8 Ways to manage your wellbeing

EQ Durban, EQ South Africa
Written by: Avril Kidd
Category: Habits | Life Skills | Stress
During these times of uncertainty, it's normal for people to feel vulnerable and more likely to become stressed, anxious, and even depressed or fearful. The longer we are in lockdown the greater the impact on our wellbeing which is one of the success factors of emotional intelligence.

Nurturing yourself is not selfish. It’s essential to your survival and your wellbeing. [Renee Peterson Trudeau]

Personally, I have had some challenging moments with varied emotions impacting my motivation and creativity. I’m making a daily effort to regain these, as well as my focus. On the plus side my de-cluttering is progressing, and I look forward to daily exercise and bonding with my son!

 Wellbeing is our ability to maintain optimal energy and functioning.

A pattern that is noticeable in the numerous SEI assessments I have debriefed, particularly with corporates, is that Effectiveness is often the highest of the success outcomes, while Wellbeing is the lowest! Just shows us how out of balance we have become.

Now is the perfect time to reestablish some of the balance in our lives. For our youth, it is a different challenge. With online schooling and no sport or extra murals for balance, health can become an issue if they don’t make a conscious effort to exercise and eat healthily.



 Below are some tips that I’m trying myself, and that may help you to manage your own well-being better.


1. Focus on what you can control and manage

You may not be able to control the virus, its implications, and the loss of freedom we’re all experiencing to try and curtail it, so let’s focus on what we can control and manage. Do the things you didn’t have enough time to do months ago, like …

  • taking a long candlelit soak in your bath
  • playing with and cuddling your pet
  • reading some inspirational books
  • playing games with your children (we even dusted the cobwebs off our Wii Sport)
  • getting stuck into some gardening
  • calling a friend
  • meditating or yoga.

Try and focus on the present moment, the here and now, to improve your mental and physical wellbeing.

2. Set up shared goals for the family

All family members may be having moments of anxiety. To help manage this, set simple short-term goals you can achieve now. In our home …

  •  my son has learnt to mow the lawn and, according to their social posts, so have many of his friends!
  • We have a ‘big declutter’ goal
  • We’ve restarted ‘sweet and sour moments’ around the dinner table (the best and worst moments in our day). This is an engaging way to check in with each other.

Setting shared goals is a great way to take our children back to the basics and give them some life skills they may have been lacking.

3. Keep yourself physically and mentally active

Yes, lockdown means you can’t swim in a public pool or go to the gym. But you can do push-ups even if you live in a small apartment. There are many YouTube lessons for yoga, dance, tai chi and other activities.

  • Set up a regular exercise routine for yourself and choose one or two activities you like.
  • Try and encourage your children to do this too. We need ‘feel good’ serotonin to be released!
  • Exercise your mind too: eg. read books. The library and bookstores may be closed but there are e-books and many of them are free.
  • Watch intellectually stimulating movies and inspiring talks to keep you busy and calm. Simon Sinek and Jay Shetty, two of my favorite speakers, have loads of short videos during this time which are great to watch.
  • Attend some webinars. Six Seconds are offering daily webinars (many of them free) called ‘Growing u on line’. Click here to see what they have lined up for the month and to register for those that appeal to you. Our Middle East Africa region also has a weekly Zoom Connection session every Monday from 2 to 3pm. If you would like to join these weekly connection sessions, please Whatsapp me on 082 779 6299 so I can share the link with you.

4. Recognise your thoughts and feelings

At times like these, it’s normal to feel sad, angry and anxious. When you notice your emotional distress …

  • Try to summarize distressing emotions into short statements: e.g. I am angry because my partner does not understand my worries; I am anxious because of my lack of earnings.
  • Acknowledging your feelings and emotions can help you externalize stress and anxiety into clearer thoughts rather than bottling it up in your mind where it grows. Remember: name it to tame it!
  • Try and navigate through your emotions to shift to an emotion that will work better for you and your family. While you recognize your feelings and thoughts, you don’t want to get stuck in one emotion. E.g. try shifting from fear to curiosity: once you acknowledge your fear, then look at which opportunities you can create to alleviate this fear.
  • Take a deep breath and do something that makes you more relaxed. I use music to help shift my mood and state of mind as well as practicing gratitude.

5. Identify triggers and signs

It’s important to identify any possible signs or triggers of possible mental health issues.

  • Identify signs: e.g. noticing tightness in your chest, shortness of breath, being unable to sleep or sleeping too much, eating too little or eating too much, headaches, passing suicidal thoughts or impulses for hurting someone else.
  • Identify triggers: e.g. too much negative news, children’s noise, stressful emails from your employer, or your partner’s nagging.
  • Take this opportunity to teach your children about recognizing stress in their bodies and how to manage it.

Reach out for support if you are noticing these signs and are unable to shift out of the state of fear or anxiety. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

6. Express emotions in a healthy way

Everyone has their own ways of coping with emotional distress. Some ways are more damaging than helpful, e.g.: drug use, turning to alcohol or online gambling. Arguing and violence create more problems than solutions.

  • Think about what you enjoy the most and develop those activities into coping methods. This could be keeping a daily diary, writing a poem, baking or creating art. Creativity is a powerful tool for building resilience.
  • Indulge in some daily humour. Humor is a great way to shift emotions. I get my daily dose of jokes from my various social groups and the laughter helps to shift my emotions.

7. Connect and share feelings with family and friends

Talking to others might help you to understand that you are not alone in your situation, and talking and sharing challenges may also result in potential opportunities by sharing ideas.

  • Set up support systems for each other to get through this time together.
  • Take time to talk about things that are not related to CoVid-19.
  • Share emotions and feelings. This will help you externalize them, but avoid going into the doom and gloom type of sharing as this can put you into the negative spiral.
  • Try to think positive thoughts and look at what you are grateful for and make changes that are necessary.

Look at the positive impact that this worldwide lock down has had on our environment: the air is clearer; more animals are visible and thriving and our oceans are cleaner! In South Africa, people that have waited years to receive water, are finally getting it. In every adversity lies opportunity!

8. Give others love and care

Be kind and caring. Helping others makes us feel happier too.

  • Call your neighbors or friends. Reach out to those who may be lacking in social connections, like the elderly or those who live alone. Sometimes, just asking someone ‘how are you doing’ can be powerful for those who need more social support.
  • Share what you can. There are also many people in need of food, some are closer than we realize. If you can offer to make a meal or even a plate of sandwiches that could make a huge difference to a starving family.
  • Reconnect with old friends. One of the positives for me in lockdown is that I have reconnected with friends I haven’t spoken to in a long time. Now that the treadmill of life has slowed down, there is time to do this. I am grateful to be chatting to friends from all over the world and really enjoying our reconnection!

Wellbeing is about our health and balance.

Our physical and emotional wellbeing are precious. This is a perfect opportunity to remodel our lives for improved balance and health.

Use this time to look at which patterns or behaviors you want to keep that are supporting your wellbeing. Note which ones you want to change and replace them with those that will improve your health or balance.

Many of us are faced with financial challenges that may mean a change in lifestyle. Thankfully, we can still enjoy some things at no cost – like family time or nature. Maybe virtual meetings aren’t so bad. They give us more downtime which was previously taken up by travelling, and help keep costs down.

Stay safe and healthy, physically and mentally, and keep showing gratitude to our essential workers and empathy to those who are no longer earning an income or may even be battling the virus!

Please feel free to contact me for support if you are struggling during this time or if you want more information on virtual workshops, webinars, EQ testing and coaching. Now may be the perfect time to do a family brain style session to improve communication or do your own EQ leadership assessment!