Amy Rebecca Johnson
Attorney, Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal, P.C.
Originally published in the January 2020 issue of the St. Louis Lawyer magazine. View in the archives.
If you are like most people, you have made some resolutions or goals for the New Year. You might have set a goal of working out more, laid out a plan for saving more money, resolved to quit smoking, or set your sights on losing weight. Chances are, you have made resolutions in years past, too. But we all know what happens. Most of the time, our resolutions do not make it all the way to the end of the year, or even to the end of winter.
Why aren't most of us able to stick to our resolutions, even when they are perfectly reasonable? Resolutions tend to focus on only one part of our lives, and we expect to feel happier or more complete by, for example, going to the gym more often. However, no amount of working out is going to make you feel content in your relationship if it is an unhappy one. Resolutions that take into account all areas of our well-being—especially the ones that might need an extra boost—will assist in bringing balance into our lives.
There is no real universal definition of well-being. Generally, it is a feeling of being comfortable, happy, healthy, and at ease or at peace. This means our well-being encapsulates multiple, if not all, aspects of our life. These aspects are most typically forms of physical and mental health, relationships, communities of which we are a part, and physical, environmental, and economic safety. Each one of these aspects influences the other. For example, improving your physical health will likely benefit your mental health (and vice versa). Having healthy physical and mental health will probably strengthen your relationships and bolster your ability to improve the groups or communities in which you are involved.
As you move toward making a commitment to your overall well-being, and not just a list of resolutions, consider these tips:
- Take a look inside. Being introspective allows us the opportunity to assess how or where things should change or stay the same.
- Connect with others (in real life, not just social media). Do this especially with people who you love or enjoy spending time with. Relationships give us emotional support and help our brains recognize that we belong and have self-worth.
- Get active. There are many reasons that consistent physical activity is important, including having positive effects for mental health. Even a simple walk around the block every day can give you the boost you need.
- Make good food choices. This is something we've been hearing all our lives. But, that is because it is really important. Our food choices determine how healthy we are on the inside, both physically and mentally. Food choices tend to have a domino effect on how you feel. Eat healthy and know you are nourishing yourself and you will feel better both physically and mentally.
- Have fun. Take time to laugh–lawyers do not need to be serious all the time. Having fun and being engaged in activities that you enjoy or might want to learn more about will make you feel engaged in your own life outside of work.
- Mindfulness. Many people shy away from mindfulness. Mindfulness is an awareness of one's experience without judgment. It is imperative to having a positive daily mental-physical balance, as it decreases stress, can lower your heartbeat, increases focus and increases happiness. Mindfulness is simple—for example, you can practice mindful breathing (paying attention to inhales and exhales), mindful stillness (basically, doing nothing) or a mindful body-scan (starting at your head and moving down while paying attention to how all areas of your body feel physically).
This year, consider your overall well-being to create resolutions that will have a long-lasting effect for you, both physically and mentally.