In fast-paced Singapore where demands and distractions are abound, it is easy to overlook the significance of our own health and well-being. However, taking care of ourselves is not merely a luxury but a necessity for a fulfilling and balanced life. In our earlier post, I responded to a commentary to how seniors are “tired of living”. In the post, I asserted that older adults in Singapore are doing very well compared to those living in other first world countries.
Today, we will explore the multifaceted nature of health and well-being, and how a holistic approach can help us cultivate a vibrant and meaningful existence.
What is health and well-being?
Health and wellbeing refer to the overall state of an individual’s physical, mental, and emotional health. It encompasses various aspects of a person’s life and reflects their ability to function effectively and experience a sense of fulfillment. People value health and well-being because it directly affects their quality of life, personal relationships, productivity, emotional well-being, longevity, and self-confidence.
Physical health forms the bedrock of overall well-being. Prioritising health behaviours such as regular exercise, eating a nutritious diet, and ensuring adequate sleep are essential steps toward vitality.
Engaging in physical activity not only benefits our cardiovascular health and strengthens our muscles but also boosts mood, enhances cognitive function, and improves sleep quality. Exercise also prevents muscle and joint injuries, and is an effective treatment for chronic pain.
Eating well is also important. Nourishing our bodies with wholesome, nutrient-rich foods fuels our energy levels and supports optimal bodily functions. Did you know what you eat can also affect your pain? Studies have suggested that low glycaemic index carbohydrates, high fruits and vegetables, extra virgin olive oil diet can help improve chronic pain. This is largely achieved through the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities of healthy foods.
Conversely, avoiding harmful habits like smoking, vaping, and/or excessive alcohol consumption can also contribute to good health.
Singapore remains one of the most sleep deprived countries in the world. When pursuing our own health and wellbeing, we must also recognise the restorative power of sleep. Sleep well comes with a whole myriad of benefits and is associated with many daily life functions such as:
- Cognitive function, including attention, concentration, problem-solving, and decision-making abilities. Our brain consolidates and processes information, which enhances learning and memory retention, during sleep.
- Emotional regulation and mental health. Sleep deprivation has been linked to increased irritability, mood swings, and a higher risk of developing mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety.
- Physical health and immune function. Sleep supports immune system function, helping to defend against illnesses and infections. Sustaining good sleep habits has been associated with a reduced risk of chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity.
Many of the benefits associated with sleeping well are strongly supported by scientific evidence. They should be considered in conjunction with other lifestyle factors for overall health and well-being.
To achieve better sleep, establish a consistent sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Creating a relaxing bedtime routine can also signal to your body that it is time to wind down. Reducing exposure to stimulating activities, such as phone use, caffeine, and heavy meals close to bedtime can also help.
Mental and Emotional Wellbeing
Singapore reported 452 suicide deaths in 2020 or approximately 9 suicide deaths per 100,000 Singapore residents. While this is much lower than Korea (25 per 100, 000) and Japan (18 per 100, 000), it is still a cause for concern. A national study published last year revealed that one in three youths experienced mental health symptoms such as sadness, anxiety, and loneliness.
Mental and emotional wellbeing refers to the psychological state of an individual. It involves having a positive mindset, emotional stability, and the ability to cope with stress, challenges, and various life circumstances.
Strategies for enhancing mental and emotional wellbeing include practicing mindfulness, managing stress effectively, seeking support when needed, and engaging in activities that bring joy and fulfillment. We will explore more of this in the next post.
The importance of social wellbeing is most apparent among older adults. A study conducted in Singapore last year found that increased social participation and reduced feelings of loneliness both improve frailty among older adults. In other words, being alone can literally be harmful for your health.
Social wellbeing is an essential aspect of overall health and should not be reserved for individuals with extra time. While our busy lives can sometimes make it challenging to prioritise social connections, it is crucial to make time for nurturing relationships and fostering social well-being.
Having healthy and supportive relationships with family, friends, and communities is important. Maintaining positive social connections contributes to mental and emotional wellbeing and can provide a support system during difficult times.
Of course we cannot forget about brain health. A lot of emphasis has been placed on stimulating the mind because of the projected increase of Alzheimer’s. Furthermore, early onset dementia cases have been on the rise in Singapore.
Engaging in activities that stimulate the mind, such as learning, reading, problem-solving, and pursuing creative endeavors, promotes intellectual wellbeing. Continuous learning and mental stimulation can enhance cognitive abilities, critical thinking skills, and overall mental acuity.
The SkillsFuture Credit programme has been introduced by the government to promote lifelong learning. With over 20, 000 courses for you to choose from, you have a wide array of options to learn new skills. If you are one of the Singaporeans who have not utilised your SkillsFuture Credit, please do so before before 2025.
Spiritual well-being involves the search for meaning, purpose, and connection to something greater than oneself. It goes beyond the material aspects of life and explores personal values, beliefs, and the nature of existence. Individuals seek to find a sense of meaning and purpose in life, reflecting on their values and the larger significance of their actions. This deep exploration of one’s identity and purpose can contribute to a profound sense of fulfillment and guides decision-making.
Spiritual well-being can even help individuals cope with chronic pain. While it may not directly eliminate the physical sensations of pain, it can provide emotional and psychological support, promote resilience, and offer a broader perspective on the pain experience.
The benefits of spiritual well-being can include:
- Emotional resilience
- Having meaning and purpose
- Effective coping strategies
- Access to a supportive network
- Sense of hope and transcendence
It’s important to note that spiritual well-being is a highly personal and individual experience. What works for one person may not work for another. Each person’s journey towards spiritual well-being will be unique, and it may involve exploring various practices, beliefs, and finding what resonates with them.
Striking a work-life balance is crucial for overall well-being. Managing work-related stress and maintaining a healthy separation between work and personal life are essential. Setting clear boundaries allows individuals to dedicate time to leisure activities, hobbies, and quality interactions with family and friends. By prioritising personal time and relaxation, individuals can reduce stress levels and enhance their overall sense of well-being.
Achieving a work-life balance is not about being lazy. Rather it is a strategic approach that can significantly improve work performance. Besides allowing you to recharge, rejuvenate, and maintain optimal mental and physical well-being, work-life balance can reduce stress levels and prevent burnout.
Healthcare costs associated with burnout was estimated to be a whopping $125 billion and $190 billion every year! You can literally save money for both yourself and your company by taking better care of your well-being!
Achieving and maintaining health and wellbeing is an ongoing process that requires attention and effort in multiple areas of life. It is a holistic approach that recognises the interconnectedness of various aspects and aims to create a state of optimal physical, mental, and emotional balance.
Drop us a message via the form below to learn more about how we can help you improve your health and well-being. Beyond our expertise in exercise and persistent pain management, our chiropractor Jesse Cai is also a certified solution focused coach!
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Frustrated by the lack of results-driven and ethical chiropractic clinics in Singapore, Chiropractor Jesse Cai found Square One Active Recovery to deliver meaningful and sustainable pain solutions.
Our goal? To make our own services redundant to you.