A while ago I organized a small event at the Impact Hub Zürich (They’re awesome! You should subscribe to their newsletter) that presented a project co-created by Ashoka Fellows and Ashoka Support Network Members, called the wellbeing project, which aims to improve the wellbeing of 60 Social Entrepreneurs all over the world.
In the aftermath of the event and questioning some lifestyle choices, I felt inspired to talk to people about their understanding of wellbeing, how to achieve, maintain and strengthen it. So far, so well – here’s some good stuff, reads and tools I’ve found. Keep in mind that even good things need to be taken in moderation, so please look at this list as a supplement to your lifestyle which might help to increase your wellbeing.
In order to think out of the box you gotta get out of it as well. Research has proven over and over again that breathing fresh air, catching some sun (don’t overdo it – use sunscreen!) and generally spending time outside is good for you! Try to incorporate some mindfulness into your outside time: feel the sun and acknowledge it, be aware of the wind, of your body, of the sounds, the animals, or the movement around you. You will find stillness in these observations and a ton of well-deserved peace of mind.
Don’t just find – make the time to spend with your family and friends. Surround yourself with people that make you feel happy, safe and inspired. Life is too short to not spend it with people who uplift you. That means: have a clear social/professional prioritization and communicate that clearly with your team and employer. Try to be the person that is there when needed and not away due to business and work, make space for quality time and suggest activities that can be spent together and will be remembered with fondness. Don’t forget to LAUGH! Try to think back to your happiest childhood memories- they consist usually of activities that create very fond memories for grown-ups, too!
Feed yourself well and mindfully. I’m not going to reinvent the wheel here, but it’s no secret to anyone that a healthy diet consists of plenty of fresh water (to keep hydrated), fruit & veg (for fibre & Vitamins & Minerals), fibres (I’m highlighting fibres because they help you poop and healthy guts are essential to overall well-being!), healthy mono & poly unsaturated fats (gotta love your Omega 3 in all shapes and sizes!) and a good portion of a source of protein of your choosing (there’s options for meat eaters and non-meat eaters alike).
4) Outsource Brain Power
I’ve talked to my most efficient friend who seems to always achieve stuff and yet keeping ridiculously relaxed. He told me about The Secret Weapon, a tool that helps you breaking tasks down to importance and location; outsourcing a lot of brain efforts to your list and making space for creative and productive working. I’ve started using it a couple of weeks ago and noticed a drastic change in prioritization of tasks and hence decrease in procrastination. Using such an outsourcing tool helps you being less stressed and might just be the key for increased well-being.
5) Procrastinate mindfully
Whether working long hours or being afraid “to get started” there are many reasons why one procrastinates – however, most of them boil down to the need and impulse of instant gratification. But we all know that satisfying those impulses makes us less happy and more stressed. So in order to control and hopefully rid yourself of procrastination habits it is essential be more mindful and train your willpower. A tool I use to limit my Facebook excursions to a minute is the Google Chrome Extension Strict Workflow. You can adjust the timer to a realistic time setting and use it in combination with the Toggl Timer.
Meditation comes in all shapes, sizes, intensity and time commitments imaginable. But one thing is pretty clear: people who meditate often have claimed to be more relaxed, resilient, happy, clear, less prone to procrastination, creative and efficient. While doing so also practice some gratitude and if you want to go the extra mile, keep a notebook with all the things you’re grateful for. For meditation I use iPhone apps such as headspace, breathe or calm. Give them a go.
I need to inform you that I am writing this straight from 8.5-hours-of-sleep-land, and while there’s some guilt lingering around, I have rarely felt so refreshed and happy at the office. My efficiency and creativity is booming! I don’t think I want to go back to 6-7-hours-of-sleep-land ever again. Kiss those dark circles and racing heartbeat goodbye: happy 8-9 hours of sleep is the culmination of wellbeing. If you feel “you don’t have the time” check the balance: by sleeping the amount of hours you need to feel rested and relaxed you’re cutting out on time wasted to doctors, procrastination, exhaustion, burn outs, coffee breaks (because you need tons of it if you don’t sleep well) while also increasing: happiness, gorgeousness due to glowing skin and no dark circles (which again makes everybody more self-confident & happy and cuts on costs for expensive anti-aging creams & makeup), creativity, productivity and mood resilience. The benefits of good sleep have been proven by science over and over again – it’s up to you to take life be the balls, grab the ZZZs you need and be simply well.
Weather you manage to only implement one of the tips, do it step by step or integrate all of them into your lifestyle – you will soon see and feel the benefits as your wellbeing improves. And with improved wellbeing come more self-confidence – and what is to say against that?!
I’m Dari and I’m currently interning at Ashoka Switzerland and working as a spoken word poet part-time. I care deeply for issues around poverty, politics and all things poetry.
Darienne Hunziker, Wellbeing, Health