What’s your wellbeing recipe?

Specialist Nurse Adviser at Bupa UK
17 October 2019

It’s good to take a bit of time out to have a think about what makes you feel happy and healthy. The little (and sometimes big) things you do every day that are important to you and your wellbeing. If you can’t think of any, then don’t worry – now is the perfect time to start. And, for a bit of inspiration, we’ve collected a round-up of ideas to help get your thoughts flowing.

Coffee cup with smiley face

Why make a wellbeing recipe?

I’m calling it a recipe because we can think of these elements as the ingredients that go in to the mix towards helping us feel relaxed, happy, content and nourished. Often, they are the little rituals and activities that punctuate your day and bring you a little bit of joy and satisfaction.

They’ll be unique to you and will support your emotional, social and physical needs. It could be exercising, doing something creative, reading or spending time with a friend.

What you will need

Make a list and then use it as a checklist each day for a week or so to see where your needs are being met, or where there are gaps. If you’ve got some gaps, you can start to build the things that are missing into your day. Making space to think about the things – large and small – that contribute to your health and happiness gives you the opportunity to review what’s happening in your life right now. You may find there are some additions and adjustments you’d like to make.

Inspirational ingredients

I invite you to have a think about it now, perhaps with a cup of tea, and spot all the things you currently do or would like to do. We put it out to the team here in the office and the below are the things they said that help make them feel good on a daily basis. What works for one person might be very different for another, there are no right or wrongs. I’ve added my thoughts on the below and how they might promote good wellbeing.

Morning treats

“In the morning I really look forward to an oat milk latte from the office canteen. It’s delicious and I enjoy drinking it while I settle into my day at work. It feels like a treat and it’s become a little ritual for me.”

Starting your day with something you’re looking forward to is a good way to begin. It might be a cup of coffee or it might be going for a run before work or listening to a favourite podcast or playlist on your commute. Choose one thing that will help make your morning a nice time of the day. A positive start to your morning can help set you up for a good day ahead.

TV time

“I like having some time to just sit and catch up on some TV, or mindlessly watch Insta stories.”

Too much TV and spending time on social media have raised concerns for our wellbeing – and not without cause. But I think the key thing here is that this is about giving your mind a rest – and that could be by enjoying a favourite programme or spending a bit of time on social media catching up with people or watching a funny video. It’s important to be aware that social media can have negative effects and to be mindful of how much time you’re spending on it. But a little bit here and there, as long as you’re feeling good about it, might be one way you choose to relax.

Getting up and out

“I need to get out of the house every day, especially with small children who can get restless. If I’m not working and have the children, I try to head out by 9am and have a good three to four hours out and about, even if it’s just hanging at the beach or a park. That way, even if I have a more chilled afternoon at home, I know I’ve gotten out and about and have been active.”

Getting out and about – especially in the morning and with little ones – is a fantastic achievement! Whether you can do this in the morning or later in the day, it is healthy to plan something into your day, even just for an hour or two, to have some fun, be active and get some fresh air.

Nature

“Mine is taking time to go for a run or walk with the dog, or go for a horse ride. It helps me to clear my head and I like to spend time outdoors. Even poo picking does the trick!”

Emerging evidence shows that spending time in nature is good for our wellbeing, so this is one to think about factoring in if you don’t currently spend much time in nature. Whether you go for a walk or sit in the garden, the great outdoors can bring lots of benefits.

Movement

“Some sort of movement is important for me. Some days I might need a run to let off some steam and clear my head, others a gentle walk in nature works. If I really want to make it more of a self-care ritual, I’ll take the time to roll out my mat and do some yoga.”

Being active is so important for all aspects of our health and wellbeing, and the benefits are well documented. Exercise is great because there are so many options – whether it’s a run or doing some yoga, explore some things that you enjoy.

Essential oils

“I recently bought myself an essential oil diffuser and there’s something very soothing about taking the time to put it on and breathe in the aromas.”

Aromatherapy and using essential oils is a therapeutic practice that’s existed for centuries. It’s long been used to promote a sense of relaxation and wellbeing. Using your senses to soothe yourself is a good technique. There are lots of aromas available that you can use – put a few drops in your bath or add to an unscented body lotion. Just make sure you read the information that comes with the oil for safe use.

