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Promoting Healthy Communities through Self-Care

The feeling of constant stress is often common in our endlessly busy lives.  We are already beyond capacity looking after our teams, our families, emotionally supporting the people around us that we barely have time to focus on our own wellbeing. The Healthy People – Healthy Communities Program Day allowed us to reflect on the importance of mindfulness and self-care and how it helps to promote healthy communities.

When we talk of self-care, there are many misconceptions that come to mind and one of such include taking long meditations, sitting crossed legged with one hand on the stomach and the other on the chest focusing on our breathing and following calm chants. Self-care comes in many forms. While meditations have proven to have many benefits and is one of the ways we can self-regulate and reduce stress, self-care is the little actions that we take consciously and consistently that lead us to happier and healthier lives.

Dr Jodie Fleming helped us to understand the psychology of wellbeing through the lens of the Happiness Pie. The pie is a 50/10/40 pie chart that reveals the factors that determines happiness.

The first piece is attributed to our Genetic Circumstances (50% of the pie). It is known as the set point, and it explains why some people are happier than others.

The second piece lies in our Life Circumstances (10% of the pie). These are all the situational events that happen around us. Our social and economic situations or the adversities we face. It is surprising to know that the job satisfaction that we achieve, the wealth we own or the misery we experience only attributes to about ten percent of our happiness.

The final piece of the pie is attributed to our Intentional Activities (40% of the pie). This refers to the conscious decisions we make, and activities we undertake to improve our happiness. This may include practicing daily meditations to improve emotional regulation, journaling to promote self-awareness, reaching out to someone to increase social connectedness, spending some time in nature, going for a jog or mindful walk in the garden or blocking some time to do NOTHING. The important thing here is trying to harness the 40% in the happiness pie through self-care.

As leaders, our actions set the standard for our people. Once we have determined the intentional actions that will improve our happiness, it is important to make it a consistent experiment and share it with others. If we are open about our investment into self-care, we will promote a healthy community around us, and our people will follow our lead.

A special thank you to our speakers Lisa McLeod – Populus Data, Rebecca Callahan – Barwon Southwest Homelessness Network, Emma Mahony – Women’s Health and Wellbeing, Michael Struth – Western Victoria Primary Mental Health Network, and Dr Jodie Fleming – The Psychology of it, who helped us to understand the data behind our community wellbeing and the local initiatives that promote the wellbeing of this great region.

Jennifer Thomas, 2022 LGSC Participant.

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