People, Culture and Inclusion

Taking Action for My Happiness.


Taking Action for My Happiness.

Ball being swept out to sea

I was buzzed by the activity and conversations during both Working Well Week and Mental Health Awareness Week. These ‘theme’ weeks really help to bring the much-needed and valuable spotlight to these vital topics. But, once the twitter hashtags die down and the focus shifts away – back to the day-to-day, what do we do?

It’s not like these weeks were that far in the past (only 2-3 weeks ago!), and yet they seem so distant. At least for me they do. I notice myself drifting back into those ‘bad’ habits – I’ll just forgo that screen break to tick a few more things off my list (gotta get it all done today anyway); it’s OK for me to gobble my lunch at my desk (no one will know); oh, I’ll just check my emails before I go to bed (there’s no harm)…

I’m starting to put my own wellbeing on the back-burner in favour of other things which feel more important, more urgent.

I suppose I should congratulate myself for being self-aware that I am doing this (slipping away from what I know is best practice for my health, happiness and wellbeing; that is). But that’s not good enough for me (I’m greedy, you see). I have to take action.

The first thing I’m trying to do is keep the conversation going – with my family, with my colleagues, with my friends. But this can be hard as I feel like there are not enough hours in my day.

Sometimes, though, I just need someone to hold me accountable (supportively, of course!) And I sometimes do have that – colleagues, friends and family do check-in with me as much as they can.

The other thing I recognise I need is that reminder. And I have started using my fitbit and phone reminders to nudge me throughout the day – “Get up and moving”, “It’s lunchtime”, “Coffee-break!”

Another thing I was pointed to was the 10 Days of Happiness programme from ‘Action for Happiness’. I signed up for this free programme and I love that, every morning I get an email from my virtual coach – who is guiding me through these 10 days with activity ideas and guidance. The programme invites you to decide an action to do each day – these are framed around a theme (connecting with others, exercising, doing something new etc.) You can choose to submit your action as part of the programme. I also chose to have my daily actions emailed to me, which means I now have a log of them all and I’m checking back and asking myself: “Did I actually do what I agreed I would today?”

The key benefit for me was that I have been guided through the process of considering my happiness and wellbeing as part of my day – it’s not just an add on. I am consciously taking the decision to act. And I’m surprised at how little time it is actually taking me each day – I set myself small, achieveable actions, for sure – but that doesn’t mean that those actions are any less impactful.

I encourage you to do the same. You don’t have to sign up to a programme for this if that’s not your cup of tea. But maybe commit to taking a small action each day which supports your wellbeing and happiness. Trust me, it’s time well spent.

Zoe Connell, Organisational and People Development

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