A curious thing happened last night. I was out in a suitably fancypants Ponsonby bar with about forty online coaching clients who are part of my Wellbeing Warriors programme. It was a total joy seeing all these busy women take their online connection into the real world. So many kindred spirits with shared values coming together - the room was absolutely abuzz. I had asked everyone to wear a flower or something with a floral pattern so they could easily recognise each other - it was heart-warmingly inclusive as each woman with a flower who nervously walked in on her own was welcomed and absorbed into the throng with open arms.
As I walked back from the bathroom I bumped into a much-loved corporate client for whom I have done numerous workplace wellbeing seminars. She wanted to know who the big group of buzzy women were; I said they were some of my Wellbeing Warriors having a social. "Wellbeing in a bar? That's not very wellbeing! They are drinking wine!" she said (while drinking her wine).
Well, you know - I couldn't disagree more. Wellbeing is SO much more than what we put in our mouths - the next superfood, antioxidant or green smoothie. All those things are good, great even, but true wellbeing is so much more than that. True wellbeing is four-dimensional - physical, yes, but also mental, emotional and spiritual. For smart, busy women, juggling multiple responsibilities in an increasingly fast-paced and disconnected world, I can't think of many things that are better for wellbeing emotionally than to meet with new friends with whom you have already shared connection and learning. To mentally recharge with thought-provoking new conversations and likeminded souls. And spiritually to relax, to laugh, to unwind, to connect with a sisterhood and an energy to which you contribute and which in turn nourishes you. Enjoying a delicious red wine (packed with antioxidants, red wine!) as those other elements of wellbeing are replenished and uplifted - that is gold.
Here's the thing. When we try to solve every call for wellbeing with a physical solution, we are going to be found wanting. If you are in need of emotional replenishing, no number of green smoothies in the world are going to fix that. If you are actually feeling spiritually disconnected from your purpose or feeling deep down like you don't belong, then no workout in the world is going to fill that hole. Yes being fitter and more physically energised will help and of course it's always better to come from a place of taking care of ourselves physically - when we are well-rested, well nourished and active we are definitely more resilient so everything is easier - but it's not the whole wellbeing answer. Attending to all four elements of your wellbeing is, and filling your soul with connection or expanding your mind with new perspectives absolutely creates a more enhanced and rounded state of wellbeing.
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So, can you drink the odd mojito and still be someone who nourishes your wellbeing? I think you can. I am likely going to get stick for this, and please understand I am not advocating developing a serious alcohol habit, but I honestly don't believe the route to wellbeing is through depravation and that a physical-only focus gives us all we need. Attending to all four elements of wellbeing is far more progressive, effective and sustainable. Consciously seeking replenishment not just physically, but also giving ourselves variety and sustenance emotionally, mentally and spiritually is the way to go for full and lasting wellbeing.
And the corporate client? I told her exactly what I have just told you. She paused for a minute, considered, looked down at her wine, and looked over to the group and smiled. "You have a good point," she said. "I think it's about time I joined you."
Through her online Happiness programme "Wellbeing Warriors", life coach Louise Thompson helps people unlock their happiest and healthiest life. Sign up at louisethompson.com and find more from Louise at bite.co.nz/wellbeing