the supermarket or to do some exercise. Don’t underestimate what being outside can do for your emotional well-being.
- Stay curious. Try a new hobby, search for a new recipe with a new ingredient, check a new book, try a new course (art or jewellery or writing or drama or….).
- Take a step back. When we are high on emotions we might do or say something we will regret. Find a pause before you react. It can be a breath, take and fell a solid stand with both feet on the ground, a walk or run, or a letter that you never send but the writing helps to calm your mind. I burned some of mine after writing them and it was relieving!
- Share your feelings and thoughts with somebody. If nobody knows, nobody can support you. It’s such a tough one, though. It doesn’t always come easily, to open up, to admit struggles and to show vulnerability. But it can be truly helpful!
- Share nice things. Let others be part of what you do, share a nice encounter, share your achievements. Spreading nice stories and achievement brings joy to others and can inspire. Lift each other up!
- Give. Not because you expect something in return but because it can be uplifting to give – may that be your time over a coffee, joining in community groups or simply a friendly smile.
And currently, seeing many of us are still wearing masks due to the pandemic – have eye contact – smile to the friendly service staff with your eyes! Don’t underestimate what a small gesture can do, for yourself…and others!
- Treat yourself for something nice. Enjoy a nice piece of chocolate, cake, a glass of wine, nice coffee. But don’t just wolf it down, be in the moment, see it as a deserved treat, taste it, enjoy that simple moment of pleasure. And don’t overindulge as this might make you feel bad later on!
- Let it out, have a good cry. Sometimes it helps to cry to release all the pent-up pressure.
- Take time for yourself to simply be. This time “just for me” can be so rewarding, energising and inspiring. Calming the spinning mind can help to reduce the stress you feel under and see situations more clearly and to find solutions.
Bringing more attention to our emotions will increase our awareness of what does us good, what triggers or stresses us and how we react to either. All that helping us to feel more balanced in life overall. And remember: don’t be too hard on yourself!
Now I invite you to look for something around you, no matter how small or big that brings you a bit of calmness or joy, right now.
For me, right now, that is that feeling of a warm cup of tea in my hands, lit up candles even though it’s daytime and some fresh flowers next to my computer.
Take care of yourself,