Well-being is defined as “the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy.” In today’s world, the phrase “I’m fine”, is the most overused statement when anyone asks you how you are. It’s an easy answer and, for the most part, gets people off of your back. The problem with that is we have become programmed to give that response when in fact we really aren’t fine at times. At that point, it is imperative to take inventory of our own lives and ask ourselves these 10 questions to asses how we feel and what really is the state of our well being.
How am I sleeping?
- We all have those nights. You are exhausted, you lay your head down with the expectation of falling asleep immediately. However, the moment you close your eyes, your mind begins to race. It gets so hard to turn down the volume in our own heads and, we begin to look at the clock and say, “ok, if I fall asleep in the next 30 minutes, I will get 5 hours and, I can function on that.” Getting adequate sleep is not only important for your physical health and daily functioning but, if you are lacking in the sleep department, it is a clear indicator that there is a bigger issue that you may need to tackle in life.
How is my hygiene?
- Raise your hand if you have ever been going through a difficult time and spent the entire weekend in the same pajamas, unshowered, laying on the couch watching movies. I’m sure if we were sitting in a room, there would be quite a few hands up in the air. A lazy weekend isn’t always a bad thing but, when that begins to carry on, day in day out, that becomes a problem. Your physical appearance is an outward representation of how you view yourself. Walking around unkept is the same as wearing a sign around your neck that says “IDGAF!” If that is the case, it’s time to start asking yourself, “why?”
On average, how is my mood?
My therapist (yes, I see a therapist and, I’m proud of it), once gave me homework to write down my mood at the end of each day for one week. At our next meeting, I realized that 5 out of those seven days, I was in a bad mood. Having that undisputable evidence in front of my face forced me to take a look at what was going on in my life and, why I was allowing it to affect me so much. It allowed me to turn that frown upside-down.
What is the state of my living space?
The space around you is always a clear indicator of how your life is going. For me personally, if there are dishes in the sink and an overflowing laundry basket, it is a sign that I am stressed. Coming home each day to a clean and organized environment can instantly lift your mood. Your home becomes your happy place and your sanctuary. If you are dreading going home because your place is starting to resemble a pig pen, ask yourself why you are allowing yourself to live that way.
When is the last time I laughed?
- There is a saying, “The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.” Could there be a more true statement? I personally live for the days that I laugh so hard my stomach feels like I did a million sit-ups. Days like that become timeless memories. If you can’t remember the last time you laughed, you need to start examining where is the happy in your life?
When is the last time I spent time with people I love?
- Life is busy and some days you need some peace and quiet but, there is a thing as too much quiet time. When you would rather isolate than spend time with people you love that will tell you one of two things; you are trying to hide something from your loved ones or perhaps, they aren’t the right people to have in your life. If it is the latter, there are approximately 7.3 billion people in this world that you can get to know and enjoy your life with. If it’s the former, it’s time to let your loved ones know what is going on. Remember, they love you for a reason!
How is my diet?
- I’ve said it before and, I’ll say it again. CHEESE IS LIFE! I love cheese and could have it as a part of every meal. It’s perfection on a pizza, on a burger, and loaded on fries and nachos. I may want to have cheese all the time but, my body might disagree with me. Aside from the physical aspects, numerous studies have shown that eating poorly can increase depression and anxiety. It may also be an indicator that you are using food as a comfort in your life instead of dealing with the underlying issue. Plain and simple, what you’re eating affects how you’re feeling.
Am I engaging in behaviors that make me feel bad about myself?
- This one is a big one for those of us in recovery. While in treatment, I’m sure everyone told you to stay away from people, places, and things that fueled your addiction. Doing that got you to a low point that made you want to break your cycle and start living a better life, free of drugs and alcohol. If you find yourself back in your old cycle and you don’t like who you are becoming, it’s time to make a change.
How are my finances?
- Money can be a giant stress for anyone but, the way you handle your money says a lot about your well-being. Mishandling your money is one of the number one signs that your life is out of balance. I used to hate paying bills and now, I love it. The reason I love it is because I know that paying my bills means that I have budgeted enough money to be able to do so. If my bills are getting paid, I’m not worried about being in debt or, that my utilities are going to be shut off. That also leaves money left to be spent on things and activities that I enjoy and bring happiness into my life. That said, it is also important to take note of what you are spending that leftover money on. If it isn’t being spent on positive things that align with your goals, you may want to start realigning where those funds are going.
What are my goals?
- Life is all about goals. If you asked a child what they want to be one day and they say, “a professional soccer player”, they are going to have to have to work each day on the skills they need to reach that goal. It isn’t going to happen overnight. True success comes from achieving your goals. It may not come easy and, you may fail (First Attempt At Learning) but, when you reach your goal, all the hard work will bring a feeling of joy you never knew you could feel. Start off by setting your long-term goal (being sober for 20 years) and then, set short-term goals (being sober today)
We can’t always rely on others to check-in with us and see how our lives are going. At some point, we must take accountability and see that we are in charge of our own happiness. So channel that inner Joey Tribbiani once in a while and ask yourself, “How you doin?!?!”
Author: Lisa Musialowicz – Footprints to Recovery – Director of Alumni