Connecting With Others | Maree Bowden
When I first started out on this well-being journey (having come from a high performance sport background) I believed that well-being was all about eat, sleep and move. I would say that this was easy for me as it was something that I had lived by for majority of my athlete life. You eat well, get enough sleep and exercise then you are looking after your health and well-being. I had always prioritised it and it came second nature.
When I finished my netball career I continued on with a similar routine of exercise, eating well and getting plenty of sleep as it was something I always knew. Two months after retiring and I was wondering why I felt so flat and unhappy. I was still fit and looking after myself. Sleep had never been a problem for me as I had always been an early to bed girl. I loved cooking up a storm in the kitchen and made lots of nutritious food. I had plenty more freedom as I didn’t have to train at a certain time of day and be restricted by a schedule, but something was missing.
Why was it when I was covering off all of these things for my health and well-being I was not happy? It wasn’t until l delved into well-being further that I realised eat, sleep and move although they play a vital part in your well-being, it was just a small piece in the jigsaw. When looking at well-being it is a great place to start as it is easy to measure and monitor how this is working for you. But there are so many other things we can be doing to boost our well-being than just physical.
Having been part of a team for so long I was really missing out on connecting with others every day. We are social creatures and love nothing more than being surrounded by people. Connecting gives you energy and boosts your positive emotions, which in turn fuels your happiness. Science is showing that positive social connections have a deep effect on our body and health, as well as energising us. No matter what people are doing, they tend to feel happier when they are with other people. A study showed that whether you were exercising, commuting or doing housework, everything is much more fun with others. Having strong relationships not only lengthens your life, it boost your immunity and you are more likely to experience greater joy. I was missing out on these interactions with others. So I joined a gym (as mentioned in my last blog) and worked out with a 6am class who were an amazing group of people from a variety of different backgrounds. These people probably didn’t realise the lasting effect they had on me. I was inspired that they all got up at 6am to do exercise (without it being their job), they all had their interesting stories to share (and at 6am in the morning you needed some humour) and what’s more they helped me find that sense of camaraderie and belonging I longed for.
Finally I was starting to realise that I could survive in my life outside of netball and I was having a great time doing it. I was able to combine something that I loved doing (exercise) whilst connecting with people. Almost like a double shot of energy in one hit.
It made me reflect that being with people gives you energy and makes you feel great. We are all working hard and constantly facing adversity, but having a group of people around you that make you want to be better every day and make life shine a little brighter will enable you to the best you can be. Be around those who only lift you higher - good energy is contagious. Find what gives you good energy and do more of it!
How do you get your double shot each day?