How To Put The 'We' Back Into Wellbeing
By Di Westaway | Chief Adventure Chick and Founder at Wild Women On Top
Sometimes I just snap.
My inner moody bitch appears without warning, dumping on those I love the most.
It usually happens when I’ve been deprived of real human contact, after spending a work-from-home day in my office/bedroom, alone with only my devices for company. I feel frazzled and fried and my kids cop it. A pile of dirty dishes or laundry instantly erupts into World War III and worrisome words tumble out of my mouth before I have time to stop them.
Often I’m so filled with remorse I fly into my bedroom riddled with guilt, further driving myself from what I need most: connection.
I start to wonder if I’m going mad; if I’m abnormal. I usually bounce back after a good night’s sleep and a few apologies and, because I’m an uber-optimist, I know I’ll make sure I never let myself get this way again. But I'm not perfect, and I often do.
Just like mother nature, I’m always teetering on the edge, striving for balance but never mastering it. Then, occasionally, I flip. My hormones are all wrong. And it’s usually because I’ve spent too much time alone, plugged into my laptop and my world of social media and digital connections.
What I need is people. Real people connections keep me happy, vital, calm. And it's not just because I’m an extrovert. We all need human-to-human contact, not just eye contact but touches and hugs, to energise us.
When we hug, cuddle, touch, bonk and/or breast feed, we get a hit of happy hormones. It comes from doing stuff together, whether it’s a team project at work, a movie night or a sunset walk.
When we work together and connect in person, our bodies produce a hormone called Oxytocin, and it makes us feel good. But in our digitally connected age, more and more of us are alone in our little boxes, with virtual friendships that don’t serve our genetic design.
It’s in our DNA to connect and co-operate. And while we might not be as connected as a swarm of bees, we are born to be bonded. A recent Oxford University study showed that women who catch up together once a week are much happier than those who don’t. Not only do we get happiness from connecting and fulfilment from achieving team goals, doing things - anything - together is good for our wellbeing.
But in our busy buzzy life, its hard to fit it all in. So, we need to integrate our connecting time with other things that are also good for our wellbeing.
Here’s 10 ways, other than the pub, to get more connections into your life to keep that oxytocin flowing... even if you sometimes work from home!
- Ban phones at the dinner table and in the car to and from sporting activities.
- Choose a “favourite” child for a one-on-one walk or bike ride after dinner.
- Plan a weekend sunrise walk with the girls before the kids wake up.
- Grab a takeaway coffee at lunchtime and take it for a walk with a work colleague.
- Meet for a phone-free picnic at the park and chat.
- Organise a wild walking weekend with your partner and leave your devices in the car.
- Have your friends over for a meal without phones and practice the lost art of conversation.
- Chat to the cleaner when you bump into them in the loo and thank them for doing such an awesome job.
- Thank the waiter for being such a legend, even if he/she isn't.
- Address the petrol station attendent by name and ask him/her if/what they're studying.
If you're so busy/frazzled that organising a get together or even a family meal feels too much, join us at Trek Training to meet new friends, get outside and get those feel-good hormones every single week.