Looking after yourself and your wellbeing is essential for a healthy and productive life.
Oftentimes when we think about wellbeing, we only think of the physical and how our bodies are doing.
Luckily, over the past few years, there’s been a big move towards also speaking about and considering our mental wellbeing.
But there’s still a key third part that’s missing from the conversation.
These three things together make up what we call the wellbeing tripod. The three legs of the tripod are equally critical and if one breaks - the whole thing comes crashing down.
Here’s a look at each of the three legs of the wellbeing tripod, with actionable steps you can take to get them to a better place.
Leg 1: Physical wellbeing
Your physical wellbeing is all to do with your body: how functional your muscles and joints are, how easily you’re able to move about and how well your organs are working.
Looking after your body is key to living a long, happy and fulfilled life. It’s a cornerstone to everything else - if your body is out of whack, so will everything else start to be.
To look after your physical wellbeing:
Get regular exercise – it can boost your self-esteem and help you concentrate, sleep, and feel better
Eat well – so your brain gets the critical mix of nutrients it needs to stay healthy and function well
Get enough sleep – this helps regulate the chemicals in your brain and helps manage our moods and emotions (here’s a great book all about sleep)
Get plenty of Vitamin D – the easiest way to do that is to get outside and get some sunlight! Vitamin D is great for our bodies and brains (sitting by the window won’t get you the same benefits)
Leg 2: Mental wellbeing
Mental wellbeing and mental health have become mainstream topics over recent years.
But the battle is far from over. There’s still so much to do to stop mental wellbeing from being a taboo topic that people are scared or ashamed to talk about.
We each have to take charge and do our bit to normalise speaking about mental wellbeing so that others feel more comfortable and supported to do the same.
Ways to take care of your mental wellbeing:
Avoid alcohol, smoking, and drugs – these stimulants are likely to make you feel more depressed and anxious
Talk about your feelings - especially when you’re feeling low or troubled. This is when good friends really earn their stripes!
Take a break - sometimes all you need is a change of scenery to feel better
Practise relaxation techniques - meditation, deep breathing and yoga all fall into this category
Remember that ups and downs are a normal part of life - as are feelings of sadness and joy, lethargy and excitement. Life is an emotional rollercoaster and no emotion or mood lasts forever
The final leg: Financial wellbeing
The third leg of the tripod is the one most ignore – financial wellbeing.
Despite a ton of research showing that money problems worsen and cause mental health distress and impact negatively on physical health – people still treat finance as an afterthought.
So many students who worry about their financial situation say that this negatively impacts their mental health. This impact can cause a lack of motivation to study and an inability to sleep, while also triggering feelings of depression, isolation, and hopelessness.
Clearly, improving financial wellbeing can have a positive impact on mental and physical wellbeing. On the other hand, if we don’t take care of our money, we’re likely to see negative physical and mental effects.
So it’s vital we prioritise our finances.
Here are some places to start:
- Get your budget sorted – that way you’ll know where your money goes rather than wondering where it went
- Take control of your debt – know who you owe money to, and what it’s costing you each month. If possible, move all of your debts to the cheapest (lowest interest) option possible, such as a 0% card
- Plan for emergencies – build an emergency fund so that WHEN, not if, something goes wrong (because it always will, no matter how well you plan), you’re able to handle the costs
- Increase your earnings – cutting expenses can only get you so far. The best way to build your financial future is to earn more. Treat yourself as an ever-appreciating asset!
Whatever happens in the future, having a solid foundation will help you to deal with it and thrive, no matter what.
Taking care of the wellbeing tripod will get you well on your way.