I'm not going to patronize you by giving the Oxford dictionary definition but a quick google search reveals the general consensus is that wellbeing is a state of being happy and healthy. During a chat with a colleague recently she asked, 'isn't wellbeing is just another word for mental health?' We're all aware of the stigmas which surround mental health and so perhaps re-framing it as wellbeing, a hot topic at the moment, is society's way of dealing with the mental health crisis in schools without having to call it mental health. This got me thinking. What is wellbeing?
After giving it some consideration I decided that for me, working on our wellbeing is the maintenance side of mental health. If our mental health management was on a scale, at one end you'd have the extreme of sectioning and medication to deal with crisis point mental ill health and at the other end you'd have the brushing your teeth equivalent. The day to day practices which keep us ticking over, happy, healthy and sane!
At this point I'm going to state the obvious. We all have mental health. Yes, you. And me. And your granny. Mental health shouldn't be confused with mental ill health or disorders. Just as we have physical health; some people are more in shape than others, some are really poorly, some have a cold or a graze on their knee, so it is with our mental health. And none of us are perfectly healthy all the time. Because that's not possible.
So usually when we're physically ill we take some action. This might be a hospital stay requiring long term treatment, it might be a visit to the GP or it might be a hot bath and some chicken soup. Our mental health needs the same care and attention when things aren't good but more than that, there are things we can do or probably are doing without realising it, to maintain and improve our state of mind. Just as we shower, brush our teeth, exercise etc to maintain our physical health, we can do the same to maintain our mental health which can also be described as promoting our wellbeing.
So what are these things we do to maintain and improve our wellbeing? Check out my Ways to Wellbeing page to find out.