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Reframing Well-Being

BY: Maggie Gough, RD // Founder • Realize Wellbeing

Raise your hand if you have ever experienced a pandemic that required you to stay socially distanced for over a month… yeah, I hadn’t either, until now. Come to think of it, none of us have. There have been many pandemics over the course of the past 100 years, but none like this.

For the past 50 years, we have thought of our well-being as the achievement of a set of lifestyle behaviors that allow us to live a healthy and full life. These lifestyle behaviors included eating nutritious food that we cooked in our home, training for 5k races, mindfulness, yoga, meditation, financial planning, budgeting, spa days, vacations, and so on and so forth. Phew. Just writing it all is exhausting. The world created a billion dollar industry to help you achieve this life.

Now we find ourselves here. Our only well-being goal in a pandemic is to survive. Literally. And in the midst of our survival, we are dealing with great loss. Many of us have lost people we love. We have lost dreams that didn’t have the chance to come true. We lost the opportunity to walk at our college graduation, and perhaps we lost the personal and professional goals we’ve been working towards. Like we talk about in our Employee Education Toolkit, Resource 17: It’s Okay to Not Be Okay. No one is unaffected by this. It is collective trauma.

Well-being now is survival and showing up for our daily needs, which can shift by the hour. Think of your well-being like this. Imagine you have a light that you carry—not a literal light, but a metaphorical light that represents your soul. As you take it with you throughout the day, you begin to pay attention to the things that amplify that light and the things that diminish that light. A lot of your self-care right now is simply about paying attention and becoming aware.

Once you become aware of the things that amplify that soul light, try to invest in them more. The things that diminish the soul light, get curious about those, as curiosity helps us respond without judgement and can often help us respond to challenges. Just remember, the goal is not to live a life where nothing ever diminishes our light, because life is filled with unexpected messiness. Our job is to show up in that mess in meaningful ways. In the Employee Education Toolkit, we offer some ideas for Establishing a New Normal for Home and Establishing a New Normal for Work.

This is now well-being. The beautiful thing about a pandemic is that we get to learn how to reframe and evolve our idea of well-being.

Maggie Gough
Maggie Gough, RD // Founder • Realize Wellbeing

Maggie Gough has developed consumer-facing health and wellness platforms, created and implemented wellness programs and provided consulting to clients about how to create more meaningful wellness initiatives. Her mission is to create workplaces that allow people to live fully into their divine human experience. Maggie lives in Kentucky with her husband Brad and their three kids.