There are lots of thoughts about what wellbeing is but let’s agree that it is when we feel contented and at peace with ourselves, others and our God.
We can think about physical wellbeing, emotional, mental, family and spiritual wellbeing. The WHO (World Health Organization) has suggested five ways of achieving wellbeing.
Giving. This can be giving of time, just being with someone, sending a message in all the different ways we are finding possible at the moment, giving money, giving food. There are so many ways we can give and we all know how much better you can feel when you do some volunteering. However, don’t forget God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7)
Learning. There are just so many things to learn. Youtube has a video on how to do just about everything from cooking a cake to mending a car engine. Learning an instrument is great but it does mean you need to have an instrument handy to learn how to play. Learning a language is very good for the brain. I downloaded Duolinguo (free) onto my phone and I’m trying to learn Spanish so I can keep up with the grandchildren. It is very helpful as it goes along in nice easy steps and you can go at your own pace. Lots of different languages to learn.
Learning verses from the Bible that are helpful for special times is a marvellous way to train the memory. We all know John 3:16, how about Philippians 1:9?
Being active. We all know that exercise is good for you, and in the immortal words of the Wombles of Wimbledon (children’s TV programme from way back) laziness is not! Exercise of any sort is helpful from housework to gardening to walking round the block. Doing what you can is the main thing. Have you noticed how people walk around when they are on the phone? That’s because we think better when we are moving.
Notice. Mindfulness is the latest trend that is supposed to cure all ills. The idea is to notice your body, your breathing, your surroundings and to think about them intentionally. I prefer noticing what happens when you pray, when you are holding a person or situation up to God and thinking about them, and talk to God about them, intentionally and carefully.
2 Corinthians 4:6 talks about the light of the knowledge of the glory of God. As we let that light into our hearts and think about the light of the glory of God in the face of Jesus, our faces light up too.
Connect. There are so many ways to connect and feel connected. Spiritual ways through prayer, giving and receiving warm, consistent loving support through words, deeds and—after the virus has lost its sting—physical presence. Now we are connecting with phone calls, emails, facebook, skype, zoom meetings, Instagram and many, many ways. Read a good book, a particularly moving passage from the Bible—Song of Songs is beautiful (between Ecclesiastes and Isaiah)—share it with someone, discuss it and enjoy together. Share a funny song, video clip or cartoon laughing together is a great way to connect, and sharing our sorrows is also helpful.
The next suggestions are ones that came from a group of young people working with the Red Cross after the earthquakes. They called their group Bounce: live life well
Make a Difference. It always feels that just I alone could hardly make a difference in the solution of the World’s problems. What can I do in the face of global warming, pandemics, or people starving all over the world? It’s easy to think, “oh just give up – what’s the point?” We all know that one little thing can often start a chain of events that make a big difference. When we do God’s will in our little corner loving God and our neighbours as ourselves then we imitate Jesus who declared that His job was to do God’s will too.
Do what you love. What makes you feel good? What have you got to be thankful for? Make a list of five things and do them every day. There you have it – do the things that you love.
Treat your Body Well. Not just exercise but eating a balanced diet. Whose mother has always said “a little bit of everything but not too much of anything”? We need to get sleep and ensure good night time routines that help our brains switch off so that we can sleep. After all, our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16).
Connect with Others. Be someone who others can trust and who can be connected to by others, as well as reaching out and connecting with others.
Know Yourself. What kind of person are you? How do you experience and react to all the emotions that we feel as human beings: sadness, astonishment, disgust, anger etc. Where and how did you develop those skills? Now is a great opportunity to look at all those old family photos and do a bit of digging into
your heritage. What are the stories you can remember? Tell them to someone or write them down for your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Everyone’s story is important as they make up the rich story of our nation as we share those stories across all the people who call themselves New Zealanders whatever their ethnicity or where they were born.