10 Suggestions for Enhancing your Well-Being
7 hours of sleep a night is highly correlated to improved states of well-being and physical health. Suggestions for better sleep include staying away from your electronic devices an hour before bedtime; watching fluid intake past 7pm; no caffeine after 2pm; reading (with a book) before bedtime; deep breathing and meditative prayer practices.
30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise 3-5 times a week is recommended, and preferably getting outdoors (Vit D from the sun is good for energy and mood). Be sure to check first with your physician.
Nutrition is important as well. For example, sugars have been shown to raise levels of anxiety and irritability.
Examples include learning better time management; get in touch with your playful self and sense of humor; limit social media; get cardiovascular exercise at least 3-5 times a week; and be out in nature. Be self-aware, so that you know the things that increase stress resiliency in your unique self.
Having a day a week of Sabbath is, although difficult to maintain, important. Unplugging once a week (even if you can only do half a day) helps your overall well-being.
Rabbi Abraham Heschel—“The first holy thing in all creation was a day!!! A palace in time…
The Sabbath as a day of rest is not for the purpose of recovering one’s lost strength and becoming fit for the forthcoming labor. The Sabbath is a day for the sake of life.”
Jesus— “The Sabbath was created for humans, humans weren’t created for the Sabbath.” Mark 2:27
Restorative niches are areas we do well in that we regularly include in our lives. Examples would be getting lost in painting, gardening, wood working, etc. These are practices that are ways in which we unplug from our normal daily routines and engage in practices that are life giving and restorative to us. (taken from Flourishing in Ministry: How To Cultivate Clergy Wellbeing by Matt Bloom.)
Being in a reliable community of faith, and having good peer support is important to our well-being. This can be even more beneficial if we get involved in acts of generosity towards others. Research continues to show that acts of generosity can be life changing.
Begin to notice whether you live from a scarcity mentality or an abundant mentality.
Ways to practice gratitude are:
- Keep a gratitude journal (simply write down 3 things every day that you can say you are grateful for).
- Balance your life. How else can we focus on gratitude if we don’t stop and pay attention. This, again, would mean unplugging from devices, work, things that we let distract us. (Luke 10:38-42)
- Consider the “sacrament of seeing”.
Matthew 6:22 The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light.
Matthew 13:16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.
Walking a labyrinth in prayer; centering prayer; breath prayers; and lectio divina are good examples of meditative practices. More and more studies are attributing these factors to overall emotional, physical and spiritual well-being.
Create Healthy Boundaries
Be self-aware of your personal emotional triggers (ie. What makes it harder for you to say no).
Do the important work of Forgiveness
Remember, forgiveness is something we do for ourselves. It is a process, and it does not mean that we must be back in relationship with the one who has hurt us. It is necessary for us to do the work of forgiveness for our own well-being.
by Rev Sheri Ferguson, LICSW, LMFT