Taking ownership of your own wellbeing and self-care
Health has become everyone’s priority in the past two years, creating an incentive for employers to invest in the well-being and rethink their employee wellness initiatives. A 2021 CIPD survey report found that most organisations are taking additional measures to support their workers’ health in response to COVID-19, focusing on mental health and tailoring assistance to individuals’ needs.
Moreover, employee well-being is continuously rising in the corporate agenda, and 75 per cent of senior leaders plan to improve their strategies. Mental health and work-life balance have become increasingly significant in hybrid workplaces as people often feel disconnected from the community, causing loneliness and a sense of isolation.
That made it critical to take better care of employees and their resilience during the pandemic and hybrid work. Although it’s encouraging that companies are finally prioritising wellness programs, they can only be efficient if workers participate.
According to a recent survey, 87 per cent of hires have access to mental and emotional well-being offerings, but only 23 per cent use them. The data shows that many employees rely on their companies for support to a large extent.
For instance, 70 per cent need their employer’s help with health and financial security. Thus, one in six people experience mental health issues in the workplace, and stress has been increasingly dire in the past two years.
Even though well-being programs are unlikely to solve every issue an employee is struggling with, they help increase productivity and engagement and reduce anxiety. Using workplace wellness offerings can help you navigate challenges and improve your health.
Employers should provide support, but ultimately, you’re responsible for your health and deciding whether you’ll leverage available resources. Because of that, it’s essential to take ownership of your well-being.
What Does it Mean to Take Ownership of Your Wellness?
Pain, struggle, and suffering aren’t a choice. But how you respond to these issues is your decision.
You might avoid it, suppress it, or convince yourself that it could be worse. But none of these scenarios addresses the problem. Regardless of how uncomfortable that might be, you must confront your anguish and understand what it takes to solve it.
It isn’t easy to admit you’re struggling and dig deep within to identify the cause. But if you’re not willing to help yourself, no one else can do it for you.
Mental health requires inner and external support. It needs you to be proactive and accountable for your own choices, actions, and thoughts.
Otherwise, you might turn to avoidance or blaming others for your troubles instead of looking for the most efficient solution. That’s why taking ownership of your well-being and self-care is terrifying and liberating at the same time.
Doing that gives you responsibility and power, but you must learn to handle them to reach the best outcome. The first step is to embrace you control your life, emotions, and mental health.
Indeed, it’s a pill that’s hard to swallow. But it also sets you free from attributing your difficulties solely to extrinsic factors, allowing you to approach your well-being differently.
In a nutshell, to take ownership of your self-care and wellness means being the master of your health and how you respond to the signals your body sends. That eliminates the victim role and a sense of helplessness.
Moreover, accountability enables you to become more solution-oriented and adopt a positive mindset. Thanks to that, you understand what your body and mind need to feel better and make the most of available resources.
What Makes Being Accountable for Your Well-Being Challenging?
Many people are aware they have the power of influencing their thoughts and responses to external circumstances. Yet, they still fail to be more assertive and go towards a solution.
Here’s what might make it hard to take ownership of your well-being:
Blaming others and finding convenient excuses for why you’re struggling makes it easy to transfer your responsibility. That way, you also make it their job to solve your problem.
Although this doesn’t necessarily happen consciously, it prevents growth and pushes you further away from a solution. Despite how painful it is, you should accept that things don’t always go your way and focus on understanding the catalyst of the issue.
For example, you might find it hard to admit that you’re an overachiever but often take more assignments than you can handle, resulting in burnout. Ignoring that could make participation in well-being programs inefficient because you’re avoiding the real cause of your stress.
People often run away from their problems because they’re afraid they don’t have the necessary capacity to find the solution or that their efforts will fail. If you’re terrified of facing your pain and addressing it, you’re allowing it to grow.
The bigger a problem is, the more difficult it is to solve it. You must be confident and confront what’s hurting you and making your life less pleasant.
Sometimes, the status quo feels more comfortable and less unsettling. Not tackling your pain means that everything stays the same, and you don’t have to transform your approach, habits, or routine.
No unexpected changes will shake your daily life and require your effort and attention. But nothing changing also means that what’s hurting you remains, potentially causing issues you won’t be able to ignore in the future.
