Five Considerations to Boost Your Well-Being – C.L.A.N.G!

Five Considerations to Boost Your Well-Being – C.L.A.N.G!

Well, this year was a doosey for most of us! And I think there are plenty of us that can’t wait for Ryan Seacrest or Carson Daily to just drop the doggone ball already and get on to 2021!!!

2020 gave us a world-wide pandemic, devastating social unrest, a contentious presidential election, massive unemployment, and a busier than ever hurricane season.

In case anyone wasn’t clear on how bad 2020 has been, Time Magazine named 2020 the Worst Year Ever!

We did not have any training for this year, that is for sure!!! And many of us were not prepared. It had an impact, to say the least. We are more stressed, more depressed, more unemployed, and more hopeless than we’ve been in several generations. Many of us have lost jobs during this pandemic and for those of us who have kept our jobs (even though I know we are grateful) it has impacted us as well!

I hope I haven’t thoroughly depressed you because there are a lot of things you can do to Get Ready for 2021!

I would like to take you through Five Considerations to boost your Well-Being during 2021 and ask yourself if you are thriving in these area. I love creating acronyms because it helps me remember. The acronym I am using today is CLANG! I think this is an appropriate way to bring in 2021. A clang is a loud resonant metallic sound or series of sounds. I’m picturing ringing bells when the clock strikes midnight this Thursday! The definition sentence I read said, ‘the steel door slammed shut with a clang.’ I think many of us would like to slam shut 2020, right??? So let’s welcome in 2021 with a clang and slam the door shut on 2020 with a clang as well!

The C in Clang stands for Connecting

Strong relationships with others is a critical part of building resilience and boosting well-being. CONNECTING with others including family, friends, colleagues, and the wider community promotes well-being, and helps build a support network for when times get tough. And times have been tough this year!!!

We all need to feel close to other people and feel valued by them. We have had more opportunity to connect with the people we live with from my conversations, that has had a variety of results—some have grown much closer to the people they live with and others, not so much. At work, having good relationships with colleagues helps us stay motivated and engaged.

Connecting is about being there for others, talking and listening, and feeling a sense of belonging.

Here are some ways that you can connect:

  • Talk to someone – and really listen. How many of us do this? Where all you are doing is listening to someone? We have become extreme multi-taskers, right? You understand that while we think we are doing ourselves a favor by multi-tasking, we actually are not. It actually reduces our efficiency and performance because our brain can only focus on one thing at a time. Our brain lacks the capacity to perform two tasks successfully. People who multitask frequently have more trouble organizing thoughts, filtering out irrelevant information and are slower at switching from one task to another. Wow! This is one habit you become worse at the more you practice it! So, when you are having a conversation with someone or listening to someone, really listen.
  • Here is a new habit you may want to work on…Begin each day with “Who am I checking in on or connecting with today?”
  • Video Chat – we’ve all gotten much better at this…there are so many platforms out there… Zoom, WhatsApp, WebEx, Skype, Google Hangout…it’s almost odd to NOT have the camera on these days.
  • Reconnect with an old friend – someone you haven’t talked with in years, but used to always bring a smile to your face. You know who that is!
  • Play with your kids – some of you are already great at this already! If you aren’t, here is your opportunity!!! Your kids will love it! Even if they act like they don’t!
  • Be a great neighbor – help out your neighbors. I love the community where I live. We’ve had drive by graduations, baby showers, anniversaries, and birthday parties in our neighborhood! My husband just helped my neighbor jump her car battery. Be the type of neighbor where someone will ask you before they call AAA!
  • Talk or phone instead of emailing – I know it’s much easier and faster to send an email or text, but next time, talk!
  • Join a team or club
  • Join or Start a Book Club
  • What about an Online Fashion Show?
  • Karaoke anyone?
  • Game night?

The L in CLANG stands for LEARNING

This is a great time to embrace new experiences, look for and seize opportunities, and maybe even surprise yourself a little bit! Being curious and seeking out new experiences keeps the brain stimulated.

Setting goals, being open to new ideas and continuing to LEARN throughout life helps boost well-being and build resilience.

Learning improves our self-esteem, keeps us connected and involved and helps us adapt to change and find meaning in our lives. It has also been shown to help prevent depression in later years.

Learning is more than just formal education – it’s about exploring new ideas, seeing opportunities, embracing new experiences and sharpening our skills. It means being curious and having an enquiring mind, in all areas of life.

I’ve gotten FIVE new certifications since June!

Here are a few ideas to keep Learning:

  • Take an online course – there are a ton out there and many are free!
  • Listen to a podcast or read a journal article
  • Take on something new at work – maybe brush up on some new skills or ask to be on a committee you are interested in assuming you aren’t already over-loaded.
  • Set up a lunch and learn. Share something you know with your colleagues. Maybe a five-minute Ted-Talk type you share and then open it up for questions or do a demonstration.
  • Learn to play an instrument or study a new language
  • Visit an outdoor public art space – most cities and towns have something for you to see. If you’ve already been to the ones in your area, take a road trip and see something new!
  • Set an intention, write out your action steps and work towards making it happen. This is the perfect time of the year for this.
  • Take on a new task or help someone – I call them ‘projects’…A term I think my husband has learned to proceed with caution when I bring them up because he knows they mostly involve him!
  • Get to know your colleagues more. We are having a virtual happy hour later today with some of our WHEN colleagues and are playing a game where we are asking them two things we would be surprised to know about them and have each other guess as a way to get to know each other better since we all work virtually.

