Keeping fighting fit

The last 15 months have sometimes been a trying, stressful time for a number of reasons. The sense of normality resuming – at the same time as the actuality being anything but – has led to feelings of confusion and anxiety in many of us. Having an outlet beyond work is an important aspect of general wellbeing. It can be seeing family and friends. Or it may be an established or new-found passion for an activity. Let’s hope that the ongoing improvements we have made to some aspects of our lives – such as tweaks to the mental and physical health elements of our daily routine – are able to be carried over, once things have returned to ‘normal’ and our hectic lives take over once more.

Routine changes

We can all benefit from having outside interests. These can be anything from ongoing hobbies, or self-improvement or leisure courses that last a specific period of time. They may enhance our mental health, our physical health, or both. And they are an intrinsic part of who we are and how we can cope in these challenging times. Many of us have worried about work, or the lack of it, during the past 15 months. Some of us have had to adapt and change our career path. Others have had to adapt in other ways. The knock-on effect of these sometimes-drastic changes has been disruption to our routines. These disruptions for many can make a big difference to our wellbeing. This is particularly true when our extracurricular activities, such as sport and leisure, are impacted.

Some of us have had to curtail doing our hobbies – for a time that included such diverse group activities as team sports or theatrical productions – while some have been able to carry on, by using virtual platforms. Many exercise classes, for example, were able to carry on via the medium of internet hosting platforms such as Zoom and Google Teams, with groups at home in their own lounges following instructors remotely in their lounges.

Every little helps

We need to retain a healthy work-life balance and we can also set and achieve goals. Setting goals is an important part of many people’s lives. They don’t have to be massive and lifechanging, but cumulatively they will improve your general wellbeing. Many of these may seem small at the time, but you never know the difference they are making until they are taken away. For example, with the advent of big international holidays being an uncertainty for some time to come, it could be that people make positive decisions to visit parts of the UK they aren’t familiar with. Looking forward to a holiday is one of the most crucial aspects of anyone’s wellbeing. Having that date set in the far distance, knowing that you’ll be away and relaxing in new surroundings, is almost always a pleasurable experience and gives you something to look forward to on the horizon.

So too with hobbies and social activities – having something regular to look forward to enables us to focus on a positive. The upshot of this is that there are many positives we must still do post-pandemic, that will enrich our personal lives in the future.

New goals

Wellbeing is also partly about setting fresh goals and engaging with new ideas that include diverse experiences. On a personal level, I’ve never been to a music festival and would quite like to. It’s about thinking creatively about the things we can do to enjoy ourselves and that makes us think and feel differently. My biggest goal at the moment is to achieve a black belt in Taekwondo. My journey has been slowed but not stopped during the pandemic, as my classes moved online. But with in-person sessions resuming I feel optimistic about the future. I’d recommend to anyone that it’s worth finding something that they’ve always fancied trying and give it a go. You have no idea where that journey may take you and how the experience can enhance your personality and wellbeing.