Sometimes life just hands us big surprises, the unexpected opportunities or changes in direction that take our breath away.
At least, that’s what happened to me right after I built this blog sometime ago.
What happened was that my sweetheart returned home after years away. It turned out that our numerous annual visits did not do justice to the time commitment of sharing living space again after extended time apart.
His eventual return was part of every phone call, trip, and holiday, so intellectually, I expected it. The surprise I received was the magnitude of change in my previous, and somewhat solitary, daily life. My definition of well-being shifted dramatically as personal choices became integrated with communal choices.
Being in partnership is a commitment to being present with one another and allowing for both love and caring, as well as debate and compromise. And I am finding that it is an opportunity to develop skills in social interactions beyond the first blush of romance and attraction.
Now that we’re both more adjusted to sharing space, and are making space for the surprises we offer one another, I am looking at the new ways in which I define well-being and how best to communicate them in future posts.
And it’s a new surprise and a blessing to have this opportunity to write about well-being again!
In this post, I’ll begin to share some of the holistic and alternative approaches I’ve taken to enhance my well-being. As with all good stories, this one starts with the ‘once upon a time’ part.
By my mid-forties, I was a walking example of the physical responses to too much stress: physical tension in my back and shoulders, emotional eating with accompanying weight gain, and anxiety about a constant need to prove myself.
I had allowed myself to get caught up in a game of competition and trying to demonstrate my value in the workplace. At the time, I was unaware of how my body was under constant fight-or-flight stress and cortisol overload. All I knew was that work had ceased being any fun at all.
A turning point came when a woman who was part of the leadership team asked me if I was enjoying the work. She recommended a transformational leadership and communication seminar that she’d just taken, pointing out how more in charge of her life she felt. It sounded like the goal for me, so I enrolled in the course.
As a result, I not only felt more empowered at work, I discovered the wide arena of complementary and alternative healing. And what a blessing it was that such methods and approaches came to my awareness.
Once I began to increase my self-care and to re-balance my own female and male energies, I also moved on to working environments that were more compatible (more on this in future posts.)
For me, acute physical stress of the body, like the kind I was experiencing, responds well to holistic alternative healing solutions like massage, which has become a foundation piece to my well-being. I highly recommend having support in relieving physical tension, whether it be through massage, exercise like walks in beautiful natural settings, hot water soaks, or a combination of these approaches.
For emotional stress, the Bach Flower Rescue Remedy, or a lavender essential oil, work well. Both are good aids to relaxing the nervous system and they’re available at most health food stores. There are still times when I reach for the flower essences.
Meditation has been another key part of my journey to well-being, for the physical relaxation it brings my body and for the enhanced awareness.
As I develop this blog, I’ll be sharing more about essential oils, flower essences, meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, prayer, journaling, biofeedback, and other self-care techniques that have helped me enjoy well-being.
Each time someone asks me that question, I find myself pausing for a mini-review of where I am in life at that moment.
The experiences of relationships, work, and play that were key to my happiness as a young woman still provide me happy memories. And the actual activities that bring me well-being are different than those of my younger years.
It’s fun to notice the evolution of my own well-being in the areas of health, work, and relationships. I imagine what brings well-being in your life also has changed with time.
What different kind of work experiences have been most rewarding for you? Large groups, small groups, going solo as an expert or a creative?
I’ve experimented over the years with all of these work experiences. As I’ve learned more and more about what brings me well-being, my career path has changed to reflect that knowledge.
As part of becoming more aware of myself, it was fascinating to see how my earliest career choices were influenced by the expectations of my family. Within those expectations, I was fortunate at first to find a way to combine my problem-solving skills and technical abilities with my love of the out-of-doors, and work as an earth scientist.
Yet unconscious influences beyond my awareness at the time brought me into larger and larger groups where I could use abilities like long-term planning and strategy design to serve the purpose of the group.
While the groups thrived, I found my own well-being under greater and greater tension, until I chose to align my talents with a small business environment that fostered my enjoyment of empowering people to express their own leadership and creativity.
And as I continued my own personal development, I gained greater clarity about the specific roots of my happiness at work and home. Having the time for personal creativity led to me leaving the group enviroments and I’ve found well-being in a private consulting arena.
As for specific experiences along an evolving career path, they’ll be continued in more detail in a future post.