Journaling

“Sometimes I’ll get my journal out and write down everything that’s bothering me. It feels like a weight has lifted as the thoughts come out of my head and onto the page. I find it helps me to see things more clearly and rationalise my thoughts.”

Writing down your thoughts can be a really helpful way to express what’s on your mind and sort through things. You can do this as and when you need to, or you might want to keep a mood diary for a while to see what affects your wellbeing – in positive and negative ways. Then you can see what changes you could make to prepare for or avoid them.

Nourishing food

“Eating healthily – having nourishing foods that make me feel full, energised and like I’m taking care of my body.”

It can be all too easy to get into a meal rut – eating the same meals on a weekly basis, and it’s understandable when you’re busy. But this could be a good time to look up some new recipes to try and to eat a bit healthier.

Phone calls

“Speaking to my sister or best friend usually perks me up.”

Keeping connected with your loved ones is really important for good mental wellbeing; whether that’s seeing them face to face, or messaging or chatting on the phone. Meeting new people is also something to think about – joining a group with a common interest (a running club or drawing class for instance) is a great way to make new friends.

Comfy clothing

“I like to put on really comfy clothes when I get in from work. Comfort is key – fabrics that are soft and make me feel relaxed. It puts me in a chilled-out frame of mind for the evening if I’m staying in for the night.”

This is another nice way to self soothe – feeling comfortable and at ease is a simple and easy way to treat yourself. Getting under a blanket, putting on fluffy socks or slippers, or putting on a favourite sweatshirt can all contribute to a feeling of cosiness.

Bedtime rituals

"I think I’m quite sensitive to being sleep deprived. I can sometimes be quite active in my sleep (walking, talking etc.) and I’ve noticed that I really do feel the effects the next day! I find sticking to set bed and wake times helps me.”

“It’s important to me to make sure I have at least half an hour when I get into bed to read a novel before going to sleep. I like getting comfy and cosy under the covers, I often put the radio on quietly in the background and have a herbal tea. I find it a relaxing way to round off my day.”

A good pre-bedtime routine will help you get a good night’s sleep. The aim of the game is to relax, unwind and be comfortable.

Soft lighting

“I recently went to a meditation group where a lit candle was placed in the centre of the group. I found the soft lighting a soothing thing to focus on and something I could recreate in my own home by lighting some candles in the fireplace.”

Create a lovely home with plants, flowers, fairy lights, photos – whatever you like. Creating a home environment that is physically and psychologically comfortable helps maintain a sense of safety and security. Taking time to make a space that feels good to you when you come home at the end of a busy day is important for your wellbeing.

Keeping clutter at bay

“I make sure everything is put away and tidy before I head to bed, so I sleep better and wake up the following morning with a ‘clean slate’. I hate feeling behind or when things (like housework) get on top of me, so I like to keep order in the house. That’s not always easy with a two and four-year-old, but I find a 30-minute whizz round after dinner or before bed helps me to stay on top of it!”

Some people don’t mind clutter and that’s absolutely fine! But there’s a saying that goes: a tidy house is a tidy mind, and there is something to be said for everything being as it should be. Some research found that there was an association between clutter and procrastination.

If you don’t usually tidy up at the end the day, you could try it and see how it feels. It’s very helpful in the morning too when all you need to do is focus on breakfast rather than washing up the pots from the night before!

Radio on

“I like listening to the radio on days when I’m working from home. I love it when a favourite song that I haven’t heard for ages comes on.”

It can be easy to forge ahead with our busy days without thinking about little things that could improve or enhance it – I think listening to the radio and hearing a song you enjoy is a great example of these little moments of joy.

A mindful check-in

“I steal little moments throughout the day where I can stop and check in with myself. I often do this when I’m washing up my breakfast mug!”

Checking in with yourself is a great way to practise self-care and research has shown that mindfulness can reduce how stressed you feel. Take a bit of time during your day to practise a few minutes of being in the present moment.

So what’s on your list?

Feeling inspired? We hope so! If something on this list has sparked your interest or if there’s something you do that you think others could benefit from, tell us over on our Facebook page.




Do you know how healthy you truly are? Bupa health assessments give you a clear overview of your health and a view of any future health risks. You'll receive a personal lifestyle action plan with health goals to reach for a happier, healthier you.

Fatmata Kamara
Specialist Nurse Adviser at Bupa UK

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Health information

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