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Déjà vu- Stress & your wellbeing?

With Melbourne’s 5th lockdown, and over a half of the Australian population given stay at home orders, we are in a space of increased stress and uncertainty. With some 16 months into a pandemic, a slow vaccine role out and new viral variants, the light at the end of the tunnel seems somewhat more distant.

Personally, I have been questioning what the new normal will look like? This enquiry has only increased my anxiety and experience of stress. My antidote is to temper my “crystal ball” gazing and focus on what is within my immediate control. This has involved getting my second AZ vaccine today, and practicing self-care- implementing some of my vital pillars of wellbeing.

In my previous blog post I defined stress as our body and minds response to a perceived stress or challenge. That response can be physiological, mental, emotional or behavioural. The word perceived is key. Where we focus our attention can impact our experience of stress. Focusing on the uncontrollable is a sure way to increase one’s experience of stress and anxiety.

Another definition of stress that I encountered recently was from Margaret Moore, who is one of the founders of the Health Coaching movement. She defined stress: as a “signal that is telling our mind (and body) that our capacity is unable to meet the demands of the moment.” Thus if we want to better manage our experience of stress, reduce the demands (if possible) and/ or increase your capacity.

Margaret’s definition of stress has similarities to a definition of wellbeing that I frequently refer to:

“Wellbeing can be imagined as a “see-saw” with a balance point between an individual’s inner resource pool and the challenges faced. Stable wellbeing is when individuals have the psychological, social and physical resources they need to meet a particular challenge. When individuals have more challenges than resources, the see-saw dips, along with their wellbeing.” (Dodge, Daley, Huyton & Sanders 2012)

The image of a sea-saw resonates with me. One’s wellbeing can fluctuate moment to moment, depending on the challenge and resources at hand. Similarly one’s experience of stress can vary depending on the demands placed on you and your capacity in that moment. In this context, it is obvious that good wellbeing comes from increasing your resources and limiting the challenges you face. Wellbeing, seen in this way, is a continual dynamic interaction between you and your environment.

Ok… Some questions:

How would you rate your wellbeing on a scale of 1-10? What are your current challenges? What are the resources that could move you closer to a 10?

PS If you haven’t noticed, I have updated my website. This Spring I will be offering a new and exciting online coaching program that will unpack my key self-care practices. Please check out the home page to learn more about my vital pillars of wellbeing!

PPS What are your foundational pillars of wellbeing?

I would love to hear from you .J

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