Considering the demands on our physical and mental resources, it is obvious we must get creative when it comes to nurturing our well-being. I have written a few posts already that are focused on creating an environment of love and giving you a more inviolate mental, physical, and emotional inner sanctum but this one has ideas that you may not have considered before.
Before you dismiss them out of hand, do give them a try and gauge the results. All of these ideas have worked for me and given me great results.
Here's your list of some very unique ideas to cultivate better well-being -
1. An aesthetically pleasing Work and Sleep Environment
Most people build offices to accommodate the most basic work needs and functional comfort but research on the subject reveals that office environment has a profound impact on mood, productivity, job satisfaction, and creativity.
An article (Towards an Environmental Psychology of Workspace: How People are Affected by Environments for Work) published in the Architectural Science Review shares the following diagram –
An ergonomically correct chair and a large desk is not all your office needs. A well-lit and ventilated room is conducive to comfort. Vibrant colours and pleasing art inspires creative expression. According to a study by the University of Texas, grey, beige, and white offices cause feelings of depression and sadness, especially in women.
There are so many components to a truly effective work environment and according to the research, all of it is worth exploring. If you work from home, it’s doubly important that you create a cheerful work environment. Lack of human interaction and sense of isolation can lead to depression, a happy environment can help fight that possibility.
A similar theory applies to our sleep environment. Sleep is the key to good mood, productivity, and focus. As soon as you optimise your sleep, your productivity, energy, and mood will show considerable improvement. The process should start with your sleep environment. It needs to be comfort-oriented, a sleep sanctuary if you will. Ideally, the bedroom should only be used for sleep and sex which means no gadgets, or work related paraphernalia allowed. Invest a little time and resource into selecting the right bedding. There should be options to completely darken the room while sleeping, control the temperature, and block out all external sound.
2. Get a Pet
There’s a reason therapy dogs are used for treatment in cases of depression and anxiety. According to CDC, pets can be good for your health. Pets can help you be more social, and they get you outdoors for more exercise, which can help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as reduce feelings of loneliness or depression.
Those of us who find it difficult to initiate and sustain relationships, pets can alleviate loneliness and become reliable companions. This counters one of the main causes of depression.
3. A Smaller Social Circle
A big social circle means that you always have a friend when you need one. At the same time, a large number of friends may rule out the possibility of true intimacy. It may even cause fall in productivity. The more relationships you have, the more you’ll find your time and focus split in different directions. Emotional investment in the lives of too many people and therefore their problems will inevitably cause anxiety.
Instead of maintaining multiple friendships, it is better to have fewer friends. It will allow you time to create more meaningful relationships and find intimacy that gives you comfort in times of need.
4. Picnics and Nature Walks
When was the last time you sat out in the sun with nothing but your thoughts for company? If you can’t remember ever doing that, you need to give it a try. Picnics are my go-to option on a bad day and if it’s not doable then a long walk helps.
As you commune with nature make sure to turn-off your phone and put away the music. Try and be present in the moment. National Trust (Europe’s largest conservation charity) shares, ‘Walking allows us to discover peaceful places, where we can take a moment to listen to the birds, feel the breeze on our face or watch the sun filtering through the trees. Spending time in nature can actually reduce anxiety and depression…being outside in natural light can lift a person’s mood, especially during the winter.’
5. Decrease your Commute Time
A lot of people accept longer commute time for jobs that pay more. None of them realise just how deep an impact this has on our well-being. According to a study conducted on commute patterns and depression, every 10 more minutes of commuting time is associated with 0.5% higher probability of screening positively for depression. Traffic delays and poor access to transit are also associated with a higher probability of depression.
Not all of us have the luxury of switching over to a job with more favourable options. Despite that, in order to protect your well-being, consider jobs with less commute time.
6. Learn new Skills and seek new Experiences
Depression is not sadness as a lot of people think, it’s actually exhaustion and indifference. While, a lot of us are genetically more vulnerable to depression, there are things we can do to cultivate a healthier and happier mental space and well-being. Acquiring new skills and experiences can keep our senses engaged.
Successfully learning new skills boosts our self-esteem. It gives us something to look forward to as we indulge our curiosity and stretch our thinking abilities. New experiences promote social interaction and it gives us new avenues to explore when we find ourselves bored with our daily lives.
According to a study conducted by Nielson, Adults feel excited, proud, and more confident when they try a new activity.
7. Appearance Upgrade
We all love makeovers, boys too, even if they won’t it out loud.
There’s something about changing the way you look that gives you a change in perspective as well. It’s like somebody suddenly gives you permission to do things that your old self wouldn’t. Brighter wardrobe, new makeup – it all gives us a new confidence and the push we need to experiment and explore. If you find yourself going through the motions, you may wanna consider an appearance upgrade. Something as simple as a haircut may make a massive difference to your mental setup and well-being.