The A in Clang stands for Being Active

Being physically active every day is great for our bodies as well as our minds.

Not only does being active improve our physical health and fitness, being active also improves our mood and overall mental wellbeing, decreases stress, depression, and anxiety. These benefits are increased even more when we can get outside. Also, if we are being active with others (which we can still do during this pandemic as long as we are practicing the CDC recommendations) it helps us feel more connected and can motivate us to build an exercise habit.

Being active does not necessarily mean a five mile run (although for you those of you who do that—I’m completely envious!) A simple rule—do what you can and enjoy what you do! It may be as simple as standing more or walking around the house more…create habits that bring more movement in your work day.

Here are some ideas to help you Be Active:

  • Go for an easy stroll at lunchtime
  • Break up long periods of sitting – we call them Posture Breaks at WHEN
  • Inhale and raise your arms over your head, exhale and sweep your arms down (everybody try that one—it feels great!)
  • Stand up and shake your harms, take a few deep breaths, stretch and walk around your desk or down the hall.
  • Do should rolls or shoulder shrugs every 15 minutes or so.
  • Have walking meetings. A friend and I noticed that whenever we would connect with people, it would be over a meal…we started meeting on the mountain and would catch up while hiking.
  • Take a yoga, Pilates or Tai Chi class. If you’ve never tried, there are plenty of online classes so you can get a sense of the moves and then once you feel more comfortable, see if you can find a class.
  • Use the stairs instead of the elevator for those of you still going into an office and or park further away from the entrance.
  • Yard work…depending on where you live, that could be gardening, raking leaves, shoveling snow, pulling weeds
  • Play – Build in some play into your day. This helps raise your spirits AND gets you moving!
  • You could turn on some good 70’s, 80’s, or 90’s music and start dancing…
  • or go tobogganing…
  • or what about family game night—I don’t know about yours, but our family game nights usually end up being quite active!!!

The N in Clang stands for Noticing

Paying more attention to the present moment, to thoughts and feelings and to the world around us boosts well-being.

Using attention to increase awareness, concentration, and focus on the current moment has been shown to improve well-being and your mood. These are skills that can boost our creativity, productivity, and accuracy.

Becoming more aware of the present moment means noticing the sights, smells, sounds, tastes and touch of what we are experiencing, as well as the thoughts and feelings that occur form one moment to the next. It’s about reconnecting with the world around us. Appreciating the little things and savoring the moment.

Here are some suggestions for upping your noticing game:

  • Keep a beautiful object near your desk – since I am at my desk more than I’m pretty much anywhere else in my home, I have a ton of things around me that make me happy…pictures of family and friends, inspirational words, little mementos that make me smile.
  • Plan to look up at the night sky or catch a beautiful sunrise or sunset. Really appreciate nature.
  • Sit quietly in a garden or park…being in nature really helps you notice and get present.
  • Notice signs of the season changing. Leaves changing, shorter days, weather shift. Pay attention.
  • Listen to your favorite music
  • Take regular technology breaks
  • Single-task – do one thing at a time…we already know why, remember?
  • Practice gratitude…we will talk more about this in a second, but people who express gratitude on a consistent basis are more optimistic, less materialistic, and more forgiving.
  • Try a mindfulness practice

We define Mindfulness at WHEN as the moment-to-moment awareness of thoughts, feelings, and body sensations without judgment. It’s about being in tune with yourself and the environment with acceptance and curiosity. The goal is not to rid yourself of all negativity or anxiety, but to become aware without judgment or attachment to it. It is an attitude of befriending yourself and the life you live. Often, people who practice mindful awareness are less reactive, less judgmental, and more self-aware.

Here are some of the other benefits of mindfulness:

  • Higher brain functioning
  • Increased immune function
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Lowered heart rate
  • Increased awareness
  • Increased attention and focus
  • Increased clarity in thinking and perception
  • Lowered anxiety levels
  • Experience of being calm and internally still
  • Experience of feeling connected

Does anyone want any of this? I know I do!!!

The final letter G stands for Giving – giving your time, your words, your self.

Giving makes us feel good! Practicing acts of kindness, big or small, increases happiness, life satisfaction and gives us a sense of well-being.

Giving is more than just sharing material things with others. It’s about growing a spirit of generosity and actively supporting others.

The acts of giving, receiving and being aware of acts of kindness, even indirectly, gives us a sense of purpose and self-worth.

Giving also helps with our connections.

Here are some examples for giving:

  • Compliment someone
  • Help a colleague with their work
  • Share your ideas or feedback
  • Get involved with a charity
  • Support a friend
  • Do the dishes for someone
  • Perform a random act of kindness for a colleague, friend or even a stranger
  • Practice gratitude

2020 is going to go into the record books for many reasons. Are you ready to CLANG the door shut on 2020? Use the next few days to get excited about this New Year. Remember, your well-being is up to you.

Cheers everyone to a wonderful 2021!!!
Shelly Ryan
WHEN Career Chief and Training Officer

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