What does ‘Wellbeing’ mean to you?

This coming week sees the very first Cheltenham Wellbeing Festival, from Monday 9th to Sunday 15th September. It’s set to be a week jammed full of workshops, speakers, treatments and activities, enabling you to explore every area of health and wellness on your doorstep. But what exactly is “wellbeing” and “wellness”?

According to the good old Oxford Dictionary, ‘well-being’ is defined as:

The state of being comfortable, healthy or happy.

But wellbeing is so much more than that. It is dictated by so many factors, such as: social factors, like your relationships with friends and family, and the community in which you live; physical factors such as exercise, nutrition, lifestyle and illness; your psychological factors that include stress, rest, learning, creativity and purpose; then there are the environmental factors, such as temperature, light, air quality, and access to nature.

Wellness and wellbeing are definitely not just about fitness and food that many typically assume.

For me, the access to nature part is fundamental. There is nothing that a 5 minute dose of nature can’t fix. Even taking a moment to look up into the trees can help relieve a huge amount of stress and anxiety.

From what I can tell, the Cheltenham Wellbeing Festival seems to have delivered a fantastic breadth of events that cover the many elements of wellbeing above, and more. One that I suggest attending, if you aren’t quite so convinced that coping with stress is a ‘walk in the park’, is Jonathan Hoban’s Walk With Your Wolf, as part of the Yellow Kite Series.

As a leading London-based psychotherapist and Walking Therapy pioneer, Jonathan will explain how you can use walking as a form of therapy in order to eradicate stress, reconnect with nature and find much-needed mental space and calm.

His bio explains it perfectly… When we walk, we find the space to process our feelings and we begin to have the courage to be vulnerable and honest with ourselves. Walking awakens the intuition that helps us face up to our difficulties and walk alongside them, enabling us to find positive solutions to our problems.

Other events at the top of my list this coming week will be “Climate Emergency: How To Save The World For Free” on Tuesday 10th. We all need to realise responsibility and to make changes to our everyday living in order to create transformative, long-lasting change to our planet.

Another top pick of mine is The Adventure Series. This plans to celebrate the spirit of intrepid individuals, highlighting how everyday people can achieve extraordinary things. And that’s what I really hope they are… “everyday people”. I’ve been to many an event to be inspired to adventure more, but being an “everyday person”, I have bills, a house, a job, a partner and now a baby on the way. So dropping my life for a year cycling across sub-Saharan Africa just isn’t possible. What inspires me more, are those people that are able to fit snippets of adventure into their day to day lives. Those kinds of creative adventures truly build your longer-term happiness, health and resilience.

As a mother to be, I am also interested in talks that can prepare me mentally for the time ahead, with one in particular standing out for me, which is the Positive Parenting “In Conversation With…” session. I will hopefully get to hear a host of experts that will help me understand and build parenting skills, from discipline to encouragement, all aimed at shaping your children to become well-rounded individuals. I haven’t even had the baby yet and I’m panicking about them becoming a troublesome threenager!

There’s a huge range of events planned, as well as two types of nifty pass that get you access to discounted treatments and active fitness classes so you can try things out and see what takes your fancy! So take a peek at the schedule online and book up your week – events are taking place from early in the mornings right through to the evenings and over the weekend. Worth a follow on instagram for snippets of info and inspiration! @cheltenhamwellbeingfestival

Maybe I’ll see you there…

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