Understanding Well Being for Myself

2020-03-11 The Definition of Well Being

Photo by Jez Timms on Unsplash

Someone I know recently asked for help on Facebook with an article she was writing.  She wanted to know: What does “well being” mean to you?  What does it look like?

The responses were broad, and ranged from work-life balance, to stability, to exercising and eating well, to a sense of serenity and being present.

I pondered this for a few days.  There have been many points over the past few years when I have fell “unwell” or that my “well being” was taking a serious beating.  I was anxious, stressed, uncertain about the future, eating poorly, and putting myself last.

Back in March of 2016 – a month after Iris died – I wrote:

Wanting to take care of myself is one thing.  Having the energy and stamina to do so is another.  While I did pay close attention to my mental health, knowing that I have a family and work that depend on me, there are other aspects that I have admittedly let crumble.

Over the next few months, I worked so hard to take care of myself.  In a way, it took my mind away from my grief, if only for a few minutes.  Yoga.  Walks.  Writing.  I was anticipating (hopeful) that I would be pregnant again.  I knew that I had little control over the outcome, but also wanted to be in the best shape that I could be: both physically and mentally.  Once pregnant, my only mantra became “one day at a time.”

After Autumn was born, the care shifted to the necessities of a newborn.  My marriage was rocky as Ger dealt with his own anxiety.  We put a lot of effort into our relationship, but then the toll was on me personally.  In that time, a year or so, I saved little energy for myself.

Which brings me back to “well being.”  What does this look like for me?

After contemplating how I would define this, I came up with:

Well being, for me, is closely related to self-care. I am choosing to take care of myself: physically and mentally. Yoga enhances my physical well being. Writing, journaling, painting are related to my mental well being. “Well being” is “being in a good place” and all of those help me to be in a good place.  They can pull me back to a good place when I start to drift away from that. 

Perhaps the best part of this exercise was defining well being for myself.  Being aware of what helps my well being.  Knowing that I will feel crummy when my days revolve around the opposite of those things.

Of course, it is always a fluctuation of highs and lows.  But I can recognize what is lacking and try to carve out time for what feeds my well being.



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In the passing of years since my daughters died, I have become more prepared for the “hard days” – the hardest being their birthdays.  Nelle’s birthday was Labor Day weekend that particular year, so it ushers in multiple days of grief in the subsequent years.  And Iris’s birthday is February 13th – the day before Valentine’s Day.  As our family prepares to shower love on each other, I am slammed the day before with how she is not with us. Continue reading

For the Love of a Cat

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Telling a Short Story

2019-07-31 Telling a Short Story

Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve

Last week, I was picking my kids up from summer camp.  The day was blistering hot, so I was wearing shorts and flip flops.  The kids are always outside when I arrive and so I walk up to the teacher and he yells out to the kids running around on a large soccer field to come over and get their backpacks.  He usually says something to me in the minute or so that it takes for my kids to appear at my side; most of the time, something about what they did that day. Continue reading