The Year That Was
Now is a good time to reflect on your healthy habits and you can start by asking yourself the following questions:
- What level of satisfaction and fulfilment did you experience over the last year?
- How well did you maintain energy and enthusiasm for what you were doing? Were there significant times you felt ‘flat’ and just had to do the minimum to get through the day?
- What does being ‘engaged’ mean for you in each area of your life?
This reflection on what helped you to feel engaged last year may help you to plan, and identify any changes required, to thrive and feel even more engaged this year.
What does being engaged mean in this context? The experience is different for each person but in general terms, it is the degree to which a person feels that sense of satisfaction and enjoyment in whatever it is they are doing. In the workplace it is likely to be a sense of commitment to the business and a feeling of personal fulfilment in what you contribute in your role - work is a place you are happy to go to each day. Outside of work, it is still experiencing satisfaction, enjoyment, commitment, happiness – that sense of purpose and being fulfilled by what you are doing.
Your health questionnaire
You are the best person to know and understand what you need to feel engaged in all areas of your life and our Accuro Health Hub Health Questionnaire is designed to support you in this reflection and understanding. If you have already completed the Health Questionnaire in the Accuro Health Hub, then now is the ideal time to go back and revisit the questions. Look at how you rated each one last time and give yourself an average rating.
- Are there any changes to your ratings?
- Are there any areas that need attention to improve the rating?
In the busy world most of us live in today, it is more important than ever to know ourselves well, to understand what motivates us, what makes us feel happy and what doesn’t! The better we know ourselves the easier it is going to be to ensure we maintain a sense of fulfilment and energy. This will also ensure we are in the best position possible to manage the stresses and ‘curve balls’ life will inevitably throw at us. If you have Specialist cover with Accuro then you have free access to our new Mental Health Navigator and a team of mental health professionals that can wrap themselves around you and help you to manage and overcome those stresses.
Have you been living by your values?
We all have our own unique set of personal values (key drivers) and when these are being fulfilled by what we are doing, we will experience that sense of engagement and enjoyment. Alternatively, when we are doing something that is not fulfilling a personal value, or worse, something that is actually compromising one of our values, the experience is far from enjoyable and is likely to be adding to our sense of stress and dissatisfaction. No one lives in a perfect world of course but we want to have more of our time spent fulfilling our values and feeling engaged than not. How successful were you in getting this balance right last year?
If you have had the opportunity to complete a values identification process before – this is a great time to go back and redo your values. If you haven’t had this opportunity, a great way to start getting clarity around what your values are is to think about when you are feeling your most engaged, your most satisfied and fulfilled, and reflect on what it is about that experience that is giving you that sense of engagement. For example, if you love spending time with your family and planning activities with the kids, your values are likely to include belonging, commitment, responsibility, and family. If you look forward to the quiet times when you can be alone and chill out – your values may be around balance, independence and harmony. The more time you take to reflect on your experiences from this perspective the more understanding you will gain around what you need to maintain that sense of happiness and engagement. You will then be in a better position to make the best choices for yourself in terms of making sure there are enough of the right things happening in your life that fulfil, energise and that provide you with that sense of happiness.
It may help you to look at different areas in your life separately and reflect on the degree of engagement or fulfilment you maintained throughout the year. Common areas to evaluate are: family, friends, health, work, leisure – you may have others. For each of these areas think about the following:
- What was your overall satisfaction in each area?
- Did you give the amount of time that you wanted to?
- Is there any area you would have liked to have given more time and focus to?
If you are feeling satisfied with how you have spent your year then identifying what it was that helped you achieve this is crucial so that you can repeat your success. You can then use this understanding to maintain or build on this for next year. If you are feeling dissatisfied with how you spent your time, don’t be too hard on yourself and see this as an opportunity to identify what you can do differently next year to increase and enhance that level of satisfaction. Take time to work out what you want from each area in your life and the ideal amount of time you need to spend to achieve this.
How were your energy levels overall this year?
Energy is quickly becoming the new health currency. It is a product of your physical, psychological and emotional wellbeing and directly influences your level of engagement. If you are passionate and motivated about what you do daily then, even if you have to drag yourself out of bed, you will find yourself gaining energy throughout the day. Ask yourself the following questions:
- On average, how easy was it to maintain the level of energy that you needed this year?
- What energised you?
- What drained your energy?
Understanding what energised you is helpful to make sure you include more of these energising activities next year. Alternatively, you may also be able to avoid or remove those factors that were more of a drain.
How passionate do you think others would rate you?
Ideally, everyone would be able to build a career around their passion – you know the old saying; “Find something you love, and you never work a day in your life”! Some people are lucky enough to find their passion early and even carve out a career from it, however, most people take time to find their passion and many may still be looking. There may be elements of what you are passionate about in what you do at work and/or you may find your passion outside of the office, in a hobby or volunteer role or spending time with those most special to you. Whatever the situation, feeling passionate about something in your life is going to help keep you feeling connected, challenged, energised and alive while contributing to your overall level of engagement. Ask yourself the following questions:
- How frequently this year did you find yourself feeling passionate about what you were doing?
- How frequently did you feel lacklustre or lacking in passion?
- How passionate do you think others would rate you?
Again, take some time out to evaluate what ‘lit you up’ this year and what didn’t. Maybe you have to get honest with yourself that the passion has gone in some areas of your life and it’s time to make a move in a new direction. Remember, it’s never too late to find your passion or start allowing yourself to embrace it.
Disengage to keep engaged
No, we are not trying now to completely contradict what we have been saying about the importance of being engaged! In fact, to maintain a sense of ‘engagement’ it is crucial that you find some time to disengage. Our bodies and brains are not designed to go a million miles an hour all the time and even when we do take a holiday, we sometimes end up filling it with catch-ups and jobs just because we think we need to be busy. To continue to feel energised, passionate, satisfied and engaged in your life you need to properly disengage. Not only by excluding as much as possible the activities that drain you but also by allowing yourself time to switch off from life and devices, rest and relax so your body can recharge.
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