Building Your House of Wellbeing

What is ‘wellbeing’? A simple way of defining wellbeing is about us feeling good and functioning well. Wellbeing is a package. We need to take a holistic approach and ensure we are nurturing the four areas that make up our “house” of wellbeing. As we near the Christmas season and all the challenges it can bring, now more than ever, your “house” is the most important job you should have on your books.

We know you start your day early, and we know you can face any number of challenges that can have you tearing your hair out before you’ve even reached smoko. Weather conditions, contractors, staff, material supplies, physical fatigue, injuries, calls from the bank, port-a-loos (or no loo!) and of course the relentless pandemic still doing it rounds. It you were to do a building inspection on your “house”, would you be able to sign you off? Or would you find cracks in the foundation, leaks in the cladding and a few tiles missing off the roof!

There is a wonderful Māori holistic model we have been using in Aotearoa New Zealand for nearly 40 years. Te Whare Tapa Whā (The House With Four Walls). It is the four cornerstones of Māori health, or wellbeing. Like any house, the four cornerstones are equally essential and should one of them become damaged or weakened, the house becomes unbalanced.

  • Taha tinana (physical health)
  • Taha wairua (spiritual health)
  • Taha whānau (family health)
  • Taha hinengaro (mental health)

A quote I particularly like is “You don’t have a problem till you have a health problem” by Oliver Brouton. Now Oliver probably wrote this about physical health but imagine if we applied this to all four cornerstones of our health. Keeping all of these balanced can seem overwhelming, so we wanted to share a few easy ways to boost your health over the Christmas period and have four strong walls of wellness.

Being barefoot on grass. Get those thick socks and steel caps off, reveal your white wrinkly feet and plant your toes into some fresh green grass. Amazingly it can help prevent insomnia, reduce inflammation, stimulates your organs, and increase the level of endorphins (feel-good hormones). Research also shows that walking barefoot on grass helps to decrease stress levels by 62 percent.

Action 1:

Grab a football, picnic, some family, friends and the dog, and head to the local park for some fresh air, sunshine, and grass.

Fishing. Yes, I said it. We all know and love it, but now you have even more reasons to get out on the boat, stand by a lake, or clamber round the rocks this summer. Simply being on or near water frees up our mind from daily stress and has a calming effect on our brain. Fishing requires lots of focus and awareness. This takes your mind off internal conflict and stress, similar to meditation. As a result, it helps to reduce anxiety, fight off depression, and promote relaxation. Studies have shown that fishing even lowers your cortisol levels.

Action 2:

Grab the burley, tackle and rods and head towards some water. Bringing home a fish or two will boost the mood in the household too!

Spring Cleaning. Back up the bus….you were just heading out for another fishing excursion, and now we recommend cleaning?? But don’t underestimate the power of a good clean out. The physical act of cleaning is linked with decreased stress, anxiety, and depression. But by cleaning and decluttering you are also increasing your productivity. Depression can lead to a lack of motivation and setting small and achievable goals for productivity can help to decrease depression and increase motivation.

Action 3:

Throw the windows open, blast the summer sounds and sing along while you clean (till the neighbours call noise control).

Try something new. Why? I say, why not! New experiences are good for our emotional health. Trying new things gives us a hit of dopamine (feel good chemical) and makes us feel rewarded. Fear is often the biggest barrier to doing something new. Here are 3 reasons to try something new these holidays.

Time becomes more memorable! By trying new things regularly, time becomes marked by these special times, giving you memories which l will last a lifetime.
You could find your passion or a new hobby. Trying something new enables learn more about yourself, you might even find your superpower!
Stimulate your creativity. You train your brain to creatively solve, every time you try something new.

Action 4:

Decide on and commit to something new. Enjoy planning it out, what are you going to do, how often are you going to do it, who are you going to do it with? Tell people what you have committed to, this helps keep you accountable if doubt sets in.

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