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18 Nov 2021
SOURCE: CPF Board
Are you well? It’s a question we hear every now and then, and it’s more relevant now than ever before. But how well is ‘well’? Well, we’ll tell you in this handy article, accompanied by Joel Lim, founder of ZYRUP Media and mental health advocate!
Wellness certainly isn’t one dimensional; it’s made up of various aspects, as you’ll soon see. Taking care of yourself in these areas will result in your overall wellness, which in turn allows you to live a happier life with less stress.
There are many definitions of wellness out there and components that can affect your wellness include emotional, social, intellectual physical, mental, financial and many more. For simplicity, we have narrowed down to three key aspects of wellness - physical, mental and financial. At a glance, these may be easy to define: body, brain and savings, right? But there’s more to them than just classifying them this way. Let’s hear from the expert on what wellness in these areas mean, and how we can better achieve wellness by actively pursuing it!
Mr Joel Lim did a two-part podcast about physical and financial wellness which you can listen to and if you’re keen to learn more.
Now then, first off, what does financial wellbeing mean? According to Joel, that means not having to worry about day-to-day expenses, as well as setting aside lifelong savings.
As for physical wellbeing, Joel believes it is made up of two components: the body, and the mind – contrary to the common perception that physical can only mean the body. He believes that physical wellbeing includes both physical and mental health. While physical health involves exercise and keeping active, mental health is about dedicating time for self-care and understanding and acknowledging your feelings
And finally, mental wellbeing. Joel posits this to be about the self – not the mental or physical aspect, but a more spiritual side. And it isn’t something that you consider in a vacuum; when it comes to taking care of the self, external factors are very important as well. However, it is only by being in tune with your sense of inner health, that you will be able to better manage these external points.
Why it's important
If you plan to embark on a road trip, you’d want to keep your car in its best possible condition to ensure that it goes where you want to go without breaking down halfway. To do that, you will need to take the time to carry out frequent maintenance, whether it is to refuel or changing tires for a better grip on the road. Living life to its fullest is the same; by keeping yourself well, you can head to your destinations with fewer hitches.
Likewise, Joel also emphasizes the importance of maintaining wellness, be it in financial, physical or mental. He believes that reassurance is important to us as individuals – a statement that holds more strongly amidst the uncertainty of a pandemic. If you do regular “maintenance”, it helps you have less to worry about down the road, giving you a little more assurance that you will have the strength to journey on. But it is hard to define which aspect of wellness is more important than the other; they are to be considered holistically, as being poor in one aspect can easily lead to the deterioration of the other aspects too.
Tips and tricks to be well
During the podcast episode he did with us, Joel brought up that an important practice in the work from home (WFH) environment was to draw boundaries between work and non-work hours. This helps to balance work and private life, maintaining mental health and strengthening physical wellness. Do take note that Joel’s tips are based on his personal experience!
If your room is being used for work, the first thing that you want to try will be to make your space feel different when you’re at work and when you’re off the clock. Visual cues through use of different lights could do the trick. You may want to set up a proper desk lamp to help you focus better and be more productive in completing the work tasks on hand. A switch to mood lighting can change the vibe of the room and signal that it is the end of the workday. Such lightings can also help you to relax and take your mind off work until you are all rested and recharged. On Fridays, you may even want to light up your scented candles or turn on the aroma diffusers to prep for the upcoming weekend! This way, even if you are in the same room, the space can feel different at different times, allowing you to better draw the line between work and personal time.
A second tip is to differentiate the time at work and time for rest. But if you’re working from home, how do you differentiate the two moments easily? Well, Joel has the answer for that too, and the answer lies in your mindset during the different times.
During work hours, discipline is key if you want to perform to the best of your ability within the hours of the day. But we are not robots, so we do need a break every now and then. So how can we do this without compromising on quality and efficiency at work? A simple way to do this is via the Pomodoro Technique, which is a technique where you break your working hours into 25-minute chunks separated by 5-minute breaks in between. In other words, after working for 25 minutes straight, you can take a 5-minute break to recharge, work another 25 minutes and take another break… until you’re done with the day. Of course, you can tweak the chunks of time as you see fit when you handle different tasks. On top of that, it elevates your efficiency as you will not end up taking too long a break in between since the break time is fixed! With increased efficiency, it usually means that you can have more time to relax after work hours, so take that time to head out for some exercise or sit back with a good show or book to end the day.
By keeping yourself conscious of how your time is spent at work, you will come to not only manage your time better, but you will also be able to better separate work and rest moments in your mind!
What about financial wellness? Well, the easy answer would be to spend responsibly. But while it’s easy to understand, it’s also difficult to put into practice. If you want a more thorough breakdown of how to do so, we have another handy article that can guide you right along, but the short version of it is that you can do it in a step-by-step manner based on priorities. At the start of each month, you can allocate your income for your basic needs and savings, and the remaining amount will be your disposable income which you can freely spend. By organising your finances in this manner, you will have a clearer idea of how much to set aside for savings and what you can afford to spend.
We’ve outlined three equally important aspects to wellness, but how do you balance them? Joel has some nuggets of wisdom there as well, and that is to know your limits.
When it comes to financial wellness, for example, knowing your spending limits can help you avoid overspending. But more than that, it can help you be more resourceful with what you have. Let’s say you want to spend time with your friends to refresh yourself, but you don’t want to spend the money to go see a movie. In that case, you will have to think of alternatives that don’t cost as much. Taking a leaf from Joel’s book, he finds that exploring new walking trails with his friends is a great way to spend time together as they can walk together and chat for hours while walking. Hours of fun, no money spent, and some exercise to boot! That’s a three wellness in one right there.
On a similar note, Joel notes that the notion of ‘hustle now, retire early’ isn’t necessarily wrong; if you have that desire to build up your career quickly and are capable of handling long hours without posing unnecessary risks to your health, then it is okay to do so. But in order to pull this off properly, you must know your own limits so that you don’t end up pushing yourself too far by prioritising one aspect of wellness over the others. Everything should be done in moderation, and by knowing how far your current situation allows you to go helps you determine how fast or slow you want your pace to be!
Where life is concerned, there is no first and second place. Everyone has their own goals, checkpoints, and naturally their own optimal pace. By knowing yourself and knowing how to approach this racetrack, you will reduce the number of bumps along your journey!