When it comes to our wellbeing, a holistic approach can be very beneficial. There are 4 key pillars of wellbeing, each working together to create a foundation for wellness. All 4 pillars are equally important and if one is lacking, the others can suffer as well. Working on having a balance in all 4 of these areas is optimum. But what are the 4 pillars of wellbeing, how do they work together, and how can you use them?
What Are the 4 Pillars of Wellbeing?
- Physical Wellbeing
Physical wellbeing practices are something most of us are familiar with. However, as people in the UK are around 20% less active now than in the 1960s, are we really doing enough to keep on top of our physical wellbeing? Key practices include keeping good nutrition, being active and getting enough sleep.
Good nutrition means doing our best to eat a balanced diet, as great nutrition can have a positive impact on our mental health. Staying active can be any form of exercise, whether that’s playing football with friends, going for a run or doing some simple restorative yoga. Another important part of physical wellbeing is having enough restful sleep each night, as this is when our bodies recover and prepare to face the day ahead. It’s fine to have some late nights but we should be getting around eight hours sleep per night.
Keeping up with your physical wellbeing can improve your immune system, reduce stress, boost your energy levels and help you feel more confident.
Research shows that physical activity has a direct impact on mental wellbeing, and vice versa. As physical activity releases feel-good endorphins in the brain, it is important to keep on top of your physical wellbeing to ensure a good foundation for your overall mental health.
- Mental Wellbeing
Mental wellbeing is the second pillar for great health. Our mental health is just as important as our physical health. This means that we should prioritise practices that boost our mental health and prepare ourselves with a toolbox of skills to help manage our stress containers.
It is also important that we have a comprehensive understanding of mental health and the early warning signs of mental ill health, so that we can implement strategies to avoid or manage these issues.
Self-care practices should be a priority in our everyday lives, and that doesn’t just mean bubble baths and scented candles – though they do help! Self-care is a vital part of looking after your mental wellbeing, and some self-care strategies to boost your mental wellbeing can include:
- Reaching out for support if you feel like you’re struggling.
- Identifying problems and working on strategies to improve them.
- Creating a healthy work-life balance.
- Ensuring you stay on top of your physical health.
- Creating healthy daily habits that will boost your wellbeing, not hinder it.
Top tip: Great Mental Health Awareness Training is one way to ensure you understand all the basics of mental health conditions, and self-care techniques so that you can build a strong foundation for good mental health in the future.
- Financial Wellbeing
Our financial wellbeing can impact all aspects of our lives. As research shows that finances are the biggest cause of stress in the UK, we can see that our financial health can be linked to our mental health.
If we lose track of our financial wellbeing, we can also lose access to the necessities that help us look after our physical health. Also, without good financial wellbeing, we have less opportunities to socialise and boost our social wellbeing.
Some habits to help boost financial wellbeing include:
- Save money as best you can. Save small and often – consistency is key.
- Control impulsive spending by learning about other more helpful coping mechanisms.
- Create a plan to tackle any outstanding debt. Consider utilising debt charities such as StepChange for extra support.
- Social Wellbeing
Social wellbeing is one of the four pillars of wellbeing and is generally defined as social acceptance, community, connection within family and friends, empathy, compassion and generosity. Social wellbeing means feeling happy to be part of society; belonging to a group or community and believing that you have a role to play; having good relations with family members; feeling connected to your neighbourhood; and having a support network.
Social wellbeing is just as important as the other three pillars of wellbeing: physical, mental and financial. Having a healthy sense of self and your role in a social circle can help you to feel happy and content with your life, by allowing you to feel like you’re making a positive contribution to society and giving back to others in some way.
It can also be important when dealing with stress or mental ill health or feeling like you need support. Having this sense of togetherness, acceptance and a social role can make you feel like you’re not alone and give you strength to face challenges.
Some strategies to build your social wellbeing include:
- Try new things! You’re not going to make new connections sitting at home. Try something new like a class or hobby and you’ll be sure to start making new friends.
- Connect with your family by building meaningful relationships with your children, partners or other family members. Try spending some quality time together, especially if you’ve noticed you haven’t had the time recently.
How Do the Pillars of Wellbeing Work Together?
As you can see above, these 4 pillars combine together to provide the foundation for great wellbeing. Without one, the others fall. This is why it’s vital to prioritise and implement strategies that boost each pillar, and not focus all of our attention on just one. If we make small changes in our day-to-day lives, we will feel big benefits in return.
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