Lack of Confidence
A problem can seem too overwhelming and big to handle, affecting confidence and self-esteem. It’s when you should focus on the benefits of tackling it and believing your ability to solve it.
Everything has a solution when you’re determined to invest time and energy in confronting your pain.
Distrusting Other People
Contrary to persons who blame others for their problems, some have trust issues or are too proud to ask for help. For example, your employer might offer a stellar well-being program, but you feel uncomfortable being vulnerable and talking about your struggles with other people.
Being insecure about talking about your pain or revealing your weaknesses holds you back from getting support and making the most of mental health resources.
How to Take Ownership of Your Well-Being?
Employee well-being programs and mental health have been hot topics in the past two years. Most employers understood the paramount importance of providing support and helping workers feel comfortable and happy in the workplace.
But sadly, that’s not enough. Wellness initiatives depend on both parties putting in an effort.
In some cases, employees aren’t aware their company has a well-being offering, or the program structure isn’t efficient. On the other hand, workers often avoid participation or classify it as inadequate before giving the program a chance.
Employers aren’t entirely responsible for their employees’ well-being, and the latter should be proactive participants and make self-care their priority. Decide you’re willing to add your input and be diligent in caring for your health.
Here are a few tips on how to take accountability for your well-being and mental health:
Be honest with yourself – The most challenging step is admitting that you’re struggling and that something is wrong. Because of that, the conversation you’ll have with yourself is the most significant. Confront your pain, look within, and listen to your body and mind. Identify what’s tormenting you and what caused the problem. Avoid blaming others or ignoring the issue because that won’t make it disappear. Instead, move towards a solution and consider what can help to make you feel better.
Seek professional help – If unable to pinpoint the root of your problem or understand why you feel the way you do, seek professional help. Look for therapists and counsellors whose services align with your needs and reach out. Don’t let the stigma or fear stop you from getting the support your body or mind requires.
Have uncomfortable conversations – Many people avoid opening up about their struggles and instead suffer silently. Yet, that affects their loved ones and friends just as much. Talk with persons you can trust and share the pain, regardless of how uncomfortable it might be. Letting go of that weight is relieving and empowering. Moreover, your family, friends, or coworkers can help you find a solution or decide what to do next. Surround yourself with a community of like-minded people who’ll lift you when you’re low and remind you that you’re more powerful than the pain.
Set your goals – Determine what you need to solve your problem and how to get there. For example, if it’s a physical health issue, talk with your medic and discover whether you need medication or change your lifestyle. Write down your goals and what you’ll do first. Note what you must achieve in the process and how you’ll know the problem is solved.
Adopt healthy habits – You shouldn’t take ownership of your health only when it’s in danger. Instead, it should be an everyday practice. The best way to do it is to cultivate a healthy lifestyle: eat well, sleep enough, and reduce stress. Meditate and spend time with your loved ones and friends or spend free time on hobbies that help you recharge your mind. Eliminate unhealthy habits and nurture work-life balance.
Use available resources – Talk with your employer to inform yourself about the well-being programs in your workplace. Find the best option and commit to active participation. Thus, wellness programs often allow you to meet people experiencing similar challenges and join forces. That way, you can reach out to your coworkers and share your thoughts and problems. Perhaps you’ll discover someone is going through the same issue. For instance, you can set goals together, making the process less lonely. If you feel uncomfortable with in-person communication, discover whether your company uses an online platform, such as shoogle, enabling employees to connect and create a community.
Accept feedback – Avoid fretting about criticism and, instead, use it to improve your self-care. Accept constructive feedback and understand that people want to help you. If you perceive every opinion as an attack or belittling of your problems, you’ll overlook good advice and allow your ego to trick you.
Commit to solving the problem – Once you determine the steps you must take to solve the problem, be resilient and committed. Avoid distractions, trust the process, and think about the positive outcome. Source strength from support your friends, family, coworkers, and employer provide.
Taking ownership of your well-being and self-care is empowering but also scary. It takes unyielding courage and determination to practice accountability every day.
But when it becomes your habit, you’ll have control over your response to the inner and external world. As a result, you’ll develop resilience and learn to confront problems and leverage available resources instead of ignoring and waiting for them to escalate.
However, you don’t have to isolate yourself and go through everything yourself. Reach out to friends and family or participate in well-being programs in your workplace to find a like-minded community and share the journey.