There are various definitions of “wellbeing,” from that promoted by the World Health Organisation to the Buddhist definition of Tibetan monk Matthieu Ricard:
"Wellbeing is not just a pleasurable sensation, it is a deep sense of serenity and fulfillment.
A state that actually pervades and underlies all emotional states
and all the joys and sorrows that can come one’s way."
The day, which took place at an amazing venue - the Mid Wales Arts Centre in Caersws - was totally dedicated to experiencing activities that might impact on people’s wellbeing. No presentations. No policies. No papers. Instead people could choose from the range of activities on offer, or they could just enjoy being in an inspiring place.
Freda Lacey, Senior Officer Health & Wellbeing, introduced the day
So I’m just going to give you a little bit of context around “wellbeing” and what that means. I think you all had the email about the Five Ways to Wellbeing – this has been promoted for many years across Wales and beyond. If I was to ask you to shout out those five ways to wellbeing to wake you up a little bit:
- Exercise (Be Active).
- Keep Learning.
- Be Creative & Give.
- Taking Notice.
So those five key themes are what underpin lots of information around wellbeing.
I just wanted to talk a little bit about the day. We have had some colleagues feel a little bit uncomfortable about today. We can all put our hands up and say we are uncomfortable about some things when we head into areas we haven’t explored before or experienced before. And one of the things about today was to move away from the theory of wellbeing, ie: the words, to being more able to experience an activity and / or activities and what that looks like.
Again, we all have ways of enabling or working with our wellbeing. Today was just to give you a flavour of what could be and what different activities could augment or give you a sense of wellbeing. And most of these activities have an evidence base behind them. So they are known to lead to wellbeing. Walking, for example, or, indeed, meditation.
And so part of today was also about exploring that, about offering new opportunities such as Laughter Yoga. How many people here today have experienced Laughter Yoga before? Okay, a couple. Even I had a particular viewpoint of Laughter Yoga which turned out not to be the case! Because I said, “we’re not going to do that are we?” And then the team said, “No, no, it’s not like that at all!”
And if you’re in an activity where you think – argh, I just cannot get into this, this is not what I want to be doing – don’t do it. Just leave or sit and be observant. Be mindful if you’re sitting on the outside what that might feel like to the group, but it’s not about forcing you to do something you don’t want to. It’s really about your wellbeing and your responsibility, your ability to respond to that yourself.
And I think it’s really important to add that S said that she doesn’t feel that it’s the right thing to do this morning because she’s had a family upset and she’s really looking after herself in that way because she feels that being in that environment – maybe being quiet, closing your eyes or whatever might come up – is not what is comfortable for her today and I really honour that – that you’ve looked after yourself in that way. And that you’re vulnerable and saying that I’m not in that good space today. Again it’s really about saying if that’s the place you’re in then that’s OK.
OK, so the aim for the team today is that you have fun! And that you explore different things that you’ve maybe not indulged in before. That you in essence flourish. That there’s a sense of wellbeing when you walk out this afternoon. So we’re hopeful that that is going to be the case.
- I really enjoyed it.
- I loved doing the Dabble with Art. It was a new thing to try.
- The singing, that was fab. Really good. I didn’t expect that to be so professional! We just sounded good from the start!
- It’s discovering those hidden talents of colleagues. We’ve just come out of a jamming session and again just aware of colleagues’ talent.
- I think the whole day, the venue itself is really interesting and thought-provoking – just a pleasant place to wander round and kind of absorb things. And first time Tai-Chier – loved it. Fab.
- I think that jamming session was fantastic. I didn’t realise we had so many musicians in PAVO. Loved it.
- I’ve had a really nice day spending time with my colleagues in a different context – not working.
- It’s actually been nice seeing colleagues that you don’t normally see, and speaking to people you don’t normally speak to on a regular basis.
- There was one session that was definitely out of my comfort zone – that was Dabble with Art – and I deliberately went for it. And Sue was brilliant, and even I came out of that session having both enjoyed it and benefited from it.
- Seeing people with smiles on their faces – quite often we’re all quite serious at work. I know we all smile from time to time! But people have been generous with their smiling.
Freda rounded off the day by suggesting how colleagues could link with community organisations to pursue activities they may have enjoyed:
We’ve experienced quite a lot of different things today and the opportunity is there to use our Community Connectors to connect ourselves with our local communities for those of us who would like to go forward and maybe take opportunities to do classes / activities, whether it’s pottery or Tai Chi, meditation, or anything really.